Legislation

Report: To Address Long-Term Care Shortages in the US, Major HCBS Investments Are Needed

Home-based care advocacy comes from both sides of the aisle in Washington, D.C., these days. Now, a new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) is shining further light on the need for the delivery of health care in the home. The Bipartisan Policy Center is a think tank that promotes bipartisan solutions to the …

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‘For Many Providers, It’s Welcome News’: Breaking Down the White House Vaccine Mandate

After President Joe Biden announced Thursday a new, six-pronged approach to his administration’s COVID-19 strategy that requires most home health workers to be vaccinated against the virus, many questions and concerns remain. More clarity is likely to come to light as specific agencies deal with the next steps following the mandate’s release, like the Department …

‘For Many Providers, It’s Welcome News’: Breaking Down the White House Vaccine Mandate Read More »

HCBS Funding Is Now in the Congressional Crosshairs

The $400 billion that the Biden administration wanted for strengthening the nation’s home- and community-based services (HCBS) infrastructure is likely in the crosshairs of Congress. Currently, President Joe Biden and senior Democrats are working to figure out what’s included in the large spending legislation they hope to pass through the budget reconciliation process. Early estimates …

HCBS Funding Is Now in the Congressional Crosshairs Read More »

‘The Fittest Survive’: HHVBP Expansion Could Drive Home Health Consolidation

In the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed payment rule for 2022, the attention-grabber was the expansion of the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing (HHVBP) Model, the details of which excited some providers and left others concerned. While the specifics of the expansion plan were being discussed during the public comment period, however, …

‘The Fittest Survive’: HHVBP Expansion Could Drive Home Health Consolidation Read More »

PDGM’s Base Rates Set 5.76% Below Budget-Neutral Levels, Analysis Finds

The public comment period for the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) home health proposed payment rule closed last week. Since then, the industry has voiced more substantive concerns with the rule than initially expected. The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare (PQHH), for instance, recently released its own perspective, which was driven by …

PDGM’s Base Rates Set 5.76% Below Budget-Neutral Levels, Analysis Finds Read More »

‘We Are Losing Excellent Direct Care Staff’: Home-Based Care Providers Report Vaccine-Mandate Blowback

Hundreds of in-home care workers in Rhode Island have resigned from their posts due to the state’s mandatory vaccine policies, the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care announced Tuesday. That, in turn, has jeopardized patient care in the state. An emergency declaration was made Aug. 17, requiring all licensed health care workers in Rhode Island …

‘We Are Losing Excellent Direct Care Staff’: Home-Based Care Providers Report Vaccine-Mandate Blowback Read More »

Staffing Shortages Force Home Health Giant Bayada to Deny 64% of Referrals in Key Markets

Aging services providers are holding their collective breath as Congress moves toward a vote on the budget reconciliation package, which could designate massive amounts of money to home- and community-based services. And those funds are more than needed, a group of leaders said during a Tuesday press conference hosted by the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization …

Staffing Shortages Force Home Health Giant Bayada to Deny 64% of Referrals in Key Markets Read More »

‘Mass Exodus’ of Nursing Home Staff Likely to Impact Home Health Providers

The Biden administration announced last week that all nursing home staff must be vaccinated against COVID-19, or operators would risk losing Medicare or Medicaid funding. That prompted concern among nursing home stakeholders and rumors that home health providers’ staff may not be far behind. Since the announcement, survey data is beginning to prove why vaccinating …

‘Mass Exodus’ of Nursing Home Staff Likely to Impact Home Health Providers Read More »

‘This Is the Biggest Break We’ve Had’: CMS Makes Major Alteration to Review Choice Demonstration

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has made a major update to the Review Choice Demonstration (RCD), one that home health providers will undoubtedly be thrilled about. On Sept. 1, agencies in Florida and North Carolina are set to roll out RCD. One of the major complaints as the date loomed was …

‘This Is the Biggest Break We’ve Had’: CMS Makes Major Alteration to Review Choice Demonstration Read More »

‘It’s Inherently Unfair’: Home Health Stakeholders Slam Portions of the Proposed Payment Rule

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed home health payment rule came out in late June. The public comment period closes Friday, which means providers are running out of time to voice their concerns. Overall, providers seem to be generally happy about the proposed rule, which includes a 1.7% — or $310 …

‘It’s Inherently Unfair’: Home Health Stakeholders Slam Portions of the Proposed Payment Rule Read More »

Report: Uninsured rate holds steady at 11% during pandemic despite job losses

The increase in access to public health insurance coverage — via legislation like the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that prevents states from disenrolling Medicaid beneficiaries — helped offset the loss of employer-sponsored insurance, the report from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows.

CMS Study Shows Astonishing Disparity Between COVID-19 Cases in Nursing Homes and the Community

A recently published study by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is sure to add more fuel to the fire for the “Choose Home” initiative and other movements aiming to bring more care into the home. Specifically, the study found that although nursing home residents only represent 2% of the Medicare population, …

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‘It’s Just Wrong on Every Level’: Home Health Insiders Object to Review Choice Demonstration Details

The rollout of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Review Choice Demonstration (RCD) has been anything but smooth.  The initiative implemented to reduce improper billing and fraud in select states has been plagued by issues like COVID-19-related delays and missteps by CMS and its contractors, among others.  Despite the flaws, the demo …

‘It’s Just Wrong on Every Level’: Home Health Insiders Object to Review Choice Demonstration Details Read More »

Mandatory Vaccine Announcement Causes Confusion Among Home-Based Care Providers

Outgoing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that all of the state’s health care workers are now required to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus by Sept. 27. The announcement specifically listed nursing home, “adult care,” long-term care facility and hospital workers as those who must receive vaccinations by that date. While adult care …

Mandatory Vaccine Announcement Causes Confusion Among Home-Based Care Providers Read More »

Veterans Push for Medical Marijuana in Conservative South

RALEIGH, N.C. — Each time Chayse Roth drives home to North Carolina, he notices the highway welcome signs that declare: “Nation’s Most Military Friendly State.” “That’s a powerful thing to claim,” said Roth, a former Marine Corps gunnery sergeant who served multiple deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now he says he’s calling on the …

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EvergreenHealth Home Care, Alivia Ready to Support Choose Home Legislation

Home-based care leaders are encouraged by the Choose Home Care Act of 2021’s introduction into the U.S. Senate — and what it could mean for the home health industry if it’s ultimately enacted. Brent Korte, Keith Myers and Susan Ponder-Stansel are among them. The trio spoke about the recently introduced legislation Monday at the National …

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Community-Based Palliative Care, Choose Home Top List of Current Home Health Policy Priorities

National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) President Bill Dombi touched on the importance of recent community-based palliative care legislation during a Sunday night policy update at the Washington, D.C.-based industry group’s 2021 Financial Management Conference. The bulk of his update, however, was spent urging industry insiders to band together and throw their support …

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Choose Home Bill Looks to Make Home Health the Center of the Health Care World

The Choose Home Care Act of 2021 was introduced in the U.S. Senate less than 72 hours ago, but it’s already creating major buzz in the senior care world. In a nutshell, Choose Home is bipartisan legislation that seeks to create an add-on payment for home health providers taking care of certain patients otherwise eligible …

Choose Home Bill Looks to Make Home Health the Center of the Health Care World Read More »

SNF-Diversion Bill ‘Choose Home’ Introduced, Projected to Save Up to $247M Annually

The home health industry reached a major legislative milestone on Thursday, with U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) teaming up to introduce a new bill to support in-home care alternatives to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Endorsed by the AARP and supported by a long list of home-based care advocates, the Choose Home …

SNF-Diversion Bill ‘Choose Home’ Introduced, Projected to Save Up to $247M Annually Read More »

Despite Formidable Challenges, PACE Leaders Keep Expansion Dreams Alive

The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) concept has gained significant business and policy momentum over the past several months, with recent research also highlighting just how successful programs were at avoiding COVID-19 deaths compared to other care settings. Despite that traction and the model’s clear benefits, PACE still faces a long list …

Despite Formidable Challenges, PACE Leaders Keep Expansion Dreams Alive Read More »

Aging Services Providers Slam Possible PRF Plan

Aging services providers are pushing back against a possible plan to help pay for part of the nearly $1 trillion infrastructure bill by using unused Provider Relief Fund (PRF) money. Members of Congress were reportedly close to finalizing an infrastructure agreement on Sunday, but ultimately disagreed over public-transit funding. In addition to public transit, Republicans …

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Despite Early Struggles, Home Health Providers Adjusting to the ‘No-Pay RAP’

Home health providers have over half a year of “no-pay RAPs” under their belts now. Just like COVID-19 and the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM), their adaptation to that change has been based on their size, capabilities and location, among other factors. But for the most part, the fear of having a significant amount of cash …

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Why One State Is Investing $54M to Increase Rates for In-Home Care Providers

Illinois is committing $54 million in increased rates for over 400 of its at-home care providers, a move that will “strengthen the state’s social safety net,” the governor’s office announced Tuesday. There are plenty of examples of lawmakers vying for home-based care at the state and federal levels. But this direct and tangible support has …

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New Legislation Seeks to Help Seniors Pay for Long-Term Care

In an effort to better fund and increase access to long-term care, U.S. Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Ny.) on Thursday introduced the Well-Being Insurance for Seniors to be at Home (WISH) Act. “We have a storm coming, with the number of disabled elders expected to double in the coming years,” Suozzi said in a statement. “Fewer …

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CMS Taking ‘Laissez-Faire’ Approach to Direct Contracting

Signify Health’s (NYSE: SGFY) leaders are as cautiously optimistic and encouraged by the prospects of direct-contracting models as almost anyone. For now, Signify works with the government to give the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) insight on how the models could work in the future. The company also works with adjacent organizations that …

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‘Choose Home’ Legislation Gaining Significant Support in Congress, Nearing Formal Introduction

“Choose Home,” major legislation designed to help more people age in place, is gaining momentum on Capitol Hill. There’s even a chance a Choose Home bill is introduced before Congress’s July 4 recess. That’s according to National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) President Bill Dombi. If introduced and eventually enacted, Choose Home would …

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CMS Proposes $310M Home Health Payment Boost, National Expansion of HHVBP

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Monday proposed plans to expand the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing (HHVBP) model nationwide by the start of next year. The agency did so in its proposed payment rule for 2022. In addition to the HHVBP expansion, CMS proposed to increase Medicare payments to home health …

CMS Proposes $310M Home Health Payment Boost, National Expansion of HHVBP Read More »

Senators, Advocates Tout ‘Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity’ for Funding HCBS

“Care cannot wait — and neither should Congress.” That was the message delivered Thursday by Brittany Williams, a professional home care worker and third-generation caregiver from Washington state, during a U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing. “Even as a child, I could see that care is essential,” Williams told the committee. “It is life-giving …

Senators, Advocates Tout ‘Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity’ for Funding HCBS Read More »

PPP Forgiveness Continues to Slow Down the Home Health M&A Process

The COVID-19 crisis came in a hurry. The government, therefore, had to create programs and grants in a hurry to offset some of the financial woes that health care providers were facing. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Provider Relief Fund and other funding was much needed to keep many home-based care operations afloat. But as …

PPP Forgiveness Continues to Slow Down the Home Health M&A Process Read More »

‘Care Is Infrastructure’: Sen. Warren Calls for HCBS Support Following New Bipartisan Proposal

A bipartisan group of 10 senators announced Thursday that they have reached a tentative agreement on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, a major update in one of the main storylines coming out of the Biden administration. The latest infrastructure proposal does not include federal support for home- and community-based services (HCBS), which was a key …

‘Care Is Infrastructure’: Sen. Warren Calls for HCBS Support Following New Bipartisan Proposal Read More »

Colorado Bill Aims to Give Farmworkers Easier Access to Medical Care

SAN LUIS VALLEY, Colo. — A woman with pregnancy complications needed permission from her boss to visit a doctor. Community health volunteers were turned away from delivering food and covid information to worker housing. A farmworker had a serious allergic reaction but was afraid to seek treatment. To Nicole Civita, policy director with Colorado advocacy …

Colorado Bill Aims to Give Farmworkers Easier Access to Medical Care Read More »

Home Health Providers Likely to Play ‘Very Important Role’ in Direct Contracting

Direct contracting is quickly becoming one of the most prominent examples of the overall shift to value-based care. And home health providers will likely play a critical role in the payment model’s success. Although the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) paused certain direct-contracting options when the new administration took over, it remains an …

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Home-Based Care Providers Fear They’re Being Squeezed Out of Medicaid

New York state’s 2020 final budget includes a Medicaid policy provision that has caused serious concern among home-based care providers and advocates. Those groups are now asking lawmakers to overturn the provision. Broadly, the original Medicaid policy issue was that the state authorized the New York Department of Health to essentially decide which home-based care …

Home-Based Care Providers Fear They’re Being Squeezed Out of Medicaid Read More »

Republican Infrastructure Proposal Spikes $400B for HCBS

Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a $928 billion infrastructure counteroffer to President Joe Biden’s original $1.9 trillion American Jobs Plan. The counteroffer is a substantial increase compared to the GOP’s previous five-year, $568 billion proposal, but still far less comprehensive than what the White House has called for, particularly when it comes to “soft infrastructure” …

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Senate Hearing on Health Care Workforce Shortages Offers Little Discussion Around Home-Based Care

On Thursday, members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions held a subcommittee hearing to address the dire shortage of health care workers in the U.S. The hearing, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), addressed labor shortages in primary care, behavioral health and more. Lawmakers, however, stopped …

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LeadingAge, Bayada Urge Congress to Invest in Aging Services Infrastructure

Leaders across the senior care sector have banded together and are urging Congress to back legislation that will increase access to care services. And help is long overdue, they argue. For decades, aging services have been underfunded in the U.S., according to Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit LeadingAge. Sloan …

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Home-Based Care Providers with PPP Loans Can’t Bank on Forgiveness

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) were a godsend for a lot of home care agencies in 2020, allowing them to keep their heads above water during financial downturns and reward employees for conducting hazardous work. But now agencies must prepare for the aftermath of PPP in the form of …

Home-Based Care Providers with PPP Loans Can’t Bank on Forgiveness Read More »

HHS Releases New Guidance on American Rescue Plan Funding for Medicaid HCBS

When President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan in March, he locked in an important payment bump for Medicaid home- and community-based services (HCBS). Among its many provisions, the $1.9 trillion legislative package raises the Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) for certain Medicaid HCBS by 10% from April 1 of 2021 through March 31 …

HHS Releases New Guidance on American Rescue Plan Funding for Medicaid HCBS Read More »

Biden Administration Releases $1.4B for HCBS, Senior Health Programs

The Biden administration is releasing $1.4 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan for Older Americans Act programs. Distributed by the Administration for Community Living, a chunk of the funds will go toward home- and community-based services. President Joe Biden originally signed the American Rescue Plan, a COVID-19 relief package, into law on March …

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Direct-Contracting Entities Figuring Out How to Capitalize on Competitive Advantage

A delay in the Global and Professional Direct Contracting Model by the Biden administration has put the already-accepted direct-contracting entities (DCEs) in a coveted position. New entrants are no longer being accepted for participation in the model while the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and its innovation arm review the details. That gives …

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In Speech to Congress, President Biden Again Shines Spotlight on Home-Based Care

In a speech delivered to Congress Wednesday, President Joe Biden again mentioned the importance of providing care to seniors in their own homes. Specifically, he touted his administration’s previously announced American Jobs Plan, which would include $400 billion for home-based care. Much of that money would go to the workforce, with home health and home …

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What a Difference a Year Makes in Colorado’s Case for a Public Option Plan

DENVER — Before the pandemic, Colorado looked set to become the second state to pass what’s known as a “public option” health insurance plan, which would have forced hospitals that lawmakers said were raking in obscene profits to accept lower payments. But when covid-19 struck, legislators hit pause. Use Our Content It can be republished …

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Senators Reintroduce Home Health Telehealth Legislation

The home health industry hasn’t given up on securing telehealth reimbursement during the public health emergency. Their tenacity is being rewarded with recent legislative movement on Capitol Hill. A group of bipartisan Senators on Thursday introduced S. 1309, the new version of the Home Health Emergency Access to Telehealth (HEAT) Act under the current Congress. …

Senators Reintroduce Home Health Telehealth Legislation Read More »

Confirmation Delay for Next CMS Administrator Could Cause Problems for Home-Based Care Providers

It has been over three months since former Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma resigned from her post. As of Wednesday, no one has officially filled the position’s void. The Biden administration’s pick for administrator, Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, has yet to be confirmed by the Senate due to ongoing partisan disputes. For …

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Pause to Alternative Payment Models Gives Some Providers a ‘Golden Ticket,’ Leaves Others Behind

The Global and Professional Direct Contracting Model — a Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) creation — has been put on pause. The holdup is just another example of CMMI pumping the brakes on an alternative payment model in the days since the new Biden administration took over the executive branch. Broadly, the Global …

Pause to Alternative Payment Models Gives Some Providers a ‘Golden Ticket,’ Leaves Others Behind Read More »

InnovAge, National PACE Association Applaud ‘PACE Plus Act’

The scene is set for a possible expansion to Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) in the U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania and chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, on Thursday introduced the “PACE Plus Act,” a bill that aims to expand access to PACE across the country. …

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Biden, Congress Extend Medicare Sequestration Holiday Through 2021

The long and winding saga behind the Medicare sequestration holiday for home health providers and others has come to a close. On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted by a 384-38 margin in favor of a continued sequestration delay. The legislation was one of two measures introduced since early March aimed at delaying …

Biden, Congress Extend Medicare Sequestration Holiday Through 2021 Read More »

‘There Is Not An Easy Solution’: How to Modernize Home- and Community-Based Services

Home-based care insiders have been saying for a long time what a wider group of people are now: Care needs to be brought into the home more frequently — and quickly. But accomplishing that won’t be so simple. In fact, turning the nation’s long-term care system into one that allows more seniors to age in …

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VNSNY, Contessa Join Amazon-Backed Home Health Coalition

Moving Health Home — the new provider coalition formed in early March dedicated to advancing home-based care in the United States — has landed seven new members. The Washington, D.C.-based industry group announced Friday that Compassus, UPMC, U.S. Medical Management, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY), Advocate Aurora Health, Contessa Health and Vituity …

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112% Minimum Wage Hike Not Included in New York’s Final Budget

New York home care providers that have been waiting to see if a caregiver wage hike would be included in the state budget recently got an answer. On Monday, the New York state budget was released, with the Health and Mental Hygiene bill published at the same time. The bill did not include the Fair …

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‘There Are Still Many Questions Unanswered’: Home Care Providers Seek Clarity on American Rescue Plan

As part of the recently passed $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, state Medicaid programs have seemingly received a major bump in funding for vital home- and community-based services (HCBS). In theory, the bump is designed to help HCBS operators expand their services, attract new workers and take on more clients. Still, some in-home care providers …

‘There Are Still Many Questions Unanswered’: Home Care Providers Seek Clarity on American Rescue Plan Read More »

America’s Home Care Infrastructure Is Crumbling. Here’s How to Fix It.

As part of his administration’s recently unveiled American Jobs Plan, President Joe Biden wants to set aside $400 billion to better support the nation’s home-based care system. While specifics still need to be worked out, a large chunk of that funding would be used to improve the wages of home health aides and other caregivers …

America’s Home Care Infrastructure Is Crumbling. Here’s How to Fix It. Read More »

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Planning for Round Two

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. Congress is out of session, but that hasn’t stopped Democrats from planning their next round of health legislation. Together with President Joe Biden, they are looking at a broad array of possibilities, from allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices to adding more benefits to the …

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‘A Monumental Advance’: Newly Unveiled American Jobs Plan Would Invest $400B into Home-Based Care

President Joe Biden is trying to make good on one of his main campaign promises. The Biden administration on Wednesday unveiled a new $2 trillion infrastructure proposal to create jobs, build roads, fix bridges and more. On top of that, the proposal — officially dubbed the American Jobs Plan — would substantially increase funding for …

‘A Monumental Advance’: Newly Unveiled American Jobs Plan Would Invest $400B into Home-Based Care Read More »

Home Care Operators Waiting for Clarity on Proposal to Boost Pay to 112% of Minimum Wage

Multiple scandals involving New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a related impeachment investigation will not slow down budget negotiations. That could mean a late night for the state’s home-based care operators, who are following the talks closely due to possible wage hikes on the table. As of Wednesday afternoon, New York lawmakers were full-speed ahead …

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‘A Key Piece of the Puzzle’: Setting the Record Straight on Medicare Sequestration

There’s a lot of confusion within the home health industry regarding Medicare sequestration right now. That’s understandable, considering there have been multiple inaccurate reports about where a continued delay actually stands. To recap, Medicare sequestration is a federal savings mechanism required by the Budget Control Act, which was signed into law in August 2011 with …

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House Hearing Slams Private Equity’s ‘Troubling’ Expansion into Health Care

Members of Congress took aim at private equity’s expanded role in the U.S. health care system on Thursday, addressing the topic during a special hearing held by the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight. Much of the hearing focused on PE’s increasingly prominent role in nursing homes, as the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered heated …

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State Bill Aiding Unionization in Home-Based Care Could ‘Set a Precedent’ Nationwide

Traditionally, the home-based care world has been mostly void of massive unionization efforts among its workers. But that could change soon, thanks to a new ruling out of California related to “Assembly Bill 2455,” which the state passed in 2018. The bill aims to allow home-based care workers’ contact information to be unveiled, which gives …

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Collins, Shaheen Go to Bat for Home Health Providers in the Senate

More lawmakers are throwing their support behind a continued pause to Medicare sequestration. U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced new legislation on Tuesday aimed at stopping automatic 2% payment cuts to all Medicare providers, including home health agencies. The Medicare Sequester Relief Act specifically seeks to stave off sequestration until after …

Collins, Shaheen Go to Bat for Home Health Providers in the Senate Read More »

House to Consider Bill Blocking Mandatory Cuts to Medicare

Home health providers may get continued relief from Medicare sequestration after all. On Thursday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced new legislation — H.R. 1868 — aimed at stopping automatic spending cuts to Medicare and other programs. House lawmakers plan to consider the legislation this week, setting the stage for possible relief before a …

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Amwell Joins the Ranks of Amazon, Intermountain on Home-Based Care Coalition

Moving Health Home (MHH) — the recently announced home-based care advancement coalition — has a new founding member. Telehealth company Amwell (NYSE: AMWL) has joined an array of health care industry leaders from across the continuum that also includes Amazon Care and Intermountain Healthcare. Boston-based Amwell is a telehealth platform that supports urgent care, acute …

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House Passes $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan, Securing Relief for Home-Based Care Providers

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the final version of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” on Wednesday. The Senate approved the legislation along party lines on Saturday. In passing this latest round of coronavirus relief, Congress gave Biden one of his biggest early political victories since taking office. The White House announced …

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Pandemic Aid Package Includes Relief From High Premiums

This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. As President Joe Biden’s pandemic relief package steams through Congress, Democrats have hitched a ride for a top health care priority: strengthening the Affordable Care Act with some of the most significant changes to insurance affordability in more than a decade. The bill …

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$1.9T Stimulus Bill Now Includes 10% Payment Boost for Home- and Community-Based Services

The $1.9 trillion stimulus package took a critical step on Saturday. It passed in the Senate, which then sent it back to the House of Representatives for final deliberation before ultimately landing on President Joe Biden’s desk. From a home-based care perspective, one of the most noteworthy elements of the Senate passage was that the …

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Amazon Joins Home-Based Care Providers to Advocate for Better Health Care Policy

An eclectic group of health care providers has formed a new organization dedicated to advancing home-based care. The long-term vision of the new entity, branded “Moving Health Home,” is to fundamentally change the way policymakers think about how, when and where patients are treated. The coalition, unveiled Wednesday, is made up by eight diverse founding …

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States Aim to Chip Away at Abortion Rights With Supreme Court in Mind

This story also ran on USA Today and GateHouse Media. It can be republished for free. When Rep. Lola Sheldon-Galloway introduced a bill in the Montana House two years ago that would have prohibited abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the Republican legislator knew it was unlikely to survive the veto pen of the Democratic …

States Aim to Chip Away at Abortion Rights With Supreme Court in Mind Read More »

As $1.9T Stimulus Bill Heads to Senate, Here’s What It Could Mean for In-Home Care

The House of Representatives passed the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill Saturday, which means the next step for the “American Rescue Plan” is to go through the Senate, where its provisions related to home-based care will likely be tinkered with again. Because pandemic-related unemployment benefits are set to expire on March 14, lawmakers are …

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New California Law Makes It Easier to Get Care for Mental Health and Substance Abuse

USE OUR CONTENT It can be republished for free. Karen Bailey’s 20-year-old daughter has struggled with depression and anxiety for years. Since 2017, she’s been in three intensive group therapy programs and, each time, the family’s insurer cut her coverage short, says Bailey. “At a certain point, they would send us a form letter saying: …

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Rural Access to Home Health Services, PACE Among Lawmakers’ Future Spending Priorities

U.S. lawmakers have repeatedly highlighted a need to rethink the nation’s long-term care landscape in recent months, partly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic but also because of the country’s rapidly changing demographics. A recently published budget report from the House Appropriations Committee obtained by Home Health Care News offers further insight into that call …

Rural Access to Home Health Services, PACE Among Lawmakers’ Future Spending Priorities Read More »

OIG Ramps Up Home Health Oversight

When a public health emergency was declared last March, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a variety of waivers allowing home health providers to more easily provide telehealth services amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Now, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) has announced an audit dubbed the “HHA Telehealth Project,” which will …

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New Single-Payer Bill Intensifies Newsom’s Political Peril

Use Our Content It can be republished for free. SACRAMENTO — A group of Democratic state lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to create a single-payer health care system to cover all Californians, immediately defining the biggest health policy debate of the year and putting enormous political pressure on Gov. Gavin Newsom. The Democratic governor faces the …

New Single-Payer Bill Intensifies Newsom’s Political Peril Read More »

7.35% Medicaid Boost Critical for Supporting America’s ‘Fragile’ Home-Based Care Infrastructure, Senators Argue

7When the House Energy and Commerce Committee included new Medicaid provisions to the ever-changing $1.9 trillion relief package, home-based care operators were pleased to see a hefty rate bump for home- and community-based care (HCBS).   The draft legislation specifically called for a 7.35% rate increase for states to enhance HCBS during the pandemic. There appears …

7.35% Medicaid Boost Critical for Supporting America’s ‘Fragile’ Home-Based Care Infrastructure, Senators Argue Read More »

New Report Details COVID-19’s Devastating Impact on Home Care Finances, Staffing Levels

In January, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a proposed budget that included a slew of cuts to make up for the $15 billion deficit that the state was facing amid the ongoing public health emergency. On Wednesday, the Home Care Association of New York State (HCA-NYS) released a report that explained how some of …

New Report Details COVID-19’s Devastating Impact on Home Care Finances, Staffing Levels Read More »

AccentCare CMO: Home Health, Hospice Turning into the ‘Forgotten Front Line’

In January, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a proposed budget that included a slew of cuts to make up for the $15 billion deficit that the state was facing amid the ongoing public health emergency. On Wednesday, the Home Care Association of New York State (HCA-NYS) released a report that explained how some of …

AccentCare CMO: Home Health, Hospice Turning into the ‘Forgotten Front Line’ Read More »

50% Cut to Workforce Recruitment, Retention Fund Puts Home Care Providers in the Hot Seat

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled his executive budget proposal for the state in January. Its litany of cost-saving cuts could leave home-based care providers vulnerable, industry stakeholders caution. Specifically, the proposed budget would mean a 50% reduction in home care workforce recruitment and retention funding, as well as a 1% reduction for Medicaid providers …

50% Cut to Workforce Recruitment, Retention Fund Puts Home Care Providers in the Hot Seat Read More »

House Lawmakers Include 7.35% Medicaid Boost for Home- and Community-Based Services in Stimulus Proposal

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has proposed some major Medicaid provisions to the $1.9 trillion relief package making its way through Congress. If enacted, the measures would benefit home-based care providers across the U.S., at least in the short term. Specifically, the draft legislation includes a two-year, 5% Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) boost …

House Lawmakers Include 7.35% Medicaid Boost for Home- and Community-Based Services in Stimulus Proposal Read More »

As Demand for Mental Health Care Spikes, Budget Ax Set to Strike

Use Our Content It can be republished for free. HELENA, Mont. — When the pandemic hit, health officials in Montana’s Beaverhead County had barely begun to fill a hole left by the 2017 closure of the local public assistance office, mental health clinic, chemical dependency center and job placement office after the state’s last budget …

As Demand for Mental Health Care Spikes, Budget Ax Set to Strike Read More »

Labor Policies Threaten Home Care Providers: ‘Agencies Are Truly Getting the Worst of Both Ends’

Home-based care providers are dealing with an ongoing pandemic and simultaneously tackling vaccine education, procurement and distribution. Now, a slew of legislative labor provisions are threatening to disrupt both home health and home care agencies across the country. After President Joe Biden was inaugurated, his administration released a fact sheet that said “workers have a …

Labor Policies Threaten Home Care Providers: ‘Agencies Are Truly Getting the Worst of Both Ends’ Read More »

‘Inadequate Medicaid Rates’ Threaten Home Care Providers Amid $15 Minimum Wage Push

In-home care advocates are once again urging the Biden administration and Democratic lawmakers to be cautious in their quest to raise the federal minimum wage to $15. A $15 an hour minimum wage is just one aspect of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan to shore up Americans’ finances as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Other …

‘Inadequate Medicaid Rates’ Threaten Home Care Providers Amid $15 Minimum Wage Push Read More »

Biden to DOL: Workers Have ‘Guaranteed Right to Refuse Employment’ If They Feel Unsafe

In President Joe Biden’s first few days of office, he has signed a slew of executive orders, some of which may have an immediate effect on home health and home care agencies. One executive order, for example, laid the groundwork for a $15 minimum wage. The “Fight for $15” has long been a complicated issue …

Biden to DOL: Workers Have ‘Guaranteed Right to Refuse Employment’ If They Feel Unsafe Read More »

What President Joe Biden’s ‘American Rescue Plan’ Means for Home Care Operators

Before President Joe Biden was sworn in on Wednesday, he had already unveiled plans for another massive stimulus package, one that could help home-based care providers in some ways — and hurt them in others. Under the new president’s “American Rescue Plan,” for instance, there would be $400 billion put forth to increase COVID-19 testing …

What President Joe Biden’s ‘American Rescue Plan’ Means for Home Care Operators Read More »

HHS Delays Provider Relief Fund Reporting Requirements in Response to Updated Utilization Guidelines

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Friday announced it will amend the reporting timeline for the Provider Relief Fund, giving home health agencies and others more time to prepare required information. The news comes shortly after Congress clarified financial dos and don’ts of the program. Originally, the opening date for HHS’s …

HHS Delays Provider Relief Fund Reporting Requirements in Response to Updated Utilization Guidelines Read More »

Certificate of Need Markets Can Mean Big Business for Home Health Buyers, But Opportunities Are Growing Scarce

Home health mergers and acquisitions got off to a slow start in 2020, then picked up considerably by year’s end. Home health insiders are now predicting a big year for M&A activity in 2021, especially after COVID-19 relief vanishes and economic realities become clearer. The Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) will likewise play a part in …

Certificate of Need Markets Can Mean Big Business for Home Health Buyers, But Opportunities Are Growing Scarce Read More »

$1.4 Trillion Spending Package Extends Sequestration Holiday, Grants Home Health OTs More Authority

As different health care stakeholders combed through the new $1.4 trillion spending package approved by Congress on Monday, many likely felt a mix of excitement and disappointment. Included in the nearly 6,000-page spending package was a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill, changes to home health therapy rules, certain hospice provisions and more. That’s really just …

$1.4 Trillion Spending Package Extends Sequestration Holiday, Grants Home Health OTs More Authority Read More »

Surprise! Congress Takes Steps to Curb Unexpected Medical Bills

Most Americans tell pollsters they’re worried about being able to afford an unexpected medical bill. Late Monday, Congress passed a bill to allay some of those fears. The measure is included in a nearly 5,600-page package providing coronavirus economic relief and government funding for the rest of the fiscal year. Specifically, the legislation addresses those …

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No Funding, Closures and Limited Capacity: Adult Day Providers in Dire Need of Help

In late November, the aging-focused advocacy organization LeadingAge wrote a note to Congress, calling for relief on behalf of the 5,500 adult day service providers across the country and the vulnerable patients they serve. “Adult day services providers across the country urgently need dedicated federal funding to ensure they are able to continue providing services …

No Funding, Closures and Limited Capacity: Adult Day Providers in Dire Need of Help Read More »

House Bill Looks to Keep Medicare Sequestration ‘Holiday’ in Place for Home Health Agencies, Others

U.S. Representatives Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) and David McKinley (R-W.Va.) introduced the Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act last week. If passed, the bill would extend the temporary suspension of Medicare sequestration payment reductions, giving home health agencies and other providers more financial flexibility headed into an uncertain 2021. Since 2014, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & …

House Bill Looks to Keep Medicare Sequestration ‘Holiday’ in Place for Home Health Agencies, Others Read More »

Legislation Aimed at Expanding Advance Care Planning Introduced in Senate

On Wednesday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced the Compassionate Care Act, a bill that would support advance care planning and end-of-life care. For home health providers with existing hospice service lines or ambitions for expanding into palliative care, the news is encouraging. If passed, the Compassionate Care Act places more resources behind public awareness campaigns …

Legislation Aimed at Expanding Advance Care Planning Introduced in Senate Read More »

CMS Launches ‘Unprecedented’ Hospital-at-Home Strategy to Manage Latest COVID-19 Surge

In an effort to increase hospital capacity amid the current COVID-19 surge, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Wednesday announced “unprecedented” flexibilities around providing hospital-level care for patients in their homes. Similar to CMS’s recent allowances surrounding telehealth, the agency’s latest efforts are focused on lifting barriers that could potentially hinder …

CMS Launches ‘Unprecedented’ Hospital-at-Home Strategy to Manage Latest COVID-19 Surge Read More »

California Law Banning Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics Will Transform Industry

A toxic chemical ban signed into law in California will change the composition of cosmetics, shampoos, hair straighteners and other personal care products used by consumers across the country, industry officials and activists say. The ban, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom at the end of September, covers 24 chemicals, including mercury, formaldehyde and several types …

California Law Banning Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics Will Transform Industry Read More »

LHC Group CEO Keith Myers: Change in Washington Won’t Derail ‘Incredible’ Home Health Opportunity

Keith Myers has seen his fair share of change in Washington, D.C. Since co-founding the business with his wife, Ginger, in 1994, Myers has helped lead LHC Group Inc. (Nasdaq: LHCG) through parts of five presidencies as chairman and CEO. A new administration with Joe Biden in the White House would make that six. Although …

LHC Group CEO Keith Myers: Change in Washington Won’t Derail ‘Incredible’ Home Health Opportunity Read More »

Perspectives: Home Health Insiders Sound Off on the 2020 Election

The ongoing expansion of Medicare Advantage (MA), a federal minimum-wage hike and additional support for front-line health care workers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. These are just a few of the industry-shaping topics that home health insiders are following going into Election Day this Tuesday. While each presidential election is important, 2020 will help …

Perspectives: Home Health Insiders Sound Off on the 2020 Election Read More »

Lack of Stimulus Bill Could Lead to Rise in COVID-Related Lawsuits

Throughout 2020, there have been a number of new laws and legal trends that could have major impacts on the in-home care industry. In order for providers to be successful in the long run, it’s important to remain abreast of the latest developments. That was the message delivered by Angelo Spinola, an attorney and shareholder …

Lack of Stimulus Bill Could Lead to Rise in COVID-Related Lawsuits Read More »

[Updated] Lawmakers Introduce New Bill Paving the Way for Home Health Telehealth Reimbursement

Home health providers are one step closer to getting the No. 1 thing they’ve been asking for since the COVID-19 pandemic began: reimbursement for telehealth-driven visits. On Friday, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced the Home Health Emergency Access to Telehealth (HEAT) Act, a bipartisan bill to provide Medicare reimbursement for …

[Updated] Lawmakers Introduce New Bill Paving the Way for Home Health Telehealth Reimbursement Read More »

NAHC Pushing for Palliative Care, SNF-at-Home Medicare Benefits

As home health and home care operators move toward the ninth month of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to take stock of what has been accomplished from a policy perspective. Many of 2020’s regulatory changes will be fleeting, but others will shape the future of post-acute care for years to come. That was the message …

NAHC Pushing for Palliative Care, SNF-at-Home Medicare Benefits Read More »

CMS Announces New, More Provider-Friendly Rules for Advanced and Accelerated Loan Repayment

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced amended terms Thursday for accelerated and advanced payments granted to Medicare-certified health care providers — including home health agencies — during the public health emergency. Under the new “Continuing Appropriations Act” of 2021 and “Other Extensions Act,” repayment for providers will now begin one year …

CMS Announces New, More Provider-Friendly Rules for Advanced and Accelerated Loan Repayment Read More »

HHS Adds $20B to Provider Relief Fund for Home Health Agencies, Others

The federal government announced Thursday that the Provider Relief Fund will be replenished with a tranche of $20 billion. Unlike some of the previous rounds of relief, home health providers and others will have to apply for funding. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will begin accepting applications from providers on Oct. …

HHS Adds $20B to Provider Relief Fund for Home Health Agencies, Others Read More »

Congressman Vern Buchanan Urges CMS to Scrap PDGM’s 4.36% Behavioral Adjustment

In August, the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare (PQHH) unveiled a first-of-its kind, comprehensive analysis of the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM). Among its findings, the analysis — conducted by health economics and policy consulting firm Dobson DaVanzo & Associates — highlighted how government spending on home health care is 21.6% lower than what the U.S. …

Congressman Vern Buchanan Urges CMS to Scrap PDGM’s 4.36% Behavioral Adjustment Read More »

Senior Care Stakeholders: Latest COVID-19 Relief Proposal Is ‘Shameful,’ ‘Anemic’

Senate Republicans are close to unveiling their latest version of another coronavirus relief bill, with reports suggesting party leaders may do so Wednesday or soon thereafter. The proposal — first obtained by Washington, D.C.-based newsroom Roll Call — is viewed as a “skinny” version of the previously released HEALS Act from July. Among its provisions, …

Senior Care Stakeholders: Latest COVID-19 Relief Proposal Is ‘Shameful,’ ‘Anemic’ Read More »

Dozens of Home-Based Care Businesses Have Received PPP Loans of $5M+

Since funds became available, in-home care businesses across the U.S. have received more than $666.36 million in loans of under $150,000 via the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a July Home Health Care News review of federal data found. They have received hundreds of millions of dollars in large PPP loans at or above $150,000 as …

Dozens of Home-Based Care Businesses Have Received PPP Loans of $5M+ Read More »

Assisted Living Facilities Still Restricting Home Health Providers

Home health providers have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis since its outset, yet a primary concern remains being left behind by legislators, whether that’s on a state or federal level. Reimbursement for telehealth services is still on the forefront of everyone’s minds. But there are less-covered issues that haunt providers as …

Assisted Living Facilities Still Restricting Home Health Providers Read More »

Amid COVID Chaos, California Legislators Fight for Major Health Care Bills

California lawmakers are barreling toward an end-of-month deadline to pass or kill bills amid the biggest public health crisis the state has faced in a century. Yet even in a year consumed by sickness, they’re considering significant — sometimes controversial — health policy measures that aren’t directly related to COVID-19. Much of this legislation predates …

Amid COVID Chaos, California Legislators Fight for Major Health Care Bills Read More »

New Court Ruling Creating ‘Tremendous Amount of Confusion’ Over Paid Leave in Home Care

After a Monday ruling regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), many home-based care agencies are no longer considered health care providers, meaning they’ll now be forced to abide by robust federal paid-time-off mandates. “There’s a tremendous amount of confusion [over this], and I think that a lot of providers do not understand what …

New Court Ruling Creating ‘Tremendous Amount of Confusion’ Over Paid Leave in Home Care Read More »

With Stimulus Deadline Nearing, Home-Based Care Industry Scrambles to Secure Additional Relief

Friday is the deadline set by House Democrats and Senate Republicans for agreeing to a new coronavirus stimulus package. Home-based care stakeholders have had ample time to review the publicly released details from both parties’ plans — and they have a wishlist of additional provisions they’re still hoping to see. One of the central pain …

With Stimulus Deadline Nearing, Home-Based Care Industry Scrambles to Secure Additional Relief Read More »

Fearing Brexit chaos, UK asks pharma to build six-week drug stockpile

The UK government has asked pharma companies to build a six-week stockpile of drugs and find alternative shipping routes to the congested Dover-Calais crossing as the country heads for Brexit at the end of the year. In a letter, Steve Oldfield, chief commercial officer at the Department of Health and Social Care, said the government …

Fearing Brexit chaos, UK asks pharma to build six-week drug stockpile Read More »

HHS Delays Provider Relief Fund Spending Reports Until 2021

Home health providers that received more than $10,000 from the COVID-19-inspired Provider Relief Fund will need to account for all of the grant funds they spent by Feb. 15 at the latest, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced earlier this week. When the Provider Relief Fund was established, health care providers …

HHS Delays Provider Relief Fund Spending Reports Until 2021 Read More »

PDGM Data Shows Reality-Versus-Expectations Mismatch for Case-Mix Components

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) was a little bit off with some of its predictions related to the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM).  At least, that’s true when it comes to the first four months of 2020, according to Strategic Healthcare Programs (SHP) data unveiled on a recent BlackTree Healthcare Consulting webinar. The …

PDGM Data Shows Reality-Versus-Expectations Mismatch for Case-Mix Components Read More »

In-Home Care Providers on the Lookout for Next Stimulus Package

Although concrete details are largely unknown, in-home care providers remain on the lookout for the next coronavirus-related stimulus package. Specifics on a possible fifth stimulus package could be released as early as this week, policy experts believe.  “I think that’s the question, whether or not a package comes together that everyone agrees to before the …

In-Home Care Providers on the Lookout for Next Stimulus Package Read More »

Excel Home Care Distributing $6M in CARES Act Funds to Its Caregivers

Caregivers at Excel Home Care can expect a pay bump in the coming weeks. Horsham, Pennsylvania-based Excel Home Care is a non-medical personal care agency that began operating under the Help at Home umbrella in 2017. Help at Home is a Chicago-based home care company that operates in 13 states. In May, Pennsylvania Governor Tom …

Excel Home Care Distributing $6M in CARES Act Funds to Its Caregivers Read More »

Healthcare Headlines: February 2020

<h2 class="heading-medium">US On Track For One Of The Worst Flu Seasons In Decades </h2> <p>This flu season is on track to be as severe as the deadliest flu season in the United States in more than 40 years. Check out the latest hospitalization rates, year-over-year comparisons and a nationwide map of influenza activity.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2020/01/07/flu-update" target="_blank" …

Healthcare Headlines: February 2020 Read More »

Five Healthcare Trends in 2020: Your Cheat Sheet

<div class="right-align"> <a class="btn btn-blue _gt" data-category="Hospital" data-action="Click-Button" data-label="Blog-Five Healthcare Trends in 2020: Your Cheat Sheet" href="https://www.kindredhealthcare.com/docs/default-source/default-document-library/kindred-hospitals-healthcare-trends-in-2020.pdf?sfvrsn=acbf8dea_2" title="Five Healthcare Trends in 2020: Your Cheat Sheet" target="_blank">Download this article as a PDF</a></div> <br /> <p>In 2020, our nation&rsquo;s healthcare delivery and payment environment will continue its multi-year evolution. While some key trends will continue and expand, …

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Healthcare Headlines: December 2019

<h2 class="heading-medium">CMS Is Changing How It Pays Doctors To Coordinate Care </h2> <p>CMS has finalized rules that modify how physicians get paid to encourage primary care physicians and other clinicians to spend more time coordinating care for their patients. The intention is to help address the social determinants of health, increase patient adherence to treatment, …

Healthcare Headlines: December 2019 Read More »

Reducing Respiratory Failure Readmissions While COPD Is on the Rise

<div class="right-align"> <a class="btn btn-blue _gt" data-category="Hospital" data-action="Click-Button" data-label="Blog-Reducing Respiratory Failure Readmissions While COPD Is on the Rise" href="https://www.kindredhealthcare.com/docs/default-source/default-document-library/kindred-respiratory-failure-whitepaper.pdf?sfvrsn=74f58dea_2" title="Reducing Respiratory Failure Readmissions While COPD Is on the Rise" target="_blank">Download this article as a PDF</a></div> <br /> <p>Diagnoses of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) have been on the rise since the early 2000s. By 2030, …

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Healthcare Headlines: October 2019

<h2 class="heading-medium">Does Value-Based Pay Have A Future?</h2> While just about everyone in healthcare likes the idea of paying for outcomes, there still remains a challenge on how to fairly implement it. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) was a major step away from fee-for-service for physicians; subsequently, private payers began to …

Healthcare Headlines: October 2019 Read More »