National Association for Home Care & Hospice

Older Americans Overwhelmingly Support Choose Home Care Act

The vast majority of older Americans want to age in place, several past surveys have found. Unsurprisingly, that desire has translated into overwhelming support for the Choose Home Care Act. Introduced in July by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.), Choose Home is legislation designed to give nursing home-eligible Medicare beneficiaries more options …

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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 …

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Home Health Industry Must Plan for Future PDGM Fight

With a 1.7% bump to Medicare rates and seemingly few modifications to the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM), the home health proposed payment rule for calendar year 2022 felt relatively benign at first glance. In reality, though, the June 28 proposal from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) likely sets up a policy …

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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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How Home-Based Care Providers Can Prove Their Worth to Payers

Home-based care is going to be a larger part of health care’s future. As a result, it’s beginning to attract considerable attention from entrepreneurs and other innovators. But as new trends arise with the shift toward the home, including new technology, partnership opportunities and payment models, it’ll be up to each provider to decide whether …

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Home Health Telehealth Utilization Likely to Remain Strong

The use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring technologies skyrocketed during the initial COVID-19 surges, then hit a plateau. But even with some degree of leveling off, telehealth use has still increased by more than 38 times since pre-pandemic baselines. Despite reimbursement roadblocks, home health providers have been among the biggest adopters of telehealth. AccentCare, …

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Back-End Problems Continue to Haunt Home Health Agencies

Managing back-end operations is arguably as paramount to a home health agency’s success as the patient-facing, clinical aspects of the business. Even so, that task has often been put on the back-burner in the past. But with the onset of no-pay RAPs, the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM), the Review Choice Demonstration (RCD) in select states …

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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 …

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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 …

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Disrupt Podcast #46: Bill Dombi of NAHC

The 46th episode of our podcast, Disrupt, is now available! This June, U.S. lawmakers unveiled a massive new bill to fund home- and community-based services, while the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its proposed home health payment rule for 2022 - complete with national expansion plans for the Home Health Value-Based …

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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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To Better Protect Homebound Seniors, CMS Boosts Medicare Rates for At-Home COVID-19 Vaccinations

Since COVID-19 vaccines became more widely available in the U.S., home health providers have been working to “get shots in the arms” of vulnerable, homebound populations. The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new support for those providers on Wednesday. As part of the Biden administration’s commitment to increasing access to vaccinations, …

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Hoping to Age in Place, Americans Want Long-Term Care Help from Medicare

Given a choice, the vast majority of U.S. adults would still prefer to receive long-term care in their own homes instead of moving into a nursing facility or senior living community, according to a new study from The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. But while nearly everyone wants to age in place, few actually …

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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. …

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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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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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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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2% Cut to Home Health Agencies, Other Medicare Providers Nearing Unwanted Return

Among its many provisions, last year’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act pressed pause on the government’s 2% payment cut to all Medicare-reimbursed health care providers. The “sequestration holiday” was immediately seen as a common-sense lifeline for cash-strapped home health providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of whom had …

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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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NAHC’s Dombi: Home Care Opportunities Are on the Rise, Despite Ongoing Operational Challenges

Home care agencies have been through a turbulent year. But they’re coming out of it under a new light from the perspective of clients and potential partners. That spotlight continues to grow brighter with each passing day, too, though COVID-19 cases within home care have fluctuated as of late. Far more agencies are dealing with …

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Always Best Care, Healing Hands Share Keys to Hospital-at-Home Success for Private-Duty Agencies

When most people hear about hospital-at-home programs, they often picture ICU nurses and doctors running around their living room. But while hospital-at-home models do rely on physicians and clinical staff, successful programs also leverage the expertise of private-duty home care agencies and their veteran caregivers. In fact, when hospital-at-home models fail, it’s typically because a …

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Biden Administration Inks $230M Deal for At-Home COVID-19 Tests

The U.S. government has reached a $230 million deal to produce rapid at-home COVID-19 tests that can be purchased for $15 to $30 over the counter, the Biden administration announced Monday. The deal is with Ellume USA LLC, an Australia-based diagnostics company. For home-based care providers, testing is still paramount as the vaccine rollout continues. …

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Pandemic-Driven SNF-to-Home Diversions May Become New Norm

Nursing home occupancy rates have plummeted during the COVID-19 pandemic, with hospitals, families and others opting for in-home care over institutional care settings. And that trend may very well become permanent, recent data suggests. Since the start of last spring, nursing home operators have faced fewer new admissions, particularly short-term rehabilitation patients. The growing number …

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Heightened Home Health Awareness Means Higher Volumes, More Opportunities for Agencies in 2021

Home health agencies took hits to both their censuses and psyches when the public health emergency (PHE) was declared last March. Since then, some industry insiders have argued that the space has gone through a five- to 10-year transformation. Subsequently, the second year of COVID-19 is set to look different than the first, for a …

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$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 …

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Beyond the Pandemic: 9 Overlooked Stories from 2020

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic dominated headlines in 2020 — and rightfully so. But there were plenty of other storylines that defined the year, including the launch of the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM), the conclusion of a hotly contested presidential election and the execution of multiple industry-shaping transactions. These are nine of the most overlooked stories …

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NAHC, NHPCO, Others Release Vaccine Guidance for In-Home Care Providers

The dichotomy in the U.S. right now is evident, especially for those in health care: While vaccines and coinciding hope are being injected into Americans, the number of new COVID-19 cases each day continues to climb. And while every home-based care provider and worker keeps reading that the vaccines — both Pfizer’s (NYSE: PFE) and …

NAHC, NHPCO, Others Release Vaccine Guidance for In-Home Care Providers Read More »

Stimulus Money, Therapy Changes and COVID-19 Strategies: Top Home Health Stories of 2020

The Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) was supposed to define home health care in 2020. Instead, this year was almost entirely shaped by COVID-19, a point that’s reinforced by the most widely read stories on Home Health Care News. Of the top-10 stories on HHCN in 2020, eight were related to coronavirus coverage. From the first …

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Griswold Continues Building Out Leadership Team; NAHC, HCAOA Announce Board Additions

Griswold adds to leadership team, board Blue Bell, Pennsylvania-based Griswold Home Care has named Matt Ericksen director of sales and operations. In his new role, Ericksen will bring expertise in business development, compliance and recruitment to the team, according to the company. He was most recently the director of operations at BrightStar Care Inc., one …

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[Updated] CMS Finalizes 1.9% Home Health Rate Increase for 2021, Keeps PDGM’s Behavioral Adjustment

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its final 2021 home health payment rule Thursday. In doing so, it changed very little from what it first proposed in June. The final rule adds an estimated $390 million home health payment boost for agencies in 2021, or an aggregate increase of 1.9%. That …

[Updated] CMS Finalizes 1.9% Home Health Rate Increase for 2021, Keeps PDGM’s Behavioral Adjustment Read More »

Home Health Turnover Rate Hits 22.18%

Home health industry turnover rates have once again worsened in 2020, especially for front-line worker positions. That’s according to the latest Home Care Salary & Benefits Report from the Oakland, New Jersey-based Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service, which provides salary and benefits studies for the health care sector. The annual report is published with the …

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Home Health Agencies Need to be ‘Best of the Best’ to Land MA Business

As Medicare Advantage (MA) enrollment explodes and plans begin to offer more benefits to members, home health and home care agencies alike need to prove their value in order to gain new business. Specifically, home health providers need to demonstrate how they can lower costs and potentially add members for MA plans. “The important thing …

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‘The Pandemic Is Far from Over’: Top Concerns for the Home Health Industry This Fall

The home health industry entered the eighth month of the COVID-19 pandemic this October. While most have adapted to a “new normal,” the public health emergency — and a possible second wave — understandably remains the biggest concern for many operators across the country. As of Oct. 1, there had been more than 7 million …

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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. …

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More Than Half of All Home Health Agencies Have Treated COVID-19 Patients

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) officially closed its public comment window for the 2021 proposed home health payment rule on Monday. Unlike the past couple of years, the latest proposed payment rule included relatively minor changes and rate adjustments for the year ahead. In light of the mild proposal, CMS only …

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CMS: True Telehealth Change Will Require Congressional Action

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a new rule that would make certain COVID-19-related telehealth flexibilities introduced over the past few months permanent for Medicare beneficiaries. The move comes in conjunction with an executive order from President Trump to improve rural and telehealth access.  While CMS’s proposed rule potentially paves the …

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What Home Health Providers Need to Know Before a Medicare Part B Expansion

Home health providers that are looking to tap into new revenue streams may turn to more Medicare Part B services moving forward. But these companies need to have a firm understanding of the reimbursement rules in order for their efforts to be fruitful. The Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM), industry consolidation and the Review Choice Demonstration …

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Dombi: Regulatory Flexibilities Mean More Competition for Home Health Providers

Home-based care providers are at the forefront of the nation’s fight against the coronavirus; yet they still lack the full federal help they need to succeed.  Meanwhile, regulatory flexibilities for hospitals and other health care providers are creating newfound competition for home health and home care agencies. “So far, it has been difficult to measure …

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‘I’m Not Sure Their Timing Could Be Any Worse’: CMS to Resume Review Choice Demonstration

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) announced Tuesday that the Review Choice Demonstration (RCD) would be renewed for participating states beginning in August. The RCD was suspended in late March due to the COVID-19 crisis, but now CMS is planning on moving forward with the demonstration “regardless of the status of the …

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