Despite concerns, Senate pushes bill to ease home health services’ homebound requirements

The home health industry has won another victory in Washington, D.C., in its battle against certain parts of the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) and shift toward a more pre-acute care identity.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) introduced the Home Health Payment Innovation Act — S. 3545 — on Wednesday. If passed, the bill would amend the Social Security Act and loosen a homebound requirement for Medicare beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage plans, according to Home Health Care News.

This bill — along with others introduced over the last month, including H.R. 6932 and S. 3458 — is another effort on Capital Hill to reshape proposed home health payment reform from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

CMS released details of PDGM in July. In its initial announcement, CMS highlighted how PDGM is meant to better align reimbursement with patient needs and set a Jan. 1, 2020 implementation date.

Many home health leaders have been pointing to issues within the rule, including the behavioral adjustments, along with changes to the Low Utilization Payment Adjustment (LUPA) and how case mix weight is determined.

“S. 3545, S. 3458, and H.R. 6932 share identical language surrounding payment protections — by requiring any behavioral-based payment changes to be grounded in evidence — and observed data,” Keith Myers, CEO of LHC Group (Nasdaq: LHCG) and chairman of The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare, told Home Health Care News via email. “S. 3545 also includes a provision that would permit the waiving of the homebound regulatory requirement … This flexibility is needed and necessary as home health is an important part of keeping patients out of higher levels of care and institutional settings.”

The Partnership has come out in support of the Home Health Payment Innovation Act. The D.C.-based Partnership is an organization that works with government officials to ensure access to home health care services for all Americans.

Read the full story at Home Health Care News.

Topics: Medicare/Medicaid , Uncategorized