Latest News from the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation
April 2016

Dear Members and Friends:

The first quarter of 2016 brought with it a host of new developments, both for the Alliance and the home health community. As we have continued to work with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Model, Prior Authorization, and matters relating to IMPACT Act implementation, it’s more clear than ever that health system change is upon us and that we need to be proactive in emphasizing home health’s value proposition.
In that vein, the Alliance released a new series of state one-pagers focused on home health’s role in post-acute care. The one pagers feature initial patient destinations following an inpatient hospital stay, readmission percentages for skilled nursing facilities and home health for MS-DRG 470, and top MS-DRGs for home health episodes. The new one pagers for each state, along with updated packets and patient and workforce one pagers, are available on the Alliance’s website at:
Later this quarter, the Alliance will look to release the Future of Home Health Project’s strategic framework, which is based on research by Avalere Health and ideas from the Institute of Medicine workshop and summary, as well as the Alliance’s symposia. Stay tuned for more information on the framework, as well as an upcoming briefing here in Washington, DC!
If you’d like to learn more about the Alliance’s upcoming projects or events, I encourage you to reach out to me at or (202) 239-3671 at any time.

Very Truly Yours,

Teresa L. Lee, J.D., M.P.H.
Executive Director

  • Earlier this month, the Alliance submitted comments to CMS on a possible prior authorization for home health pilot that would target select states. The Alliance’s comments are available here.
  • On Thursday, May 12th, CMS will host a Special Open Door Forum (SODF) for patients, families, caregivers, patient advocacy groups, disabled groups, low-income health patients, other consumers, and interested parties to ask questions on the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act and standardizing patient assessment across post-acute care. Participants may use the following dial-in information: 1-800 837-1935, Conference ID #: 77707137. Slides are available here.
  • In February, CMS sent a letter to state Medicaid directors updating and expanding the guidance regarding the availability of federal funding at the 90 percent matching rate for state expenditures on health information exchange (HIE) and electronic health record. Within the guidance, subject to CMS prior approval, states may be able to claim 90 percent of HITECH match for expenditures related to connecting eligible providers to Medicaid providers, which included home health providers. The letter is available here, and the CMS joint blog is available here.
  • MedPAC just released its March report on home health care services. In the report, MedPAC recommends eliminating a payment update for 2017, and implementing a two-year rebasing cut beginning in 2018. Additionally, the Commission reiterated their March 2011 recommendations on the home health care benefit. The full report is available here.
  • CMS recently released the OASIS Data Submission Specifications V2.20.0 for the OASIS-C2 item set scheduled for implementation on January 1, 2017. The item set includes IMPACT Act mandated measures, and is available for download here.  
  • The final version Workshop Summary from last fall’s IOM/NRC “The Future of Home Health Care: A Workshop” is now available to download. The Workshop Summary contains a comprehensive write-up of the opinions expressed by speakers at the Fall 2014 workshop. Key themes raised in the summary include: need for better care transitions, increased and appropriate use of technology, new payment arrangements, a focus on bringing together community resources, workforce improvements, and more. The Summary can be downloaded on the IOM website here.
  • Check out the Alliance’s new state one-pagers on home health’s role in post-acute care! You can also check out the updated patient and workforce state one-pagers and packets with information from the 2015 Home Health Chartbook and supplements. Updated one pagers are available on our website:  
  • If you missed any of the Alliance and VNAA’s Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Webinar series, visit to purchase any or all of the webinars. Webinars are free for VNAA and Alliance members, $55 for non-members, and a discount is available for members of a VNAA member state association. You will need to create a login for the site before purchasing. For questions, and any discount codes, please contact the Alliance’s Director of Communications and Events, Jen Schiller, at 
  • Alliance members are eligible to purchase the VNAA Clinical Procedure Manual (CPM) at the VNAA member price. The CPM is a comprehensive evidence-based manual offering step-by-step explanations and instructions for common procedures for nurses in home health and hospice care. Now in its 19th edition, the CPM features 300 procedures common to home health, hospice and palliative care providers, compiled with the expertise of top RNs, intravenous certified nurses, wound and ostomy specialists, certified diabetes educators, physical and occupational therapists, physicians, and dietitians. For more information, visit the Alliance’s members site here, or contact Jen Schiller.
  • The Alliance (@AHHQI) will host the April edition of the #HomeHealthChat on Twitter on April 26th at 2 pm ET with co-host the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts (@ThinkHomeCare). The April chat will focus on palliative care in the home. If you are interested in co-hosting an upcoming Twitter chat with the Alliance, please contact Jen Schiller.
April marks the Department of Health and Human Services’ Minority Health Month for 2016, focusing on “Accelerating Health Equity for the Nation.” As a critical piece of the health care system, home health care is a vital ally in the mission of improving health equity.
Read more here.
MedPAC Affirms ‘First Step’ Toward New Payment System
Home Health Care News, 4/17/16
“The way home health agencies are reimbursed by Medicare could soon change, as members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) voted to move ahead with an overhaul of the current payment system for post-acute care settings.”
To read more, click here.
Medicare Help At Home
Health Affairs Blog, 4/13/16
“Nine million community-dwelling Medicare beneficiaries—about one-fifth of all beneficiaries—have serious physical or cognitive limitations and require long-term services and supports (LTSS) that are not covered by Medicare. Nearly all have chronic conditions that require ongoing medical attention, including three-fourths who have three or more chronic conditions and are high-need, high-risk users of Medicare covered services.”
To read more, click here.
Medicare: 'House Calls' to Sickest Patients Saves Money
MedPage Today, 4/13/16
“When the sickest of patients receive comprehensive, well-coordinated care through a home-based primary care model, Medicare sees savings, according to a physician who spoke at a briefing on Medicare payment reform.”
To read more, click here.
Joint Replacement Bundles Create Showcase for Home Health
Home Health Care News, 4/10/16
“The April 1 start of the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) payment model could spell bad news for the 60% of participating hospitals that are likely to lose money.”
To read more, click here.
For the latest home health research, fact sheets, and value materials, visit
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