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Latest News from the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation
August 2015

Dear Members and Friends:
 

With just a few weeks to go, we hope you’ll be able to join us in New York City on September 9th for the Northeast Regional Future of Home Health Symposium, “Preparing for the Future of Home and Community-Based Care.” Speakers from across the care continuum, including those from the Hartford Foundation, Humana at Home, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the National Association of Accountable Care Organizations, the United Hospital Fund, and more will speak to those issues first tackled at the 2014 IOM Future of Home Health Care Workshop (click here to access the workshop summary in paperback or free PDF). Information, including event details and an agenda, are available on the Alliance’s website here, and you can register for the symposium here. This event is the second in a series of regional symposia that we have been planning, and we’ll provide more information on future events as they become available.
 
Last month the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued two proposed rules and initiatives: the Home Health Prospective Payment System CY 2016 Proposed Rule (including a proposal on home health value based purchasing) and a new payment model for comprehensive care for hip and knee replacement. The Alliance will be discussing these proposed rules on the monthly Quality and Innovation Working Group (QIWG) call, this Thursday, August 20th at 2 pm ET. If you’re an Alliance member who is not currently part of the QIWG and would like to join the discussion, please contact the Alliance’s Director of Communications and Events, Jen Schiller, at jschiller@ahhqi.org to be added to the call. Comments on the HH PPS will be accepted through 5 pm ET on September 4, 2015; comments on the comprehensive care for hip and knee replacement proposed rule will be accepted through 5 pm ET on September 8, 2015.
 
Finally, be sure to check out additional upcoming Alliance programming, including our August #HomeHealthChat on Twitter with the AARP Public Policy Institute, Tuesday, August 26th at 2 pm ET, and our next Learning Collaborative webinar, “Positioning for Partnership: Home Health Agencies Building Key Relationships for Success” with Brent Feorene of Health Dimensions Group on Wednesday, September 16th at 2 pm ET. On the webinar, Brent will discuss the impact of the current environment on home health care and offer tools to assist your agency to position for partner relationships for future success. More information is available here.  
 
If you’re interested in getting involved with the Alliance or the Future of Home Health Project, or have any input for the Alliance’s comments to CMS on the proposed rules, please reach out to myself at tlee@ahhqi.org or (202) 239-3671, or to Jen Schiller at jschiller@ahhqi.org or (202) 239-3206.



Very Truly Yours,

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

 
  • The Future of Home Health Northeast Regional Symposium is almost here! The second installment in the Alliance’s FOHH Regional Symposia will take place on Wednesday, September 9th in New York City, with a cocktail reception to be held the prior evening at the hotel. Delving further into the concepts examined last fall, the symposium will feature panelists and speakers on alternative models of care delivery, achieving the Triple Aim, shifting care into the home and community, and research and policy priorities. Register here, and find more information about the event here.
  • The CY 2016 Home Health Prospective Payment System Proposed Rule is out now. Within the rule, CMS proposes payment adjustments including reductions due to rebasing and case mix changes; a model for home health value-based purchasing with nine states identified for implementation for 5 performance years; and the beginnings of IMPACT Act implementation, including a proposal to implement quality measure NQF #0678, Percent of Patients with Pressure Ulcers that are New or Worsened as a cross-setting quality measure for the CY 2018 payment determination and subsequent years. The full proposed rule is available here. Comments will be accepted through 5 pm ET on September 4, 2015. 
  • Last month, CMS released the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Payment Model for Acute Care Hospitals Furnishing Lower Extremity Joint Replacement Services, aimed at implementing a new bundling model for lower extremity joint replacement or reattachment of a lower extremity. The program would be mandatory in 75 regions of the country, and payments are structured retrospectively, with regular payments to be made to each provider of services and hospitals held accountable against a bundled payment target for the entire episode. Home health agencies and hospice services are explicitly included in the episode. The full proposed rule is available here. Comments will be accepted through 5 pm ET on September 4, 2015. 
  • In late June, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) introduced the “Home Health Documentation and Program Improvement Act of 2015” that seeks to clarify the face-to-face requirement for home health reimbursement. The legislation, drafted with help from the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA), will require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop a standardized form to collect evidence of beneficiary eligibility with limits to the amount of information collected, and drafted in conjunction with key stakeholders. A fact sheet on the legislation is available from VNAA here.
  •  The final version Workshop Summary from last fall’s IOM/NRC “The Future of Home Health Care: A Workshop” is now available in paperback or for free 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.
  • Alliance members can join the Health Information Technology Sub-Working Group today, Tuesday, August 18th at 2 pm ET for a special webinar with Elizabeth Palena-Hall and Evelyn Gallego of the Office of the National Coordinator. For more information on how to participate, please visit the Health IT section of the Alliance’s member site here (login required). 
  • The Campaign for Action, a part of AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s The Center to Champion Nursing in America, is now accepting nominations for the “Culture of Health: Breakthrough Leaders in Nursing” award. Nominations for the award, which honors 10 nurses working with diverse populations to build healthier communities, will be accepted through August 21, 2015. More information is available here. 
  • Join the Alliance for our next Learning Collaborative webinar with Brent Feorene “Positioning for Partnership: Home Health Agencies Building Key Relationships for Success” on Wednesday, September 16th at 2 pm ET. Brent T. Feorene, MBA, is the Vice President of Health Dimensions Group, and he will be speaking on building the key relationships that ensure a high-value partnership with ACOs, health systems, and managed care organizations. More information on the webinar is available at the Alliance’s website here. 
  • The Alliance (@AHHQI) will host the August edition of the #HomeHealthChat on Twitter, Tuesday, August 26th at 2 pm ET with co-host the AARP Public Policy Institute (@VNAA). The August chat will focus on home health and easing the caregiver burden. If you do not have a Twitter account, you may follow along here. If you are interested in co-hosting an upcoming Twitter chat with the Alliance, please contact the Alliance’s Special Assistant Jennifer Schiller at jschiller@ahhqi.org or (202) 239-3206. 
The July #HomeHealthChat was co-hosted by The Visiting Nurse Associations of America (@VNAA)
 
The #HomeHealthChat focused on home health quality of patient care star ratings.
 
Read more here.
ACA's Home Care Pilot Shows Strong Results Out the Gate
California Healthline, 8/12/15
“’This bipartisan bill will help coordinate care and lower costs for Medicare beneficiaries with multiple debilitating diseases, including Alzheimer's, ALS, congestive heart failure, diabetes and other chronic conditions.’ -- Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), May 2009.”
To read more, click here.
 
Reinventing Home Health
Health Affairs Blog, 8/11/15
“Accountable care is finally coming to home health.
 
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is launching a value-based reimbursement (VBR) pilot program for Medicare home health care agencies. The model is part of the 2016 Home Health Prospective Payment System proposed rule, which was published in the Federal Register on July 10.”
To read more, click here.
 
Why Shifting Health Policies Favor Home Care
Home Health Care News, 8/7/15
“As the health care market continues to evolve, it behooves acute and post-acute care providers to evaluate strategies that align with new federal regulations, particularly those related to what’s known as population health. And this is making for a bright future for home care, industry leaders say.”
To read more, click here.

 
For the latest home health research, fact sheets, and value materials, visit www.ahhqi.org.
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