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

Dear Members and Friends:

After two years of work, the Alliance is set to announce the first portion of the Future of Home Health Project findings at a briefing in Washington, DC June 30th. Representatives from Avalere Health, as well as Alliance Chairman Kathleen Gilmartin, President and CEO of Interim Healthcare, and Alliance Vice-Chairman Dr. Steven Landers, President and CEO of VNA Health Group, will speak about the Project and the findings of the paper. The briefing will be from 12:30 to 1:20 at the National Press Club, with registration and lunch beginning at noon. Register here! The event will also be simulcast on the Alliance’s website, with more details being available soon.
 
Missed the Alliance and VNAA’s Home Health Value-Based Purchasing webinar series? The complete series is now available purchase on the VNAA’s website here. Alliance members, please contact Alliance Director of Communications and Events, Jen Schiller, at jschiller@ahhqi.org to receive the discount code to purchase the webinars for free.
 
Additionally, the Alliance continues to collaborate with other organizations in home health and the health care community writ large on issues surrounding the Medicare Prior Authorization proposal and next steps in IMPACT Act implementation.
 
More projects, events, and research are in the pipeline as the year comes close to hitting the halfway mark.
 
If you’d like to learn more about the Alliance’s upcoming projects or events, I encourage you to reach out to me at tlee@ahhqi.org or (202) 239-3671 at any time.


Very Truly Yours,

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

 
  • The Department of Health and Human Services’ Settlement Conference Facilitation (SCF) Pilot allows for appellants and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to discuss a mutually agreeable resolution for claims appealed to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing level of the Medicare claim appeals process. A settlement conference facilitator will act as a mediator and will work both parties, and is an employee of the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA), which functions separately from CMS. The SCF Pilot is available for both Part A and Part B claims. Part A information is available here, while Part B information is available here.
  • Last 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. As noted, the Alliance continues to work with CMS and peers in the home health community on the issue of Prior Authorization.
  • 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.
  • 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. Comments will be accepted until May 31st 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.
 
  • Next week, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Senior Health and Housing Task Force will host, “Recommendations for Healthy Aging: Integrating Health Care & Housing” May 23rd in Washington, DC. At the event, the task force will release their report, “Healthy Aging Begins at Home.” More information about the task force is available here, while you can RSVP for the May 23rd event 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: http://ahhqi.org/home-health/state-data.  
  • If you missed any of the Alliance and VNAA’s Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Webinar series, visit education.vnaa.org 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 jschiller@ahhqi.org.
  • 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 May edition of the #HomeHealthChat on Twitter on April 26th at 2 pm ET with co-host the Lee Goldberg (@Imgoldberg), Project Director of @PewTrusts End of Life Care Project. The May chat will focus on the importance of advance care planning. If you are interested in co-hosting an upcoming Twitter chat with the Alliance, please contact Jen Schiller at jschiller@ahhqi.org.
Last week, the Washington Post published the heartbreaking story of Joyce Oyler, a home health patient who passed away after receiving the wrong medication; an error which failed to be caught at all levels, including home health. Ms. Oyler’s story is a terrible reminder of the critical nature of care transitions from setting to setting.
 
Read more here.
Honoring Our Parents: 10 Things the Next President Can Do to Help People Age 85 and Older and Their Families
Huffington Post, 5/13/16
“The next President of the United States will take office at the start of one of the greatest shifts in demographics in the history of our country. The number of people in the United States age 85 and older will mushroom from about 6 million to over 15 million in the 25 years following inauguration. How the next President responds to this population shift will have an enormous impact on the quality of life of America’s seniors and their families, the Federal Medicare budget, and the overall economy for decades to come. Simply put, today we are quite challenged to make America great for the current group of oldest Americans and their families—it will take real focus and Presidential leadership to avoid catastrophe and hopefully do much better for a much larger group of people age 85 and older.”
To read more, click here.

5 health issues presidential candidate aren’t talking about – but should be
USA Today, 5/14/16
“References to the Affordable Care Act – sometimes called Obamacare – have been a regular feature of the current presidential campaign season.”
To read more, click here.
 
Home care experiment could mean fewer hospital stays
Marketplace, 5/13/16
“There’s a little $10 million health care experiment going on in New York that could mean fewer of us will end up in the hospital.”
To read more, click here.

MACRA struggles in evaluating long-term care
Modern Healthcare, 5/13/16
“Treatment for elderly patients and those with chronic conditions may not be well accounted for in the new Medicare system for reimbursing providers.”
To read more, click here.
For the latest home health research, fact sheets, and value materials, visit www.ahhqi.org.
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