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

Dear Members and Friends:

June is a busy month for the Alliance, with the release of a flurry of data analysis and research on the value of home health care.
 
Last week, the Alliance released a new data analysis centered on the episodes of care used in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) model. The analysis, completed by Dobson | DaVanzo & Associates, closely examines the distribution of discharges for patients from the hospital to various post-acute care (PAC) settings, the average Medicare payment per CJR episode by first PAC setting, and the average readmission rate for related conditions for MS-DRG 470 and 469. You can download the full analysis on the Alliance’s website here.
 
In just over a week, the Alliance will host a briefing on “Framing the Future of Home Health Care in America” to announce the first portion of the Future of Home Health Project findings. The June 30th briefing will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, featuring 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. They will speak about the Project and the findings of the paper. The briefing will be from 12:30 to 1:30 at the National Press Club, with registration and lunch beginning at noon. Register to attend in person here! The event will also be simulcast, and you can register to view the simulcast here.
 
This is a critical time for the home health community and the Alliance remains committed to working with key stakeholders on ensuring a future that enables home health care to support person-centered care. If you’d like to get involved in any upcoming Alliance projects or events, I encourage you to reach out to me at tlee@ahhqi.org or (571) 527-1530 at any time.


Very Truly Yours,

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

 
  • Earlier this month, in conjunction with Dobson | DaVanzo and Associates, the Alliance released a new data analysis on CMS’s Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) model, which found that the use of home health after a hospital stay is associated with cost effective care and lower readmission rates for Medicare patients who have undergone major joint replacement surgery. The analysis closely examines the distribution of discharges for patients from the hospital to various post-acute care (PAC) settings, the average Medicare payment per episode by first PAC setting, and the average readmission rate for related conditions. The full analysis can be found here in either Excel or PDF here.
  • In early June, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the “Pre-Claim Review Demonstration for Home Health” in five states: Illinois, Florida, Texas, Michigan, and Massachusetts beginning August 1, 2016 in Illinois and continuing implementation through 2016 and early 2017. The demonstration is more or less the previously proposed Prior Authorization demonstration, requiring home health agencies to submit supporting documentation while beneficiaries are receiving care. You can find the official notice here, along with FAQs and a fact sheet.
  • Next month, the Alliance and VNAA will host a webinar with Tom Novak of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) on their new interoperability initiative. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) new initiative is aimed at better connecting the Medicaid program by broadening the scope of providers available for the 90% enhanced matching funds. The initiative is meant to facilitate better and more timely data sharing between a patient’s numerous providers. More information is available through the CMS Blog here, CMS’s letter to state Medicaid directors here, and this article from Healthcare DIVE. The webinar will take place on Thursday, July 7th at 2 pm ET is free to the public. Register here!
  • On July 14th, join the Alliance and VNAA as they host a webinar with the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals’ (OMHA) Senior Attorney, Cherise Neville, on the Settlement Conference Facilitation pilot. The 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. The SCF pilot is available for both Part A and Part B claims, subject to eligibility requirements. The webinar will begin at noon and you can register free 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.
 
  • Register today for “Framing the Future of Home Health Care in America” Thursday, June 30th at 12:30 pm ET. At the briefing, the Alliance will discuss the Future of Home Health Care Framework, set to be published later this year, and will release case studies and appendices which will inform the upcoming independent publication. The event is free and lunch will be provided for those attending in person. In-person registration is available here, with webcast-only registration available by clicking here.
  • Registration is now available for the VNAA Public Policy Leadership Conference September 14 – 15, 2016 in Washington, DC featuring a keynote from Dr. Patrick Conway, Deputy Chief Administrator for Innovation and Quality and Chief Medical Officer at CMS. Topics will include implementation of home health value-based purchasing, unified payment models, and more. Register here! Early bird closes July 1st.
  • 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
  • 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 June edition of the #HomeHealthChat on Twitter on June 28th at 2 pm ET with co-host the Avalere Project (@avalerehealth). The June chat will serve as a preview for the June 30th Future of Home Health paper briefing. If you are interested in co-hosting an upcoming Twitter chat with the Alliance, please contact Jen Schiller at jschiller@ahhqi.org.
The May #HomeHealthChat was co-hosted by Lee Goldberg (@lmgoldberg). Lee Goldberg is the Project Director forThe Pew Charitable Trusts’ Improving End of Life Care Project.
 
The #HomeHealthChat focused on the Importance of Advance Care Planning.
 
Read more here.
Home Health Shown to Cut Costs in Joint Replacement Patients
Home Health Care News, 6/16/16
“The use of home health services after a major joint repair surgery for Medicare patients results in cost-effective care and lower readmission rates, according to data newly released Thursday.”
To read more, click here.
 
How Senior Living Providers Can Crash the Health Care Party
Senior Housing News, 6/13/16
“The U.S. health care system is changing in big ways, and senior living companies have much to contribute in the dawning era—but it hasn’t been easy for them so far. They have not been allowed to participate in some of the emerging models of care affecting their residents, and now is the time for senior living providers to invite themselves in and prove they belong, according to some industry leaders.”
To read more, click here.
 
Medicare Rules for Home Health Care
Kiplinger, June 2016
“Medicare home health coverage can be a crucial benefit for seniors who have just been discharged from the hospital or who struggle with a chronic condition and have difficulty leaving home. But taking advantage of this benefit can be a real challenge.”
To read more, click here.
 
Despite stakeholder outcry, CMS launches home health prior-authorization demoModern Modern Healthcare, 6/9/16
“Despite outcry from industry stakeholders, advocates and beneficiaries, the CMS is moving forward with a three-year demonstration in which beneficiaries from five states would need to get prior approval before they get home health services.”
To read more, click here.
For the latest home health research, fact sheets, and value materials, visit www.ahhqi.org.
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