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

Dear Members and Friends:
 
In home health care, summer is the season for regulations, and predictably, July has seen a flurry of regulatory activity. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced two new proposed rules and initiatives. First, CMS issued the Home Health Prospective Payment System CY 2016 Proposed Rule. Within the rule, CMS is proposing 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 (2016-2022); and the beginnings of IMPACT Act implementation, including a proposal to implement a quality measure on pressure ulcers as a cross-setting quality measure for the CY 2018 payment determination and subsequent years. More information is available here. Comments will be accepted through 5 pm ET on September 4, 2015.
 
In addition, CMS introduced a new payment model for comprehensive care for hip and knee replacement. The new bundled payment program would cover an episode that begins with inpatient hospitalization and cover the 90 days post-discharge. This would be a mandatory program, holding most acute care hospitals in 75 regions across the country where such joint replacements take place accountable for the costs and quality of care for this episode, with hospitals either earning a financial reward or being required to repay a portion of costs depending on performance. More information is available here. Comments will be accepted through 5 pm ET on September 8, 2015. For both of these proposed rules, the Alliance will be submitting comments.
 
Finally, we hope you’ll be able to join us in New York City on September 9th at our Northeast Regional Future of Home Health Symposium on “Preparing for the Future of Home and Community-Based Care.” Information, including event details and an agenda, are available on the Alliance’s website here, and you can register here. This event is the second in a series of regional symposia that we have been planning. For those in the West and Midwest, stay tuned for information about future symposia in your areas!
 
We encourage you to continue following these events and more on the Future of Home Health Project using #FutureofHH on Twitter, or by going to the project page on the Alliance’s website.
 
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 the Alliance’s Director of Communications Jen Schiller at jschiller@ahhqi.org or (202) 239-3206.


Very Truly Yours,

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

 
  • SAVE THE DATE: The Future of Home Health Northeast Regional Symposium! The second installment in the Alliance’s FOHH Regional Symposia series will take place on Wednesday, September 9th in New York City, with a cocktail reception to be held the prior evening. Register here, and find more information about the event here. A limited block of rooms have been reserved at the Doubletree by Hilton Metropolitan New York, 569 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022. Please call the hotel directly at 1-800-222-8733 before July 31 and ask for the HCA room block.
  • 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. 
  • Earlier this 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 agency 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 Workshop Summary from last fall’s IOM/NRC “The Future of Home Health Care: A Workshop” is now available to download as a prepublication copy or buy as a paperback. 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
  • 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 “Cuture 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. 
  • Check out a replay of the Alliance’s most recent Learning Collaborative webinar with Clif Gaus and David Introcaso of the National Association of Accountable Care Organizations (NAACOS). Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are models of care in which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken a vested interest. Learning and forecasting current and future trends relating to ACOs, as well as understanding the role home health care may play in ACOs, is critical to achieving a lower cost, higher quality future of care delivery. Watch the replay here. 
  • The complete Faces of Home Health series is now available on the Alliance’s website! Looking at the diversity in home health patient populations, the profiles look at innovative ways home health works with frail elderly, culturally, racially, and ethnically diverse, and pediatric populations. Each profile features interviews, data, and a patient story to demonstrate the value of home health care to numerous unique patient populations. The profiles can be found here. Home Health Care News also covered the series in a recent article here. 
  • The Alliance (@AHHQI) will host the July edition of the #HomeHealthChat on Twitter, Tuesday, July 28th at 2 pm ET with co-host the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (@VNAA). The June chat will focus on the . 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. 
On Tuesday, June 23rd, the Alliance hosted the #homehealthchat on Twitter.

The #HomeHealthChat focused on the topic of the role of home health in ACOs.
 
Read more here.
Home health agencies get star ratings from Medicare
Chicago Tribune, 7/17/15
“A new five-star rating system for home health agencies gives Illinois consumers a chance to see how nearly 700 agencies in the state perform at helping patients regain mobility, stay out of hospitals and meet other goals.”
To read more, click here.
 
Home Health 2.0: Connecting Uber, Peapod and Providers
Home Healthcare News, 7/15/15
“Today, new payment models that reward coordinated care are incentivizing home health agencies to forge partnerships with hospitals and other health care providers. In the future, home health companies might be working out deals with private sector companies such as Peapod or Uber, which already are helping seniors age in place by harnessing innovative technology.”
To read more, click here.
 
Why we need innovation in care for the aging
The Hill, 7/14/15
“Our parents need help.
 
Every day another 10,000 people turn 65. By 2050, that will add up to nearly 84 million Americans. And yet, the way we care for older adults in this country — our parents and grandparents — is deeply inadequate.”
To read more, click here.
 
Home care: A smart way to deal with CT's aging population
Hartford Business Journal, 7/13/15
“Connecticut policymakers often get a bad rap, sometimes deservedly so, for their inability to properly manage the state's affairs. The recent state budget that raised taxes by $1.3 billion, for example, cast a dark shadow of discontent over Hartford's Golden Dome.
 
One area, however, where state government is actually on the right track is dealing with its aging population. Specifically, the state's focus on moving older residents into homecare settings, rather than much higher cost institutional care, is smart policy and should continue and even be expanded.”
 
To read more, click here.





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