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Category Archives: Home Health Law and Compliance

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CMS Progress Note Template for Home Health Patients: Comments due by October 13

In January 2015, CMS announced that it was considering developing voluntary clinical templates to help physicians adequately document their encounters with Medicare patients who receive home health services.[1] CMS initially proposed a sample paper template progress note and suggested clinical template elements for an electronic progress note. CMS hosted three Special Open Door Forums to solicit feedback on the proposed templates from physicians, home health agencies, and other interested stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed templates.

On August 12, 2015, CMS announced that a suggested clinical template had been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) … Continue Reading

Positive Change for the Home Health Community in New Jersey

On March 3, 2015, the New Jersey State Board of Nursing (“Board”) issued a comprehensive set of proposed amendments, repeals and new rules pertaining to Delegation and Certification; Homemaker-Home Health Aides.  The changes broaden the authority of registered professional nurses (“RNs”) and permit RNs to train, and then delegate tasks to licensed practical nurses (“LPNs”), certified home health aides (“CHHAs”) and other assistive persons (collectively “assistants”).  This certainly seems like a positive step for the Home Health industry and its patients.  Nurses will be able to serve a broader patient base by maximizing the talents of more caregivers who are, … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Home Health Physician Documentation Templates

In the most recent updates to the Medicare Home Health Prospective Payment System,[1] CMS made significant changes to the face-to-face encounter documentation requirements by eliminating the physician narrative requirement for most home health services for care episodes beginning on or after January 1, 2015.[2] In making this change, CMS stated that the medical records of the certifying physician or the acute/post-acute care facility (if a patient in that setting was directly admitted to home health) must contain sufficient documentation to support the physician’s certification of patient eligibility for home health services.

Although the changes to the face-to-face encounter … Continue Reading

Deadline Extended for Comments on Proposed Changes to Home Health Conditions of Participation

In response to multiple requests, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) have extended the deadline for comments on the proposed changes to the home health conditions of participation (“CoPs”).  Home health providers and other interested stakeholders now have until 5:00 p.m. EST on January 7, 2015 to submit comments to CMS.

The proposed changes to the CoPs were published on October 9, 2014[1] and represent the most significant changes to the home health CoPs in seventeen years.  According to CMS, the new CoPs are intended to better reflect modern home health practice by acknowledging … Continue Reading

Recent Legislative and Regulatory Efforts Continue to Change the Regulatory Landscape for Hospice and Home Health Providers

Our colleaguesEmily E. Bajcsi, Clifford E. Barnes, Marshall E. Jackson Jr., and Serra J. Schlanger recently published a client alert on legislative and regulatory efforts impacting the hospice and home health industries:

  • President Obama signed the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (“the IMPACT Act”) into law;
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (“CMS”) published the Medicare Home Health Prospective Payment System final rule for calendar year 2015 (“Final Rule”); and
  • CMS published proposed changes to the home health conditions of participation and are accepting comments through December 8, 2014.

Each of these … Continue Reading

Eye on Ebola: Latest Updates from the CDC

The 2014 outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (“Ebola”) is the largest in history and continues to affect multiple countries in West Africa. Although reports of new Ebola cases in the U.S. – potential or confirmed – have slowed down in recent weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and its various domestic and international partners continue their efforts to prevent further transmission of Ebola in the U.S. as well as abroad. Earlier this week, in fact, the CDC released two new pieces of guidance regarding treatment of Ebola that will be of particular … Continue Reading

Complimentary Webinar – Eye on Ebola: Issues Impacting Health Care Providers

WHEN: November 17, 2014

TIME:    2:00pm – 3:30pm EST

To register for this webinar, please click here.

Please join us for a complimentary webinar addressing the professional and business challenges encountered by health care providers dealing with Ebola and other infectious diseases. This webinar will offer a clinical overview as well as a review of the guidelines which offer protocols for addressing concerns over Ebola and similar diseases, the health regulatory and risk management issues providers might consider in developing a response strategy, and the resulting labor and employment considerations facing health care employers. A question and answer period … Continue Reading

Epstein Becker Green Enhances Its OSHA Capabilities with the Addition of Valerie Butera

Epstein Becker Green is pleased to announce that Valerie Butera, an accomplished Occupational Safety & Health (OSHA) lawyer, has joined as a Member of the Firm based in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office.  Valerie is OSHA 30 certified and has substantial training and experience in process safety management (PSM). Valerie represents clients from numerous industries, including health care and life sciences and focuses on OSHA and other workplace safety and health issues.   For more information, click here.

 … Continue Reading

Ebola Preparedness Portal Launched by The Joint Commission

In response to the ongoing threat of the Ebola Virus Disease (“EVD” or “Ebola”) and the increased risk of individuals traveling from the affected countries to the United States, The Joint Commission recently launched an Ebola Preparedness Resources portal on its website.  The portal contains information addressing various safety actions for health care providers to consider, such as ensuring that all staff and clinicians who may come in contact with Ebola patients are educated and trained on Ebola guidance, re-evaluating infection control plans to ensure proper guidelines and requirements, and reviewing emergency operations plans.  While stressing that The Centers for … Continue Reading

Need for Home Health Companies Pro-Active Advocacy with State Medicaid Agencies

By Clifford E. Barnes and Marshall E. Jackson, Jr.

Recent enforcements in home health fraud have highlighted the need for home health companies of every state to engage the State Medicaid payment agency in pro-active affirmative discussion to work together to identify issues related to fraud and abuse.  Such discussions will provide home health companies further insight regarding compliance with federal and state fraud and abuse laws. That being said, recent enforcement actions have shown that home health companies may be liable under fraud and abuse laws, despite efforts to comply with such laws.  

On September 9th Lewis J. … Continue Reading

Home Care Fraud and Abuse on the Radar Screen of Federal and State Enforcement

Healthcare Fraud and Abuse is an ever growing problem.  The Federal government has taken several steps in its enforcement efforts to cut down on health care fraud.  It is estimated that health care fraud costs the United States about $80 billion per year.  And it continues to rise in an alarming manner, as total U.S. health care spending continues to rise, currently topping $2.7 trillion.

In the last year, spending on home health care has increased over 5 percent from previous years.  Since 2000, the senior population has increased by 15.1% versus 9.7% for the population as a whole.  According … Continue Reading

Medicare’s Proposed Home Health Rule for 2015: Face-to-Face Encounter Documentation Requirements

Our colleagues at Epstein Becker Green released a client alert: “Medicare’s Proposed Home Health Rule for 2015: CMS Suggests Only Limited Relief to the Face-to-Face Encounter Documentation Requirements but Continued Compliance Burdens on Home Health Agencies,” by Emily E. Bajcsi and Serra J. Schlanger.

Following is an excerpt:

On July 7, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published proposed changes to the Medicare Home Health Prospective Payment System (“HH PPS”) for calendar year 2015 (“Proposed Rule”). The Proposed Rule would update the HH PPS payment rates effective January 1, 2015, including continued implementation of the … Continue Reading