Comment to CMS on PECOS, and Lobby Congress

For those looking to comment on the PECOS (Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System) issue, visit this link on and click on “submit comment.”

HCA strongly suggests that members also send a message to Congress (scroll all the way down to the last message on the list) and call the office of Senator John Kerry and US Representative to follow up on the Alliance’s letter and alerting their offices to the timeliness and urgency of the matter.

If you’re unsure who represents you in the US House of Representatives, click here.

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Announcing Agency Accreditation Program

In the absence of meaningful licensure requirements for home care providers in Massachusetts, the Home Care Alliance has established a series of Accreditation Standards as a means to promote quality services, ethical business standards, and superior employment practices.  The goal of these standards is to ensure that the clients served by agencies accredited by the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts receive safe, competent, quality, and respectful home care services.

Benefits of Accreditation:

The Home Care Agency Accreditation Program of the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts allows agencies that provide in-home client services to demonstrate that they meet high standards of quality.  Accreditation:

  • Shows clients and families that your caregivers are direct employees and that you carry workers’ compensation, liability insurance, and an employee dishonesty bond.
  • Demonstrates that your caregivers receive background checks, screening, and proper training for their job.
  • Proves your commitment to following ethical and legal guidelines in your business operations.
  • Provides a competitive edge in the marketplace and can contribute to securing new business.
  • Enhances staff recruitment and development by showing your commitment to fair labor standards.

Accredited agencies receive recognition in several ways:

  • Use of the Alliance’s Accreditation Logo to show your commitment to quality on your website, brochures, and stationery.
  • Listing on the Alliance’s website as an Accredited Agency.
  • For Alliance member agencies, designation as an Accredited Agency in the Alliance’s print directories and in the Find an Agency function on the Alliance’s website, which enhances your visibility and credibility.

To learn more, visit the program’s website and download an application today.

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Medicare Ruling Puts Home Health Patients at Risk

A provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act published recently by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) states that, as of July 6th, home health agencies will be prohibited from submitting claims for reimbursement from physicians who have not enrolled in a new online system.

Failure to register in the Medicare Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System, or PECOS, would also block these physicians, who can still see Medicare patients, from referring new patients for Medicare-covered home health services.

At issue is that CMS has not adequately educated physicians about this new requirement.  The result is that as many as 50% of physicians in Massachusetts (NAHC estimates 20-40 percent nationally) have not registered on PECOS.  Moreover, the registration and approval process can take several weeks, so even if physicians were to register immediately, their status would not be approved by the July 6 deadline.

HCA, along with the VNA of Boston and other agencies and organizations are urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Congress to delay implementation of the rule until such time as physicians have ample time to enroll and also to hold harmless the home health providers that will suffer from the abrupt transition.

What to do:

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MA Senate Passes Nurse Delegation, Bill Moves to House

The Home Care Alliance is applauding the state Senate’s passage of the Nurse Delegation bill (S.860) and is urging the House of Representatives to follow suit.

S. 860 would refine the Commonwealth’s Nurse Practice Act (NPA) to allow appropriate nurse delegation practices to include delegation of medication administered by home health aides in the home setting.

Thanks to the advocacy of HCA members and the work of supporting organizations, the bill moves one step closer to the Governor’s desk and lobbying efforts are now directed at the House.

An NEW email message aimed at State Representatives is available in the Legislative Action Center. Just click on the message regarding Nurse Delegation. If you choose to call your local State Representative, a fact sheet is also available as a guide.

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Joint Letter Supporting Nurse Delegation Sent to Senate President

Organization leaders supportive of the Home Care Alliance’s Nurse Delegation bill (S.860) signed onto a letter aimed at Senate President Therese Murray and urging her to bring the proposal before the full Senate for debate.

The joint letter initiated by the Home Care Alliance is also copied to Senator Frederick E. Berry, who is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics and Rules, which is where the bill currently sits. The next step for the legislation would be a formal session where state senators would debate the matter, but with time running down the Alliance and the bill’s supporters are working to advance the issue to that vital step.

Go to the HCA Legislative Action Center and click “Please Advance S.860 for Better Home Health” to send a letter to the Senate Committee on Ethics and Rules, or call Senator Berry’s office at 617-722-1410.

Some organizations, including the Massachusetts Association of Registered Nurses and the Massachusetts Association of Nurse Executives, are in support of S.860, but were not able to sign onto the letter.

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