HCA Goes to Washington

The Home Care Alliance and member agencies will join other associations and agencies from across the country for the annual NAHC March on Washington.


The annual conference provides a chance to lobby members of Congress on issues of concern and thank those who have supported our causes. For those who are not traveling to Washington DC, the Alliance has made materials available (see below) to use as a guide for a “virtual lobby day” on March 27th when HCA and members visit with the state’s congressional delegation.

Pre-written advocacy messages are available to send off on the virtual lobby day under “Federal/National Issues” on the Alliance’s Legislative Action Center and click any messages that are of concern or interest. The messages will automatically be sent to the correct member of Congress once the online form is filled out asking for contact information. There is also an option to “compose your own message” near the top of that webpage.

If HCA members and advocates choose to contact their

federal representatives by phone, the Alliance has assembled the following materials and fact sheets on some of home care’s priorities, but we invite you to share your own issues and concerns as well.

Finally, be sure to follow the Alliance’s activity in DC, including photos and updates, on Twitter.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

State Making Changes to CORI Certification Process

On March 12, 2012, the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS) stopped accepting CORI Certification applications.

According to DCJIS, this change is necessary in order to transition to a new web-based iCORI system that will be implemented on May 4, 2012. The iCORI system will be available for wider use by the public, employers, landlords, professional licensing authorities and volunteer organizations.

All current CORI certifications have been extended through May 4, 2012. If your organization has a current CORI Certification, you will not be required to apply for re-certification.

An FAQ document with more information is posted on the DCJIS webpage, along with the proposed regulation. A public hearing is also scheduled for any interested in commenting and the notice for that hearing is also posted on the DCJIS website.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

HCA Comments to CMS on Dual Eligible Services Demonstration

MassHealth is going full speed ahead with a demonstration proposal to integrate Medicare and Medicaid services for dually eligible individuals and the Home Care Alliance took the opportunity to comment to CMS, which was accepting testimony on the state’s project until March 19th.

The Alliance’s comments highlighted the extensive experience that home care agencies have in caring for dually eligible individuals and helping them to remain at home. According to MassHealth data, more than 13,600 dual eligibles received home care services in calendar year 2008. Given that nearly 80 percent of duals have a physical health diagnosis, the Alliance also noted that home care agencies have a vital role in assessment and clinical care management, not to mention being an integral part of the care team itself.https://i1.wp.com/vickstromlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/masshealth.jpg

The goal of the project is to cut down on the cost of care by better care coordination and integration. The state’s proposal will do this, in theory, by naming five regional Integrated Care Organizations (ICO’s) that will receive both MassHealth and Medicare funding to then pay for services as appropriate and as determined by an assessment and care planning team.

The Alliance has joined other organizations like the Massachusetts Hospital Association, Massachusetts Medical Society and Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Systems in conveying that providers should be paid no less than Medicare rates for services they traditionally cover. That way, CMS and the state ensure that cost savings comes from better coordination and not from paying less than what providers are used to being paid.

See HCA’s full comments and visit MassHealth’s special webpage on the proposal for more information. There will also be an open public meeting on the project at 10:00am on April 9th in conference rooms 1,2, and 3 of the State Transportation Building (10 Park Plaza, Boston) for those interested in learning more.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Community-Based Care Transitions Program Announces New Participating Sites

A second round of participating sites were announced by CMS for the Community Based Care Transitions Program (CCTP) and two teams of providers are in Massachusetts.

Covering the central and western part of the state, the accepted projects are from Elder Services of Berkshire County, which includes Berkshire VNA as a partner, and Elder Services of Worcester, which includes a partnership with Metrowest Home Care & Hospice. A summary of the Berkshire County project has not been posted, but the Worcester/Metro West project summary was posted and notes the prior care transitions experience of Metrowest Home Care & Hospice. That project draws on the home care agency’s experience by including a transition RN, telephonic support above what the Coleman care transition model calls for, and also a palliative care component is implemented when necessary.

CMS continues to accept applications for the CCTP with dates for review listed below. The Home Care Alliance has resources available for any  home care agencies interested in applying or for entities looking to include agencies as partners. Those interested can contact James Fuccione at HCA.

  • March 27, 2012– Applications must be received by March 6th to be considered for this review
  • April 10 – Applications must be received by March 20th to be considered for this review
  • April 26 – Applications must be received by April 5th to be considered for this review
  • May 10 – Applications must be received by April 19th to be considered for this review
  • May 30 – Applications must be received by May 9th to be considered for this review
  • June 11 – Applications must be received by May 21st to be considered for this review
  • June 28 – Applications must be received by June 7th to be considered for this review

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

How to Respond to Latest Home Care News From Texas?

Once again last week, home care was in the news in a major press statement from CMS and on national television.  Unfortunately,  the stories weren’t about the patients and families receiving incredible comfort and care from our skilled teams, or about hospitalizations prevented,  or healing advanced.  The news was about the indictment of Dallas physician Jacques Roy –  accused of running a 485 factory that “certified more Medicare beneficiaries for home health services and had more purported patients than any other medical practice in the United States.”  Dr. Roy allegedly certified or directed the certification of more than 11,000 individual patients from more than 500 HHAs for home health services during the past five years, for services totaling $375 million. Five people have been indicated and Medicare payments to 78 agencies have been suspended.

The Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts has tried to lead when it comes to ensuring an industry that is ethical and trusted by patients and referrals sources. Several years ago, we added a Code of Business Ethics to our membership application. We have taken a strong stand against unchecked growth, supporting language in the Affordable Care Act that gives the federal EOHHS Secretary to impose temporary moratoriums in areas that have sufficient coverage and unsustainable growth. In 2010, we suggested in a letter to Secretary Sebelius that the the 25% growth of new agencies in four years in Mass deserved some EOHHS attention.  We have expressed concerns to federal and state regulators about the deemed accreditation process, whereby new agencies gain entry into the market, and about the need to make it more rigorous, We have published – mostly for our referral partners in physicians offices and assisted living – several pamphlets (“Keeping It Legal”)  on referrals, kickbacks and other prohibited practices.

This week we in response to the Texas news, the Visiting Nurse Assoiciation of America called on CMS “to use its authority to put a temporary moratorium on home health until better controls to prevent waste, fraud and abuse can be put in place.   Enforcement,” VNAA said, “is not enough.”

Next week, the Board of Directors of the Home Care Alliance will be meeting.  What do the members think should be our position on the “Texas situation?”