Keeping It Legal, Part 2: Patient Choice

Building on a previous document called “Keeping It Legal” that focuses on what providers need to know when referring patients to home health care, the Home Care Alliance is releasing a series of documents on other legal issues related to the industry.

This new document in the series focuses on “Patient Choice” and what rights a patient has under the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

See the article: Respecting Patient Choice and the Rights of Medicare Patients

Drafted by Robert Markette, Jr., CHC – Of Counsel for Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP, the Home Care Alliance is pleased to make this series of resource documents available. Agencies are encouraged to pass these documents along to partnering providers and pertinent agency staff to ensure that they are aware of the rules and regulations.

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HHAs Must Ensure Physician Enrollment in Medicare

 CMS Releases:  Ordering and Referring Physician Final Rule

On Tuesday, CMS posted for public inspection the final rule “Medicare and Medicaid Programs: Changes in Provider and Supplier Enrollment, Ordering and Referring, and Documentation Requirements; and Changes in Provider Agreement” This document was published in the Federal Register on 04/27/2012.

This rule requires enrollment of physicians ordering home health and other services to be enrolled in the Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System (PECOS). Work is underway to transition all physicians enrolled in other systems, such as the Legacy system, to PECOS. This process is being expedited by CMS through physician Medicare re-validation.

Home health agencies should  begin checking every physicians Medicare enrollment status in the Ordering and Referring Physician report. Through this report CMS has made available the National Provider Identifier (NPI) and the name (last name, first name) of all physicians and non physician practitioners who are of a type/specialty that is eligible to order and refer in the Medicare program and who have current enrollment records in Medicare (i.e., they have enrollment records in PECOS that contain an NPI).
A new file will be made available periodically that will replace the posted file; at any given time, only the most recent file will be available. It can also be used to search for a particular physician or non physician practitioner by NPI number or by name.
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FYI: “Home Health Prospective Payment System” Fact Sheet Revised

The Medicare Learning Network has recently released the revised Home Health Prospective Payment System” fact sheet and is now available in downloadable format. It includes the following information: background, consolidated billing requirements, criteria that must be met to qualify for home health services, coverage of home health services, elements of the HH PPS, updates to the HH PPS, and healthcare quality. This can be used as a handy tool for new employees to home health care!

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How does Massachusetts Compare to National Results from HHCAHPS?

Results from the CMS national survey, Home Health Care Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HHCAHPS) Survey, that asks patients about their experiences with Medicare-certified home health agencies, are now available on Quality Care Finder website.

Massachusetts scored better or the same compared to national results for 4 out of 5 survey items. “Percent of patients who reported that their home health team gave care in a professional way” was the survey result where Massachusetts scored 1% less than the national level. See how specific agencies in your local area compare to the state and national results.

HHCAHPS will be updated every four months with new survey data and will complement the clinical measures available on the “Home Health Compare” website. This survey collects feedback on topics that patients have identified as important to them in determining which home health agencies provide high-quality care. Ratings include an overall rating of home health care and a patient’s willingness to recommend the agency to someone else.

For more information on the survey, visit

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Advocacy Alert: Contact Your State Rep. Today to Support Home Care in FY13 Budget

The Massachusetts House of Representatives begins work on their version of the FY13 State Budget today and the Home Care Alliance needs your help sending emails to support home care’s priorities!

Visit our Legislative Action Center or see the issues below to send any of the pre-written messages that concern you and your agency. It only takes ONE MINUTE to enter your contact information, review your information, and the system will automatically send the message to the state representatives for your area.

Urge your state representative to support the following issues:

Restore Home Health Rates

»  Write Your Legislators    »  Read About This Issue  

Support Telehealth Reimbursement from MassHealth

»  Write Your Legislators    »  Read About This Issue  

Support Certificate of Need for Home Care

»  Write Your Legislators    »  Read About This Issue  

Support Pediatric Home Care

»  Write Your Legislators    »  Read About This Issue 


Compose Your Own Message

»  Write Your Legislators


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Training for the CDC’s World Health Organization Growth Chart is Now Available

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created an online training course for health care providers and others who measure and assess growth of infants and young children. The course is using the World Health Organization (WHO) Growth Charts to Assess Growth with Children less than 2 Years of Age in the U.S.  The recommendation for children less than 2 years of age is based in part on the recognition that breastfeeding is the recommended standard for infant feeding.  In the WHO charts, the growth of the healthy breastfed infant is intended to be the standard against which the growth of all other infants is compared. This online training takes 45 minutes to complete; there are self-assessment questions in each section.

The World Health Organization released a new international growth standard for infants and young children ages birth to 5 years of age. The standard shows how infants and children should grow.  The CDC now recommends that health care providers use:

  •    The WHO growth standard charts  for children aged birth to less than two years regardless of type of feeding, to monitor growth in the U.S.
  •    The CDC growth reference charts  for children aged two to twenty years to monitor growth in the U.S.

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David Rendell Wants You To Attend This Conference!

Frustrated by disengaged and unproductive employees?  Keynote speaker David Rendell will offer a unique take on the issue during his New England Home Care Conference & Trade Show keynote address “The Freak Factory: Making Employees Better by Helping Them Get Worse.”  Here’s a preview:

Research shows that most people are not committed to their jobs and the way we currently manage employees does more to harm than help, their performance. We think our employees are broken, treat them like they are broken, and then wonder why they don’t work. Instead of attacking people’s weaknesses, we need to find the strength that is hidden inside their apparently negative characteristics.

Rendell is a speaker, leadership professor, stand-up comedian and endurance athlete with more than 15 years of experience leading people and organizations. He is also the author of two books, The Four Factors of Effective Leadership and his latest, The Freak Factor: Discovering Uniqueness by Flaunting Weakness.

To learn more about Mr. Dendell — as well as the other speakers, presenters, programs, and exhibitors  at the conference — just download the brochure and register today.

And don’t forget that all Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts who register for the conference before April 13 will be entered to win one of two $50 chips to use as the casino!