Home Care Alliance, National Organizations Make Statements on Supreme Court Decision

In light of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts and other organizations representing health care providers and consumers had this to say:

“Today’s decision of the US Supreme Court has established the Affordable Care Act as the law. With their ruling, the Supreme Court has removed enormous uncertainty – particularly in states other than Massachusetts and for those involved in ACA funded demonstrations – as to whether to move forward. They now can, and we think they must.  While some parts of the law will impact Massachusetts far less directly than other states, there is evidence that our state has already benefited by some provisions. Most notably, 62,000 seniors and people with disabilities in Massachusetts have seen significant savings on their prescription drugs because the law was upheld.

All providers, including home health care, were subject to Medicare rate reductions in the ACA in order to expand coverage and pay for reform demonstrations.  These cuts have not been easy to absorb. With this ruling, we must now get to work to deliver on the promise in our state not just of universal access to insurance, but to a better coordinated, and ultimately more cost effective delivery system.”

-Patricia Kelleher, HCA Executive Director

Statement from the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC):

“NAHC has long supported reforms that increase access to health care for all in the United States and supports health delivery reforms and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility. The ACA rightly shifts the focus of care from inpatient services and institutional care to the community setting, which home health agencies and hospices have effectively served for decades.

NAHC believes that the Affordable Care Act can and should be improved. Accordingly, NAHC will continue to work with both Democrats and Republicans to improve the legislation. NAHC will ask that its implementation date be delayed for two years so that states have the time to prepare for implementation, including the creation of exchanges. This delay will also save approximately $200 billion, which can be applied to deficit reduction, extending the SGR “doc fix” and avoiding the need for any further cuts to Medicare. NAHC will continue to argue that home health care has been cut disproportionately and will oppose the imposition of copayments or additional cuts. NAHC believes that a good case can be made for expanding the scope of Medicare home health services to reduce hospitalization costs and improve services for the 5 percent of Americans who are responsible for 50 percent of total U.S. health care costs.”

-Val Halamandaris, NAHC President

Here are other statements from the following organizations:

And statements from political leaders:

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CMS’ Hospice Quality Reporting Data Training Webinars Available

Video files and Q&A from the CMS Hospice Quality Reporting Data Collection Training webinars conducted in April are now available. There are two zip files located under Related Links on the Hospice Quality Reporting Spotlight Section webpage. One zip file contains four versions of the structural measure training videos and the other zip file contains four versions of the NQF #0209 measure training videos. There are four versions of each section of the training so hospices may choose to view either captioned or uncaptioned versions using either MP4 or Windows Media Video. The Q&A are located in the Downloads section on the same page.

ACA Mandate Ruled Constitutional

In Plain English: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn’t comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.

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CMS Releases Updated Information about PECOS

Are your ordering/referring  physicians enrolled in PECOS?

On June 20th CMS released a revised MLN Matters article with updated information regarding PECOS and Phase 2 of the Ordering/Referring Physician Requirements.

During Phase 2, Medicare will deny Part A HHA claims that fail the ordering/referring provider edits. CMS has not announced a date when the edits for Phase 2 will become active. CMS will give the provider community at least 60 days notice prior to turning on these edits. Physicians and others who are eligible to order and refer items or services need to establish their Medicare enrollment record (PECOS).

It is possible that it could take 45-60 days, sometimes longer, for Medicare enrollment contractors to process enrollment applications. All enrollment applications, including those submitted over the web, require verification of the information reported. Sometimes, Medicare enrollment contractors may request additional information in order to process the enrollment application.

Waiting too late to begin this process could mean that physicians’ enrollment applications will not be able to be processed prior to the implementation date of Phase 2 of the ordering/referring provider edits. In Phase 2, if the Ordering/Referring Provider does not pass the edits, the claim will be denied.This means that the billing provider will not be paid for the items or services that were furnished based on the order or referral. For more information Click Here

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New Code to Report Date of Death on Medicare Claims

October is months away but be prepared…Effective Oct.1, 2012 Medicare-certified agencies will use occurrence code 55 to indicate a date of death on claims.

The new occurrence code will be used in conjunction with all discharge status codes indicating the patient has expired – 20 (expired), 40 (expired at home), 41 (expired in a medical facility), or 42 (expired – place unknown)

Please note that hospices are not to use discharge status code 20 per Section 30.3 of Chapter 11 of the Medicare Claims Processing Manual. Additional information on the use of code 55 can be found in the MLN Matters and in the Change Request (CR) 7792

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Post Acute Patterns and Reform Possibilities Discussed at Annual Meeting

How and how much Medicare pays for post acute care and where there is room for reform was the subject of the featured presentation at the Alliance’s annual meeting by Al Dobson of the Washington think tank Dobson/DaVanzo.  The analysis was part of  the Clinically Appropriate and Cost‐Effective Placement (CACEP) Project, which D/D has been engaged in on behalf of the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (AHHQI).  According to Dobson, the data present a powerful case for rethinking the role of home health not only for patients leaving hospitals, but for deterring hospitalizations for patients residing in communities.    “The home health community has recognized that it is more cost‐effective than facility‐based settings,” said Dobson,  “but until now, has lacked the data analyses to support anecdotal evidence.”

One of the study’s findings is that of those patients referred for some form of post acute care, 38% are referred for home care; but these patients represent less than 30% of post acute payments.  Dobson also presented data on the range of patient pathways following an acute stay suggesting that globally paid providers and bundled demonstrations are going to take a hard look at these with an eye toward both costs and outcomes and with a goal of  simplification.

The CACEP study has now produced three working papers, all of which are on the AHHQI website,  free of charge.

Dual Eligible Services Demo RFR Now Available

The state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) has released the Request for Responses relative to the demonstration project to integrate care for dually eligible individuals.

The RFR is a solicitation for potential Integrated Care Organizations, or ICO’s, that will manage the integration of services and payment for dual eligibles aged 21-64. The Home Care Alliance is holding a special event for all agencies interested in this initiative. Please see the event in our Calendar section titled “Building Partnerships with Managed Care Plans for Dual Eligible Care” where special guest speakers will educate attendees on the demonstration and how agencies can play a key role. Potential ICO’s have also been invited for discussion and networking.

For those interested in viewing the  solicitation and corresponding materials, the instructions are below:

1)  In your browser, enter the URL for the Commonwealth’s procurement web page: www.comm-pass.com.

2)  Near the bottom of the page, click on the hyperlink that reads: “Search for Solicitations.”

3)  When the Search page comes up, scroll down to the section that says “Search by Specific Criteria” and in the document number box, enter the following: 12CBEHSDUALSICORFR.

4)  The Search result will appear as a hyperlink at the top of the new page. It should read: “There is 1 solicitation(s) found that match your search criteria.”  Click on this sentence and it will take you to the Comm-PASS listing for this solicitation.

5)  Click on “view” (the eyeglasses on the right) and you will get the summary page for the Request for Responses for Integrated Care Organizations.

6)   Click on the blue folder-type tab called “Specifications” and you will see the RFR documents and appendices that have been posted for this topic. In addition, the required forms that Respondents to the RFR will need to provide are available under the “Forms and Terms” tab.  To view the documents, click on the eyeglasses to the right of the title of each document,  .

The documents will also be posted shortly on our duals demonstration website, www.mass.gov/masshealth/duals, under “Information for Organizations Interested in Serving as ICOs.”

Responses to the RFR will be due to MassHealth by 4:00 PM (EDT), July 30, 2012.

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