RFA Available for ‘Money Follows the Person’ Transition Coordination

The team managing the Money Follows the Person Demonstration released the following announcement regarding RFA’s to provide “transition coordination.” Any agencies interested are encouraged to either apply or at least become familiar with some of the community supports and services involved in the demonstration.


The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) has issued an RFA to contract with multiple qualified entities to provide MFP transition coordination to MassHealth Members enrolled in the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Demonstration. MFP transition coordination involves the performance of a broad a range of functions that will assist and enable individuals to transition from a nursing facility, long-stay hospital or intermediate care facility for people with intellectual disabilities to a community-setting with supports and services.

To view this document, please follow the directions below:

  • On the Comm-pass Home Page (http://www.Comm-pass.com), click on the “Solicitations” tab.
  • Click on the tab “Browse all Open Solicitations”.
  • Click on the second bullet “By Entity/Department”.
  • Find the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and select by clicking on the check box.
  • On the Department page, Executive Office of Health and Human Services should be the only agency listed.  Click on the Select check box.
  • Scroll down to the procurement: 13MEEHSMFPTRANSITION (“Request for Applications for MFP Transitio …”)
  • Click the eyeglass icon on the right.
  • Click on the “Specifications” tab.


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Guest Post: ICD-10 Preparedness – Where Are You in the Process?

Guest Post by: Joan L. Usher, BS, RHIA, COS-C, ACE

Medicare Certified Home Health Agencies need to implement their ICD-10 preparedness plans now.  This is the single largest change the health care system has seen since the inception of Medicare.  Changing to ICD-10 is not a simple coding change: it impacts every department in the organization.  Follow these 5 steps to develop your agency’s ICD-10 preparedness plan.


Establish a Steering Committee with key players from major departments.  The ease and success of the transition relies heavily on strong leadership support.


Assess the impact on all departments.  This step is crucial in determining which items need to be completed pre-ICD-10, including testing of claim submissions with ICD-10 codes, redesign of EHR screen, or paper documents to capture documentation needed. Consider vendor and payer readiness.  Determine how to operate dual systems, and for how long.  Assess coder’s knowledge of the current coding model.  Assess whether the coding model will work under the increased specificity of ICD-10. Continue reading “Guest Post: ICD-10 Preparedness – Where Are You in the Process?”

Advocacy Alert: Send a Message to Support Home Health Care in Senate Budget

A new advocacy message has been posted on the Home Care Alliance’s Legislative Action Center webpage and is ready to be sent off to state senators to support home health care in the senate’s FY14 budget.

HCA has three priority amendments in the Senate Budget that would create a home health care “certificate of need” process (amendment #517), establish MassHealth reimbursement for home telehealth services (amendment #718), and improve payment for pediatric home health agencies (amendment #593). The Alliance needs emails to senators to gain support for these important amendments so see the new advocacy message, fill out your contact info, and the message will automatically be sent to the senator representing you! It only takes a minute of your time and every email counts.

The Alliance is also supporting three other amendments. One would create an FMAP Trust Fund (#634) that will set up a special fund for payments from the federal government relative to health care reform, rather than having the money go into the state’s General Fund, which is less transparent. The other two amendments HCA supports would provide a rate add-on for personnel providing homemaker and personal care homemaker services to elderly clients (#544) and an amendment to boost funding for pediatric palliative care by $674,000 (#629).

Help advance home care in the state budget and send a message TODAY!

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State Senate Releases FY14 Budget Proposal

The Senate Committee on Ways & Means continued the state budget-making process today by releasing their version of the FY14 budget, which will be debated before the full Senate next week.

The $33.92 billion proposal is a $1.4 billion increase over estimated FY13 spending, but $904.3 million less than what the Governor proposed. The Senate Ways & Means version is also $67.5 million less than what the full House of Representatives approved in their budget last month.

Here are some items of note:

  • $4.5 billion for the MassHealth Managed Care line item – $39.5 million over the final House budget.
  • $2.9 billion for the MassHealth Senior Care line item – $42.5 million over the final House budget.
  • $187.2 million to fully fund the elder home care programs, an additional investment of $6.2M over FY 2013, to eliminate the current waitlist of 1,500 seniors. This includes $98.7 million for Home Care Purchased Services.
  • $10.5 million for Grants to Councils on Aging, increasing support to $8 per elder, marking the highest ever level of state support for councils on aging.
  • $2.1 billion for the MassHealth Fee-for-Service line item – $7.2 million LESS than the final House budget.
  • Level-funding the Pediatric Palliative Care Program.

The Home Care Alliance will again be working with Senators to file three budget amendments to create a home health certificate of need program, establish MassHealth reimbursement of home telehealth, and strengthening pediatric home health.

As the Alliance works over the next few days to submit these amendments, association members and advocates should be on the lookout for “advocacy alerts” with message templates that can be sent to Senate offices. Of course, more information on budget development will be released as it becomes available.

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Home Care & Telemedicine

NPR’s Talk of the Nation had a lengthy segment on the growing use of telemedicine, especially in home care.  In addition discussing the benefits to patients with limited mobility or access to specific services they need and Medicare’s current refusal to reimburse for remote doctor consultations, the segment included a letter from the Alliance’s own James Fuccione, starting at 19’09”:

[HOST NEAL] CONAN: Here’s an email question that has some aspects of that that I wanted to ask you about, this from James [Fuccione] in Massachusetts: The Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts is advocating for Mass Health, [the] state Medicaid program, reimbursement of telehealth used by home health agencies.

Many agencies part of our association use telehealth already because it improves their quality and efficiency. They use wireless weight scales, blood oximeter, blood pressure cuffs, et cetera, and depending on their condition. So in other words you can collect data over these same circuits.


CONAN: Do you use that as well?

EDISON: Yes, so we do a lot of telehome care and remote monitoring here in Missouri. One of our large home health agencies in the southwest part of the state is probably the leader in that area. One of the challenges, of course, is the inter-operability of the health information systems. So as health information technology matures, and the companies become more inter-operable, they can talk to each other and transmit information easily.

You know, as that gets – as that whole industry matures, this is going to get easier and easier so that instead of the home health agency monitoring those patients, actually the patients – patient-centered health care home or medical home, their actual health providers would be monitoring those patients on a daily basis.

You may download the entire show by clicking here.

CMS Releases Hospice Item Set Draft

CMS recently published a  draft version of the Hospice Item Set (HIS) that hospice agencies will be required to collect for patients admitted on or after July 1, 2014.

The HIS has two versions: Admission and Discharge. The admission version needs to be completed within 30 days of admission and CMS estimates that it will take your hospice 19 minutes to gather and input all the information needed to complete. The discharge version of the HIS must be completed within 30 days of discharge and is estimated to take 10 minutes to complete the shorter discharge set.

Information CMS is proposing to collect includes numerous process measures, such as whether the patient was asked about preferences regarding CPR and other life-sustaining treatment, and whether the patient or caregiver was asked about spiritual or existential concerns.

If you have comments concerning the accuracy of the time estimate(s) or suggestions for improving this form, please write to: CMS, 7500 Security Boulevard, Attn: PRA Reports Clearance Officer, Mail Stop C4-26-05, Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850.

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US HHS Releases Data on What Hospitals Charge

The federal office of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have released data on what hospitals across the nation charge for the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays.  Hospitals determine what they will charge for items and services provided to patients and these “charges” are the amount the hospital generally bills for an item or service.

The variance in what hospitals charge both regionally and by procedure is apparent and is already the subject of a story in the New York Times.A press release by HHS highlights the fact that, even within the same geographic area, prices can vary dramatically. For example, the average inpatient hospital charges for services that may be provided to treat heart failure range from a low of $21,000 to a high of $46,000 in Denver, Colo., and from a low of $9,000 to a high of $51,000 in Jackson, Miss.

The Home Care Alliance isolated the state-specific data for Massachusetts here.

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