MeHI Hosting Free Regional Health IT Meetings

The Massachusetts e-Health Institute (MeHI) is hosting free regional meetings to help attendees keep up-to-date on how they can gain the benefits of connected EHRs and the Massachusetts programs to support their adoption and use.

The sessions will include information about how MeHI, the Mass HIway and others are helping providers comply with Chapter 224 requirements for physician licensure and Stage 2 Meaningful Use.

The workshop will take place in Worcester on November 4th and will run from 8:00am to 11:30am. The event is free, but registration is required. More information on registration and the agenda for the event are available here.

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CMS Posts Clarification of the Definition “Confined to Home”

On October 18th, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released Change Request 8444Home Health Clarification of Benefit Policy Manual Language on Confined to Home.  This Change Request requires Medicare contractors to be aware of the clarification of the definition “confined to the home” as stated in the revised section 30.1.1 of Chapter 7 of the “Medicare Benefit Policy Manual”. In addition, CMS removed vague terms, such as “generally speaking”, to ensure the definition is clear and specific. CMS has also release a MLN Matters for provider reference. The implementation date for this clarification is November 19th, 2013

CMS is amending its policy manual as follows:

For purposes of the statute, an individual shall be considered “confined to the home” (homebound) if the following two criteria are met:


The patient must either:

Because of illness or injury, need the aid of supportive devices such as crutches, canes, wheelchairs, and walkers; the use of special transportation; or the assistance of another person in order to leave their place of residence


Have a condition such that leaving his or her home is medically contraindicated.

If the patient meets one of the Criteria-One conditions, then the patient must ALSO meet two additional requirements defined in Criteria-Two below.


There must exist a normal inability to leave home;


Leaving home must require a considerable and taxing effort.


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Advocacy Alert: Out-of-State MD Orders Legislation

A state legislative priority of the Home Care Alliance will be considered by the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health at their hearing on October 29th in hearing room B-1 of the State House.

The bill is S.1042, An Act to allow out-of-state physicians to order home care in the Commonwealth, and would allow an out-of-state physician in a bordering state to order home care services for a resident of Massachusetts.

Under the bill, the out-of-state physician will not be required to obtain a license form the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine. However, the Massachusetts home health agency will obtain and keep documentation that the out-of-state physician’s license is in good standing. The home health referral must also be the result of an in-person examination. The legislation is intended to remove a significant barrier to home based services by increasing access to physicians and specialists for residents living on or near a border with a neighboring state, those with vacation homes in other states, and those traveling in other states.

Any agencies or advocates interested in submitting written comments or testifying in person can contact James Fuccione at HCA.

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Private Care Members Survey Open

survey_clipartIn order to help us identify needs and set our priorities for the coming year, the Alliance is asking its Private Care members to participate in our special Private Care Survey.  The survey asks 15 questions concerning priorities, benefits of membership, and the Private Care Guide.

The more input we have from our Private Care members, the better we can serve.  Please respond by October 23.

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Government Shutdown Delays Quarterly OASIS Q&As

Due to the government shutdown, the CMS OASIS Quarterly Q&As will not be released on October 16, 2013 as previously expected. As soon as the government reopens for business, the Q&A release will be rescheduled and the HCA will post the results in our Update

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CMS Issues HHA Reporting Requirements- CR-8441

HHA Reporting Requirements for the Certifying Physician and the Physician Who Signs POC

CMS has issued Change Request 8441 which instructs home health agencies to report the NPI and name of the physician who certifies the patient for home health services and to also report the NPI and name of the physician who signs the POC. CMS is instructing agencies that both the attending physician and the other physician fields should be completed even if the certifying physician is the same as the physician who signed the plan of care. The additional reporting requirements do not go into effect until July 1, 2014.

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