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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