Home Care Alliance staff and member agencies attended the Visiting Nurse Associations of America’s (VNAA) Public Policy Leadership Conference in the nation’s capital this past week and met with most of the state’s Congressional delegation.
Before and during the trip, the Alliance was able to secure support from eight of the nine US Reps on a letter to CMS voicing concern on case mix cuts and the impending Value-Based Purchasing demonstration. The ninth congressperson may still sign on, but it was still a productive trip where home health agencies from across the country were lobbying on the Physician Face-to-Face Requirement, allowing NP’s and PA’s to sign and certify home health plans of care, expanding palliative care career opportunities and showing the impact of proposed payment cuts.
Much of the activity was documented on the HCA’s Twitter page along with photos of congressional visits. The Alliance will be following up on our meetings and advocacy in DC and will continue to represent our members regarding the CMS proposed rule, Face-to-Face, and other federal issues. The HCA thanks member agencies that attended as well as our supportive Congressional Delegation, particularly Congressman Jim McGovern who co-led the letter to CMS.
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After years of advocacy with the legislature and working collaboratively with MassHealth, the Home Care Alliance proudly testified at a public hearing on proposed remote patient monitoring (RPM) payment rates and regulations this week.
Alliance Legislative and Public Affairs Director James Fuccione commented that reimbursement for RPM will strengthen the ability of home health agencies to carry out their mission of keeping people healthy at home and commended MassHealth for including a broad definition that will allow agencies to be creative in their use of the service. Dana Sheer, NP of Partners Healthcare at Home, also submitted comments in support of RPM and offered recommendations on clarifying language.
The Alliance asked for clarification on a number of points, including whether an “installation/removal” fee of $50 would be paid by MassHealth for both or on each end of the set-up and removal of RPM equipment. HCA suggested that the fee be raised to $75 and paid on both ends. Additionally, the Alliance asked for guidance on how to proceed when multiple patients in the same setting could benefit from RPM services. Comments from the Alliance suggested that RPM could go a long way in assisting patients with behavioral health and substance abuse issues as well.
In his testimony, Mr. Fuccione raised the ongoing concern regarding MassHealth rates for nursing, therapy, and home health aide visits, and urged MassHealth to expedite a review and update of those rates. He noted that the Alliance has had several recent meetings with MassHealth staff focusing on that very subject. However, the hearing was centered on the tele-monitoring proposal and the Home Care Alliance is thrilled to have spearheaded the push for reimbursement.
Massachusetts is one of only a few state Medicaid programs with financial support for RPM, which will be effective this November. MassHealth explained at the hearing that they expect a savings just within the home health program of $1.4 million.
The Alliance’s comments are available here and more updates on any changes MassHealth may make based on our comments will also be sent to member agencies.
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