CMS Releases Final Home Health Rule, Adds Discharge Planning Proposal

CMS published the Final Rule for Medicare Home Health PPS and VBP for CY 2016 to its website yesterday.  The official notice will be published in the Federal Register on November 5.

CMS also announced a “Discharge Planning Proposed Rule,” that is estimated to cost home health agencies nationwide about $283 million. The proposal, which the Home Care Alliance will fully analyze, will revise discharge planning processes for hospitals, long-term care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and critical access hospitals in addition to home health.

In terms of changes made to the Home Health Final Rule, CMS pulled back slightly regarding both payment and in the Value Based Purchasing Program. Below is an analysis from HCA staff:

Value Based Purchasing:

The final rule makes minor changes to the VBP system from the proposed rule.  The same nine states (including MA) are selected, with all agencies in the state included in the VBP system.  VBP will begin January 1, 2016, with a 2015 baseline year on performance, with all agencies within each selected state competing against each other for payment adjustments tied to quality performance measures.

CMS made a small concession to industry concerns that the proposed risk corridor was too broad, and reduced the maximum payment reduction in the first year of the VBP from the proposed 5 percent to 3 percent. The payment adjustments will be increased incrementally over the course of the model with: 

  • a maximum payment adjustment of  3-percent (upward or downward) in 2018,
  • a maximum payment adjustment of 5-percent (upward or downward) in 2019,
  • a maximum payment adjustment of 6-percent (upward or downward) in 2020,
  • a maximum payment adjustment of 7-percent (upward or downward) in2021, and
  • a maximum payment adjustment of 8-percent (upward or downward) in 2022.

CMS dropped 4 process measures and 1 of the new reporting measures. The final set of 24 measures includes 10 outcome measures, 6 process measures, 5 HHCAHPS, and 3 New Measures.

Outcome Measures

  • Improvement in Pain Interfering with Activity-M1242
  • Improvement in Dyspnea- M1400
  • Improvement in Bathing-M1830
  • Improvement in Bed Transferring-M1850
  • Improvement in Ambulation-Locomotion M1860
  • Prior Functioning ADL/IADL-M1900
  • Improvement in Management of Oral Medications-M2020
  • Discharged to Community-M2420
  • Acute Care Hospitalization: Unplanned Hospitalization during first 60 days of Home Health- (Claims)
  • Emergency Department Use without Hospitalization- (Claims)

Process Measures

  • Influenza Vaccine Data Collection Period: Does this episode of care include any dates on or between October 1 and March 31?-M1041
  • Influenza Immunization Received for Current Flu Season-M1046
  • Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine Ever Received-M1051
  • Reason Pneumococcal vaccine not received-M1056
  • Drug Education on All Medications Provided to Patient/Caregiver during all Episodes of Care-M2015
  • Care Management: Types and Sources of Assistance-M2102

Home Health CAHPS: Satisfaction Survey Measures

  • Care of Patients
  • Communications between Providers and Patients
  • Specific Care Issues
  • Overall rating of home health care
  • Willingness to recommend the agency

New Measures

  • Influenza Vaccination Coverage for Home Health Care Personnel
  • Herpes zoster (Shingles) vaccination: Has the patient ever received the shingles vaccination?
  • Advance Care Plan

CMS has modified the reporting of the New Measures; HHAs will be required to begin reporting data (through a web portal) no later than October 7, 2016, for the period July, 2016, through September, 2016, and quarterly thereafter. As a result, the first quarterly performance report in July, 2016, will not account for any of the New Measures.

CY2016 PPS Rates

Case Mix Weights:  CMS made additional minor changes to the case mix weights based on additional analysis.

Case Mix Adjustment:  In a slight concession to industry comments, CMS is phasing in their proposed 2.88% case mix adjustment over three years instead of the two years they initially proposed.  So the final rule decreases the national, standardized 60-day episode payment amount by 0.97% each year in CY 2016, CY 2017, and CY 2018, instead of 1.44% for just 2016 and 2017. 

Market Basket Update:  The final CY 2016 home health market basket (2.3 percent) combined with the multifactor productivity adjustment (0.4 percentage points) results in a 1.9 percent home health payment update percentage.

Wage Index:  CMS made additional small adjustments to the Wage Index because they used an updated database of hospital wage data.  The final wage index is slightly lower than the proposed index for every geographic region in MA except Berkshire County.

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