The Alliance Revamps Its Advocacy Action Center

The Alliance’s redesigned Advocacy Action Center makes it easier for members to communicate with their elected officials on the pressing issues facing their agencies.

HCA CapitolFor the first time in many years, the Alliance has redesigned its Advocacy Action Center website, offering members an enhanced advocacy experience so they can easily communicate with their elected officials on the pressing issues facing their agencies. This  post will highlight some of the key changes so that you are prepared to take action and make a difference!

Main-Page Scrolling Advocacy Feature

The main Advocacy Action Center page now features a scrolling banner of key advocacy initiatives that the Alliance and its members are working on. The banner has a functioning link which you can click on to bring you directly to the action center to quickly send an email to your elected official.

Main-Page Buttons

Under the scrolling banner, you will see three buttons linking to sub-pages. This organizes the Advocacy Action Center into three easily accessible topics: Legislative Priorities, Testimony/Comments, and Facts & Figures. Note: The Facts & Figures sub-page is currently being updated.

Legislative Priorities Sub-Page

Among the biggest of changes, is our newly designed Legislative Priorities page. For the first time, members now have a centralized landing page which organizes all of the Alliance’s legislative priorities in one place. You’ll see the page is split in half, organized by State and Federal priorities.

You’ll also see that each legislative issue has a brief overview of the issue and the solution that HCA supports. Underneath each blurb are links to download the fact sheets for, or take action on, the issue!

We hope that you will find our new advocacy center easier to use so that you can engage with your elected officials, while focusing on running your agency!

Mobile Integrated Health and Community EMS: An Update

At the most recent HCA of MA Board of Directors meeting, Scott Cluett, Director of the DPH Office of Emergency Medical Services provided an update on the role out of Mobile Integrated Health and Community EMS in MA. Both programs were created by a 2015 act of the MA legislature, following a trend in many states to use EMS personnel to deliver care outside of the emergency transport role. Applications for MIH programs were released in December 2018, with a few coming online mid 2019. MIH programs must, in their applications: “identify and validate one or more gaps in service delivery using data and a corresponding community health needs assessment. Each application must also describe how the proposed MIH program will address identified gaps in service delivery and provide improvements in quality, access, and cost effectiveness, an increase in patient satisfaction, improvement in patients’ quality of life, and an increase in interventions that promote health equity, including cultural and linguistic competencies…”Coordination of care is explicitly required with MIH applicants either having named health care partners or a plan for primary care coordination.

Community EMS programs must be founded in partnership with a local municipality and focus on prevention if illness or injury. So far 11 cities and towns have launched programs with the most common services offered being fire burn prevention and education, home safety evaluations, sharps awareness (and at least in one community sharps disposal) and naloxone training.

The change in state law that allows EMS personnel to treat in lieu of transfer is just beginning to be understood. How it may be incorporated into home care and hospice patient care management remains to be seen. Cluett’s short presentation, along with the pertinent regulations, can be found here.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Full 2019 HR Management Conference Agenda Announced!

HCA will host an HR Management Half-Day Conference on Tuesday, October 29 at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. This conference is an excellent resource for HR Managers, CEOs, COOs, and Clinical Directors.

HCA will host an HR Management Half-Day Conference on Tuesday, October 29 at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. This conference is an excellent resource for HR Managers, CEOs, COOs, and Clinical Directors. Topics will include the following:

  • Attracting a Talented Workforce, Sheri Heller, PHR, SHRM-CP, Senior HR Advisor MassPay HR & Services
    Attracting and keeping talented employees in today’s job market is more difficult than ever. Learn about best practices to ensure successful talent acquisition efforts that will lead to a high-performing workforce. This session will include topics on talent sourcing vs. recruiting; finding the right talent pool; building your employer brand; the candidate experience; and creating the perfect job ad.
  • Discrimination Law Issues for the Home Care Industry, Layla Taylor, Esq. Partner, Sullivan Hayes & Quinn
    Employment discrimination laws have been established to prevent discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, physical disability, and age. Learn from Taylor the important key points relating to patient choice and anti-discrimination case law for your employees. Topics such as employee religious and disabiliaty accommodations to vaccinations will be covered.
  • The Step-by-Step HR Department Checklist, Julie Brinkman, COO, Hireology
    Whether you have a staff of 5 or 500, clear HR policies and consistent processes are essential to success on the people side of your business. This presentation will review a comprehensive HR checklist developed by Hireology and BambooHR designed to help home care agencies establish a new HR function or improve the HR systems and initiatives that are already in place in your agency. This checklist includes key elements such as an overview of important HR policies and processes, recruitment best practices to attract quality candidates, and tips for developing and maintaining a successful HR team.
  • Home Care Alliance Workforce Initiatives, HCA of MA Staff
    The HCA Board has identified Workforce Development as a critical priority issue under its current Strategic Plan. A Board working group had identified a number of initiatives for the Alliance and Foundation to expand our member support on workforce issues, addressing staff development at all levels: executive, management, supervisory, and all levels of direct care. This session will review results to date on some of the projects already in progress, preview future objectives, and solicit member input on new initiatives to help ensure a skilled and motivated workforce for the future.

Registration is only $50/Person for HCA of MA Members!

Download the Brochure/ Registration Flyer Here

Celebrate Your Stars! Nominations are Now Open for Our Time to Shine Innovation & Star Awards!

Celebrate Home Care Month by nominating your best and brightest staff members for the Innovation and Star Awards!

Join us during Home Care Month for the Alliance’s annual celebration of innovation and excellence which will return to the Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy on November 19, 2019.

Nominate your innovative programs and star employees to be recognized during this celebration of the BEST in home care in Massachusetts!

Innovations Awards

The Innovations Awards recognize programs, products, or operational changes that enhance the quality or outcomes of patient care, improve community well-being; drive efficiency in operations within the agency or the health care system; or enhance staff productivity or satisfaction.

Star Awards

The Star Awards celebrate the exceptional accomplishments of the everyday heroes in our midst who make incredible differences in the lives of their patients/clients and their families. A STAR award brings well-deserved recognition for both the agency and the individual.

Nominations are due September 27, 2019!

Thank you for all you do to celebrate excellence at your agency!

2019 Private Care Management Conference Agenda Announced

2019 Private Care Management Conference Agenda Announced!

Labor Management Relations, Robert Brooks, Labor & Employment Partner, Verrill Dana
Learn strategies to develop an effective plan of action when dealing with the current labor laws. This session will review recent and ongoing developments relating to handling your employees; such as, hiring, firing, discipline, and payment of wages. Additionally, hear more on the new Massachusetts Home Care Worker Registry Act and how it impacts your organization.


Recruiting, Onboarding & Educating the Caregiver Workforce of the Future,Helen Adeosun, EdM, Co-Founder & CEO of CareAcademy
Educating caregivers is the number one health intervention for today’s home care agency. Learn staffing best practices to help find new caregivers and educate existing caregivers to meet the growing needs of clients in their care. Attendees will learn several actionable steps that agency owners and management can take today to ensure that their caregivers have the knowledge they need that a structured training program can offer, and the positive impact for retention, home care ROI and business.  


Preventing Verbal Abuse of Workers: The Safe Home Care Project,Margaret M. Quinn, ScD, CIH, Professor and Director, Safe Home Care Project, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences, UMass Lowell
Previous studies have found that violent behaviors, including verbal abuse as well as physical assault, by patients towards health care workers is common and leads to injuries, illness, burnout and job turnover.  The Safe Home Care Project team conducted a survey of nearly 1,000 Massachusetts home care aides and found that about 1 in 4 experienced verbal abuse from clients within the past year. The study identified home care conditions under which verbal abuse was most likely to occur and recommendations for prevention that can improve safety for both aides and their clients.  


Key Metrics to Motivate Staff, Improve Retention and Promote Growth, Kunu Kaushal, Senior Solutions Home Care
Learn from the Senior Solutions Home Care founder and CEO Kunu Kaushal who grew his Tennessee-based home care business from zero to $18+ million in nine years, with 800+ clients and 10 locations. The first session will share actual usable metrics, and formulas to help operate your agency at peak performance. Areas covered will include financials, operations, staffing, and recruitment. Move beyond revenue metrics to incentivize staff and provide more clarity around roles related to scheduling, recruitment and human resources. This simple, budget-driven model uses national metrics and KPIs that consider salaries and profitability for setting goals, defining responsibilities and motivating your staff.  


Building Your Leadership TeamKunu Kaushal, Senior Solutions Home Care
In the second session you will learn his culture “secrets”, what makes a company’s culture great, how employee engagement can impact that culture. Kunu will share how he managed to build an attractive work culture, recognize when it’s time to let someone go, how to manage accountability, and more. Additionally, Learn how a great leadership team is built, including how to identify when it’s time to add to the team, ways to divide roles in order to maximize the team’s efficiency and key skill sets to identify when hiring.

Download the Brochure Here

Registration:
$99 – Members
$199 – Non-Members

Advocate and Engage on PDGM

There are many ways that home health agencies will need to prepare their agencies for the radical changes coming from PDGM in January 2020. The Alliance is here to help.

Last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its proposed rule for 2019 home health payment rates and policy changes, which includes significant provisions that will impact your organization, staff, and the patients you serve.

Between now and when the Patient Driven Grouping Model (PDGM) goes into effect on January 1, 2020, there are multiple ways that home health agencies will need to prepare their agencies for the radical change. (See Coding and Billing webinars coming in September, at the bottom of this page) At the same time, home care must take action to mitigate the impact of what PDGM will look like and how it will impact organizational viability.

Home care’s collective advocacy efforts have undeniably made a difference in the past, including putting a stop (at least in Massachusetts) to the Pre-Claim Review Demonstration and scrapping the Home Health Groupings Model thanks to more than 1,200 comments submitted to CMS last year. The more that CMS and lawmakers hear from home health professionals, the better our chances are at reducing the severe cuts that accompany PDGM in its proposed form.

As currently proposed, the 2020 rule will:

  • Reduce the Medicare base rate by 8.01% next year, which amounts to a $1.298 billion reduction in home health payments in 2020 alone. CMS proposes the reduction to account for anticipated changes in provider behavior that are unrelated to changes in patients served or services delivered that increase payments. This newly proposed “behavioral adjustment” reduction is up from the 6.42% reduction that CMS initially proposed, and the reduction would start before any actual behavioral changes occur.
  • Phasing out RAPS over 2020 with total elimination of RAPs in 2021. Next year, CMS proposed reducing RAPs from 60/50% to 20% for existing home health agencies (HHAs), while new agencies would get no RAP. CMS claims that RAPs create fraud risks.
  • Starting in 2021, a Notice of Admission (NOA) must be submitted Notice of Admission must be submitted within five days of the start of care. For every day late, CMS plans to reduce base-rate reimbursements for the unit of care.

The Solution: Pass S.433/H.R.2573

This month, Congress is in recess and back in the states, which presents a pivotal opportunity for home health industry professionals to engage with lawmakers about a key legislative priority – the Home Health Payment Innovation Act (S.433/H.R.2573).

This legislation prohibits CMS’s ability to adjust payment based on “behavioral assumptions” as opposed to observed evidence of behavioral changes, thus rescinding the proposed 8.01% adjustment.
Additionally, this important legislation would:

  1. Achieve full budget neutrality over the period of 2020-2029.
  2. Require behavioral adjustments based on real, actual changes in provider behavior in response to the new payment model.
  3. Permit a phase-in of rate adjustments (up or down) when an annual adjustment would be greater than 2 percent. However, the phase-in would operate to ensure full budget neutrality by 2029.

Email your Members of Congress

It’s not too late to get members of Congress informed and engaged on this important legislation. You can send an email directly from HCA’s member advocacy center.

At this point, Congressman Jim McGovern is the only member of the MA delegation signed on as a cosponsor. We must do better.

Fact Sheet: Senate 433 & HR 2573

Advocate in Person

Join home health industry advocates next month in Washington, D.C. for The Council of State Home Care Associations’ Third Annual Public Policy Summit and Advocacy Day!  On September 9, participate in a full-day summit featuring speakers including Hillary Loeffler, Director of the CMS’ Division of Home Health & Hospice.  On September 10, we be on Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress to convey the critical need to pass S.433/H.R.2357.

Program details can be found here and registration information can be found at The Council’s website.

Submit Comments to CMS by September 9

Click here to submit comments to CMS in response to the 2020 proposed rule by 5:00 PM ET on Monday, September 9, 2019.

HCA and other industry organizations will provide more thorough comments on other problematic areas of the proposed rule. As previously stated, there is strength in numbers, so the more business-focused comments from providers – both large and small – are critical to giving CMS a full and clear picture of how devastating PDGM will be should it be implemented as proposed. Watch Update for draft comments.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

CMS Proposes Changes to HH Quality Reporting Program

Proposed Changes Could Result in Another Revision to OASIS in 2021! How will this impact you? HCA is looking for your input.

CMS is proposing several changes to the Home Health Quality Reporting Program (HHQRP) in the CY 2020 Home Health Proposed Rule.

The Rule proposes to eliminate one measure (OASIS Item M1242, Frequency of Pain Interfering with Patient’s Activity of Movement), add two new measures, and add several new Standardized Patient Assessment Data Elements (SPADEs) to the Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) in CY 2021. The revised OASIS for 2021 will be very different from the current OASIS data items collected by your clinical staff.

As required by the IMPACT Act, the proposed two new measures are:

    1. Transfer of Health Information to the Provider-Post-Acute Care (PAC)
    2. Transfer of Health Information to the Patient-Post-Acute Care (PAC)

These measures are designed to improve patient safety by ensuring that the patient’s medication list is accurate and complete at the time of transfer or discharge. These proposed measures also supposed to fulfill CMS’s strategic initiatives to promote effective communication and coordination of care, specifically in the Meaningful Use Initiative area of transfer of health information and operability.

In addition, CMS is proposing to adopt several standardized patient assessments (SPADEs) to the OASIS data set. CMS plans to implement three assessment screens for mental status, confusion/delirium, and mood. The special service, treatments, and intervention assessment require the agency to identify the services and treatment the patient is receiving and if they are taking any high-risk drugs. The assessment item for medical conditions and comorbidities checks for pain during specific activities and checks for hearing and vision impairments. Click click here to see the proposed Item Mockup for the “Transfer of Health” and the “SPADE”

According to the National Association of Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), the organization sees two possible approaches in addressing the proposed changes to the HH QRP.

    1. Recommend that CMS stagger the implementation of the assessment items over several HHQRP years. However, this would result in more iterations of the OASIS assessment tool, and any changes to the assessment tool carry its own burdens and costs; or
    2. Support the new assessment items with the condition that CMS issues a draft version of the revised OASIS data set no less than six months before the implementation date.

Please let the Alliance know how these changes will impact you.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.