2017 New England Home Care & Hospice Conference and Trade Show Speaker Proposal Deadline Approaching!


With the holidays around usNEHCC-2015-Logosm, the NEHCC committee wanted to provide the gift of a deadline extension! To date there have been many qualified and appealing submissions but it is no longer too late to submit your own presentation!

The NEHHC welcomes Speaker Presentation applications from a diverse audience of home health and healthcare experts.


The New England Home Care & Hospice Conference and Trade Show is designed for senior and mid-level administrative and clinical staff. The conference features multiple keynote sessions, workshops, and intensive programs. Topics are designed to meet the needs of all agencies, including Medicare-certified, private duty, and hospices. The New England Home Care & Hospice Conference and Trade Show is the region’s premier event for home care and hospice agencies. It’s hosted by the six New England state home care Associations, which collectively represent nearly 400 organizations. This coming year, the conference returns to the Radisson Hotel Manchester May 16 – 18, 2017.

Go to www.NEHCC.com for more information about the conference!





House Releases FY17 Budget Plan and Rearranges Elder Services Funding

With a $39.4 billion FY17 state budget plan, the House Committee on Ways & Means kick-started the legislature’s budget deliberations.

As always, a significant portion of that total – $15.4 billion in proposed spending – is allocated for MassHealth programs. In their executive summary, House budget writers noted that MassHealth spending growth has been limited to 5%. They also mention that their budget plan “supports enhancements to the eligibility systems, caseload management and program integrity efforts, especially in the area of long term care, which ensures that our significant investments are being well spent, which is crucial to providing healthcare to some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents.”ma budget pie chart pic

That “support” could be part of the $8 million increase in the EOHHS administration line item (400-0300) as it does not show up in the line item specifically set aside for audits of MassHealth providers and utilization review (4000-0301). That item was actually set by the House at $413,000 less than FY16 spending.

Meanwhile, the House restored the Enhanced Home Care Services Program (ECOP) that Governor Charlie Baker consolidated into other items. With ECOP funded at $74.3 million, it comes in at $3.7 million above the FY16 spending level. That leaves some items noticeably lower than Governor Baker’s budget plan, but it also falls below what the state spent in FY16.

For example:

  • Elder Home Care Purchased Services is $3.1 million below FY16 spending
  • Elder Home Care Case Management and Administration is $2.6 million below FY16 spending
  • Elder Nutrition (Meals on Wheels) is more than $746,000 below what was even set in the FY16 budget

Other newsworthy items from the House Ways & Means budget proposal include the following:

  • $250 million assessment on hospitals that will support new MassHealth accountable care organization (ACO) incentive payments, which the Hospital Association supports with certain conditions.
  • $5.7M for the Supportive Senior Housing Program, an item not included in budgets of previous years.
  • $15 million above the Governor’s proposed spending for Nursing Home Supplemental Rates.
  • $4.5 million above FY16 spending for Elder Protective Services.

The entire House Ways & Means budget can be found here. The Home Care Alliance will be working with State Reps to sponsor amendments creating a home care licensure commission, increasing MassHealth reimbursement for home health aides, and for EOHHS to conduct a full review of home health reimbursement. The Alliance will be fully partnering with other organizations to push a homemaker wage increase, expanding income eligibility for elder home care services, and other items.

More information on advocacy efforts will be released soon and the budget items will be a focus of HCA’s lobby day at the state house on April 28th. Contact James Fuccione at the Alliance for details.


Return to www.thinkhomecare.org


Home Care Impacted by Governor’s Budget Cuts

With a new Governor coming into office in January and a $329 million budget shortfall, the Patrick Administration was forced to make reductions to close the deficit.

A large chunk of those cuts came at the expense of MassHealth, which makes up slightly more than half of the state’s $36.5 billion fiscal year 2015 budget. MassHealth officials contacted the Home Care Alliance to report that $68.5 million in reductions had to come from MassHealth alone and that a rate increase for home health agencies is no longer on the table for FY15.

The Home Care Alliance had seen hints that there finally would be a review of MassHealth home health care rates after years of being passed over. Rates were frozen in 2007 and one of the Patrick Administration’s first cuts were from home health services past 60 calendar days of care. The rate inexplicably dropped by 20 percent for patients who require longer-term home health care and that cut has not been revisited.

Also cut was $1.52 million from the Elder Affairs’ “Home Care Purchased Services” line item that will go into effect on December 1st at which time the waiting list for Aging Service Access Point (ASAP) services could go back into effect. Officials from Elder Affairs indicated the lowest priority level would be the only one impacted, which preserves those in the greatest need for care.

The bright spot is that the Home Care Alliance’s efforts to gain MassHealth reimbursement for telehealth provided by home health agencies is not impacted and plans to implement rates and guidelines is going on as planned. Moreover, home health rates are, more or less, remaining status quo and are not being reduced further. Nursing Home Supplemental Rates, for example, were slashed by $9.1 million.

A rate review for home health services remains a top priority and the HCA will continue to work with the legislature and MassHealth on improving payment.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Six Days Until the New England Conference

NEHCC Banner

There’s just six days left to register for the New England Home Care Conference & Trade Show.

The NEHCC is the region’s biggest home care event, with hundreds of home care professionals attending, 20 workshops, three intensive programs, dozens of exhibitors, and six of the best keynote speakers in the industry.

The conference begins a week from today, and continues through May 30.  The venue this year is the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, located in downtown Boston, just a block from the historic Common.

Registration begins at just $275 for members for two days and is $345 for the full conference.  To attend, either register online or download, complete, and fax/email the brochure.

Highlights this year include:

  • Separate tracks for Home Health & Reform, Clinical Compliance, Management/HR, Finance & Technology, and Private Duty;
  • Keynote addresses from Karen Dillon, Jeannee Parker Martin, Richard Lopez, Michael Chernew, and Kathy Duckett;
  • Nearly 70 exhibitors including medical suppliers, software vendors, telephone services, and insurance providers.

Don’t forget to follow the conference’s tweet @NEHCCTS.  Besides having the latest updates on the conference — both before and during the conference, we’ll also be running contents through the account.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Register for the New England Home Care Conference May 28 – 30!

Join colleagues from throughout the region for the best home health event of the year! Come to the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston for the 4th annual New England Home Care Conference & Trade Show on May 28, 29 and 30. It will feature fabulous keynoters, dozens of informative workshops and 2-hour intensives that will give you new ideas and insight to take back to your agency.

To register, you may either download the conference brochure or register online.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

ODF for Home Health and Hospice, March 5th

The next Home Health, Hospice & DME Open Door Forum is scheduled for Wednesday,, March 5, 2014 at 2:00 PM

To participate by phone:

Dial: 1-800-837-1935 & Reference Conference ID: 71246014

Proposed Agenda

1. Opening Remarks

2. Announcements & Updates

  • Hospice and Part D
  • Hospice Claims Reporting
  • Hospice & CAHS
  • Hospice Quality Update
  • FY2015 and FY2016 reporting cycles
  • Hospice CAHPS survey
  • Home Health Quality Update

For details visit the ODF Website

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

CMS Presents Jimmo v. Sebelius Manual Update

CMS is conducting a call on program manual updates related to the Jimmo v.Sebelius law suit on the CMS MLN Connects,  Thursday, December 19th at  2-3pm ET.  The program title is Program Manual Updates to Clarify SNF, IRF, HH, and OPT Coverage Pursuant to Jimmo v. Sebelius

To Register: Visit MLN Connects™ Upcoming Calls. Space may be limited, register early.


  • Clarification of Medicare’s longstanding policy on coverage for skilled services
  • No “Improvement Standard” is to be applied in determining Medicare coverage for maintenance claims that require skilled care
  • Enhanced guidance on appropriate documentation

On January 24, 2013, the U. S. District Court for the District of Vermont approved a settlement agreement in the case of Jimmo v. Sebelius, involving skilled care for the inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF), skilled nursing facility (SNF), home health (HH), and outpatient therapy (OPT) benefits. “Nothing in this Settlement Agreement modifies, contracts, or expands the existing eligibility requirements for receiving Medicare coverage.”

The goal of this settlement agreement is to ensure that claims are correctly adjudicated in accordance with existing Medicare policy, so that Medicare beneficiaries receive the full coverage to which they are entitled. The settlement agreement sets forth a series of specific steps for CMS to undertake, including issuing clarifications to existing program guidance and new educational material on this subject.

As part of the educational campaign, this MLN Connects™ Call will provide an overview of the clarifications to the Medicare program manuals. These clarifications reflect Medicare’s longstanding policy that when skilled services are required in order to provide reasonable and necessary care to prevent or slow further deterioration, coverage cannot be denied based on the absence of potential for improvement or restoration. In this context, coverage of skilled nursing and skilled therapy services “…does not turn on the presence or absence of a beneficiary’s potential for improvement, but rather on the beneficiary’s need for skilled care.” Portions of the revised manual provisions also include additional material on the role of appropriate documentation in facilitating accurate coverage determinations for claims involving skilled care. Target Audience
Skilled Nursing Facilities; Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities; Home Health Agencies; and providers and suppliers of therapy services under the Outpatient Therapy Benefit

Home Health ODF: Ask-the-Contractor Teleconference

National Government Service’s  Home Health Open Door Forum: Ask-the-Contractor Teleconference (ACT) is scheduled for Tuesday, December 10, 2013 from 1:30-3:00 pm  This teleconference will provide updates to the home health provider community and a forum for questions and answers. The ACT is an opportunity to speak directly to the contractor, so please have your questions ready for the contractors to answer!

Date: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Time: 1:30-3:00 p.m. ET

Register for session

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

In Choosing A Healthcare Provider, It’s “Your Care, Your Choice”

Last week, the Alliance published its “Keeping It Legal” brochure to educate health care providers about lawful referral practices.

This week, we’re following up with a companion guide on the subject, designed for patients and families titled “Your Care, Your Choice,” which reminds patients of their right to choose their own providers, and empowers them to report facilities that attempt to violate these rights.

To download the brochure, click the down arrow button immediately above this text.  Please feel free to distribute it to everyone who can benefit from it.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Home Care & Telemedicine

NPR’s Talk of the Nation had a lengthy segment on the growing use of telemedicine, especially in home care.  In addition discussing the benefits to patients with limited mobility or access to specific services they need and Medicare’s current refusal to reimburse for remote doctor consultations, the segment included a letter from the Alliance’s own James Fuccione, starting at 19’09”:

[HOST NEAL] CONAN: Here’s an email question that has some aspects of that that I wanted to ask you about, this from James [Fuccione] in Massachusetts: The Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts is advocating for Mass Health, [the] state Medicaid program, reimbursement of telehealth used by home health agencies.

Many agencies part of our association use telehealth already because it improves their quality and efficiency. They use wireless weight scales, blood oximeter, blood pressure cuffs, et cetera, and depending on their condition. So in other words you can collect data over these same circuits.


CONAN: Do you use that as well?

EDISON: Yes, so we do a lot of telehome care and remote monitoring here in Missouri. One of our large home health agencies in the southwest part of the state is probably the leader in that area. One of the challenges, of course, is the inter-operability of the health information systems. So as health information technology matures, and the companies become more inter-operable, they can talk to each other and transmit information easily.

You know, as that gets – as that whole industry matures, this is going to get easier and easier so that instead of the home health agency monitoring those patients, actually the patients – patient-centered health care home or medical home, their actual health providers would be monitoring those patients on a daily basis.

You may download the entire show by clicking here.

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