The Rundown – December

No Time to Waste! Urge Your Member of Congress to Delay CMS’s 2023 Home Health Rate Cuts

While I usually use the first section to cover federal news, this cannot wait. On October 31, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule that will reduce Medicare payments for home health services by $635 million in 2023 and approximately $18 billion over the next decade. It was mandated by Congress in 2018 that CMS develop a payment model that would be “budget neutral”, not one that would reduce funding for home health care by over $18 billion.

Following the release of the final rule, HCA along with the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) re-engaged with the sponsoring offices of The Preserving Access to Home Health Act (S. 4605/H.R. 8581) on refining the legislation to delay CMS from implementing their 2023 home health payment cut for one year, as well as strengthen transparency of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in their rate-setting. Our champions on Capitol Hill are working to substitute this amended language in the negotiations for the year-end package. 

With time running out in the 117th Congress, lawmakers are inching closer to passing a final spending bill to keep the government funded. Home health advocates are pushing hard for a yearlong delay of the 2023 home health payment cut, which would otherwise take effect on January 1, 2023. However, NAHC has informed us that there is significant opposition to delaying these cuts.

We need your help once again and there is no time to spare! 

HCA members sent over 200 emails to members of the Massachusetts delegation urging their support ofS. 4605/H.R. 8581Your continuous outreach resulted in Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern and helped to persuade CMS from backing off their initially proposed 7% rate cut. We must continue our aggressive outreach in order to persuade Congress to include the revised language in the year-end budget!

Helping out is as easy as clicking on the this ACTION ALERT link, filing in your information which will send a pre-written email to your member of Congress urging them to support a year-long delay (2023) of CMS’s proposed home health rate cut and call for added transparency in CMS rate-setting practices.

It is so easy thatmy 6-month-old golden retriever Daisy was able to do it and she got her nose stuck in a peanut butter jar the other day. I will be sending out numerous reminders to reach out to your member of Congress over the next couple of weeks! You will not be able to escape me as I try to get as many people to help us in our mission to stop CMS. We need you and anyone that you know to reach out!

Federal Recap

Now back to the recap. This edition will be lighter than previous editions due to the holiday season. The time between mid-November and the new year is notoriously slow due to the holiday season, but there is still some stuff I would like to update you all on.

Campaign season has officially come to a close! Ralph Warnock won the Georgia run-off election this week, defeating Republican challenger and self-proclaim Texan (his words) Herschel Walker. Warnock’s win gives Democrats a 1 seat majority in the Senate, wrapping up 2 years of 50-50 split in the Senate. Though this may not seem like a large enough margin to matter, it will have a big impact over the next two years. With a 1 vote majority, Democrats can take much more operational control of the Senate, easing the confirmation of contentious nominees, clearing the way for investigations and availing themselves of breathing room on a variety of matters. Democrats will now hold a one-seat advantage on congressional committees that are now evenly split. This will prevent Republicans from being able to block confirmation nominees while in committee if Democrats are able to hold together on a nominee. The Biden Administration will likely use this opportunity to pack the lower courts with Democratic judges. Many judicial nominees only require a one vote majority to be passed through committee and the Senate. Democrats will still be blocked from passing sweeping legislation in the Senate due to the risk of a filibuster by the Republicans.

Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer both announced that they will be stepping down from their position as Speaker of the House and House Majority Leader respectively. Pelosi and Hoyer’s announcement marks the end of the era for the number 1 and 2 in the Democratic party and will usher in a new era in Democratic politics. Democrats moved quickly to fill their leadership vacancies, electing Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8) to be party leader, Massachusetts own Katherine Clark (MA-5) to be minority whip (number 2) and Rep. Pete Aguilar (CA-31), to Jeffries current position of Democratic caucus chairman (number 3). Pelosi and Hoyer both stated that they will still serve in the House the remainder of their terms, which I will imagine will result in them still holding puppet power till they retire. The new leadership will have their hands full in the new year when Republicans take over control of the House. Current Republican Leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) is expected to be elected Speaker of the House in the new session. McCarthy has already signaled that he plans to make the House into a TV spectacle for the next two years. McCarthy has been setting up a the potential for congressional investigation into the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, which will be sure to make great TV.

Look Ahead

The only thing that we will be looking at in December is a potential year-end budget deal to fund the government for the next year. As I wrote before, it is imperative that you use this ACTION ALERT to urge your member of Congress, for some will be the now immensely powerful Katherine Clark, to urge them to support a year-long delay (2023) of CMS’s proposed home health rate cut and call for added transparency in CMS rate-setting practices. Congress could decide to punt negotiations on a 2023 budget by deciding to pass a continuing resolution (CR), that would fund the government at the current levels for a specific amount of additional time. That amount of time could range from additional month to a full year. CR’s have become common practice over the last decade and will likely be used at some point in this process. It is imperative that we ask that they include in any deal to stop CMS from implementing their rate cuts. Please use the ACTION ALERT to do your part. I am happy to help anyone if they would like to reach out to their member in a different way, whether by phone, fax, hell the pony express! Ill take anything. Your voices matter!

Urge Congress to Reject Cuts Hospice Cap

We are also asking that our Hospice members use this ACTION ALERT to urge their member of Congress to reject a major hospice payment cap cut from being included in any end-of-year legislative package that Congress is currently negotiating. As is often the case with large, year-end spending bills, there are many programs and policies Congress wants to “stuff in” to an omnibus funding package before the close of the year. In order to pay for all these priorities, lawmakers must identify “offsets” to fund them.

A significant reduction of the hospice aggregate cap, as has been recommended by MedPAC in the past, is being considered for one such “offset”. We need your help as hospice leaders to tell Congress that cutting the cap in a major and rushed way is bad policy.

It is imperative that we all do our part to make sure that there are no major hospice payment cap cut included in the end-of-year budget!! 

State Recap/Look Ahead

Just like at the federal level, this edition will be lighter than previous editions due to the holiday season. To quickly cover what has happened since the last rundown, Maura Healey has begun her transition process, naming members of her transition team. This marks what will be a long transition period for the Healey team. Healey is in a rare position as opposed to previous Governor-elects; Healey currently holds high office as the current Massachusetts Attorney General (AG). Healey will not only have to manage taking the reins from Governor Baker, but Healey will also have to manage transitioning her AG office over to AG-elect Andrea Campbell. Many legislators that I have spoken with have pointed out that this is no easy task and will likely result in a slower than usual transition period.

HCA is currently drafting several pieces that we will be sharing with the Healey transition team that clearly states our priorities for her time as Governor. We have also been in constant contact with our state legislative champions to advocate to the Governor-elects team on our behalf.

I will be sure to keep you up to date on any on-going developments as it pertains to the transition from Governor Baker to Governor-elect Healey.

No Time to Waste! Urge Your Member of Congress to Delay CMS’s 2023 Home Health Rate Cuts

On October 31, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule that will reduce Medicare payments for home health services by $635 million in 2023 and approximately $18 billion over the next decade. It was mandated by Congress in 2018 that CMS develop a payment model that would be “budget neutral”, not one that would reduce funding for home health care by over $18 billion.

Following the release of the final rule, HCA along with the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) re-engaged with the sponsoring offices of The Preserving Access to Home Health Act (S. 4605/H.R. 8581) on refining the legislation to delay CMS from implementing their 2023 home health payment cut for one year, as well as strengthen transparency of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in their rate-setting. Our champions on Capitol Hill are working to substitute this amended language in the negotiations for the year-end package. 

With time running out in the 117th Congress, lawmakers are inching closer to passing a final spending bill to keep the government funded. Home health advocates are pushing hard for a yearlong delay of the 2023 home health payment cut, which would otherwise take effect on January 1, 2023. However, NAHC has informed us that there is significant opposition to delaying these cuts.

We need your help once again and there is no time to spare! 

HCA members sent over 200 emails to members of the Massachusetts delegation urging their support of The Preserving Access to Home Health Act. Your continuous outreach resulted in Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern and helped to persuade CMS from backing off their initially proposed 7% rate cut. We must continue our aggressive outreach in order to persuade Congress to include the revised language in the year-end budget!

Please use the action alert below to write to your member of Congress urging them to support a year-long delay (2023) of CMS’s proposed home health rate cut and call for added transparency in CMS rate-setting practices.

Home Care Alliance Signs onto CMS Letter to House and Senate Leadership

The Alliance signed onto an advocacy letter written by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) to House and Senate leadership asking for their support in suspending the implementation of CMS’s final for the Home Health Prospective Payment System (HHPPS).

This week, the Alliance signed onto an advocacy letter written by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) to House and Senate leadership asking for their support in suspending the implementation of CMS’s final for the Home Health Prospective Payment System (HHPPS). As a reminder, CMS’s final rule if implemented would reduce Medicare payments for home health services by $635 million in 2023 and trigger an estimated $18 billion in payment reductions over the next decade.

The Alliance joined 49 other home care associations across the nation in signing this letter. The letter highlights the immense impact that the final rule would have on the agency across the country, noting that “the impact of those payment cuts would exacerbate the ongoing dismantling of this essential benefit that serves over 3 million of the most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries, providing them with exceptional care quality in their own homes, preventing high-cost hospitalizations, and offering an alternative to life-changing institutional care while saving Medicare billions in spending every year.

NAHC is currently working with key sponsors and co-sponsors of the CMS bill (S.4605/H.R.8581)that was introduced in August, to re-write the bill in response to CMS’s final ruling. The exact details of the revision of the bill have not yet been determined, but once they are the Alliance will re-engage with the Massachusetts delegation to update them on the changes and to garner their support for the new version of the bill. We will also be asking our members to once again reach out to their member of Congress to support the new version of the bill.

200+ Attendees & Full Exhibit Hall at the 2022 NEHCC!

Don’t miss out on the biggest home care and hospice event in the region, with dozens of exhibitors at our trade show.

Join more than 200 home care and hospice leaders next week in Newport, Rhode Island for the 2022 New England Home Care & Hospice Conference and Trade Show.

Don’t miss out on the biggest home care and hospice event in the region, with dozens of exhibitors at our trade show.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Just Published: 2022 Resource Directories

Considered to be “the bible for home care” in Massachusetts, copies of the the 2022 Resource Directory have been shipped to every case manager, hospital, COA, state legislator, and GCM in Massachusetts. Additional copies are available for purchase.

This is the one, indispensable book anyone making referrals must have. It’s the bible for home care in Massachusetts. — Gina Martin, RN, CCM

Copies of the the Alliance’s annual referral directory have already been shipped to every case manager, hospital, COA, state legislator, and GCM in Massachusetts.

Need an extra copy? They’re available for purchase on our website, with free shipping (as always).

Alternatively, you can also use our online Find an Agency search.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Introducing Home Health 101

Introducing Home Health 101, our new online orientation for home health clinicians and managers, with a focus on compliance regulation.

Have you hired staff new to home health care? Need a refresher on the basics of home health compliance? Due for a review on the latest regulation changes?

As the Alliance’s director of clinical and regulatory affairs, I’m often asked these questions from members looking to ensure that their clinical staff and managers have the tools they need to successfully navigate the regulatory challenges they’ll face in home health. In the past, I’ve done in-person presentations on this material but now—to ensure that even more people have access to it—I’m pleased to announce that Home Health 101 is available digitally for the first time.

In Home Health 101, I highlight the Conditions of Participation standards (COPs), Medicare regulations related to the survey process, and how the survey process works. 5 CEU credits are available (for a small processing fee) to those who complete the course and pass an evaluation.

Objectives include how to:

  • Review the Home Health’s Conditions of Participation (COPs);
  • Identify three of the five criteria for Medicare certification for home health benefit;
  • Understand Requirements for Physician Orders and Face-to-Face (F2F);
  • Identify Medicare’s definitions of “confined to home”; and
  • Review patient notices.

The program is broken into five sections:

  • Part 1: Orientation to Home Health
  • Part 2: Conditions of Participation (CoPs)
  • Part 3: Patient Notices
  • Part 4: Conditions of Participation, Contin.
  • Part 5: Skilled Professional Services and HHA Services

Annual Conference Education (ACE): Virtual Edition is Now Open!

ACE Virtual introduces 27 educational webinars covering topics ranging from PDGM, COVID-19, Staff Retention, IT Security and more!

Although it is a chaotic time, and personal energy probably barely exists outside of work – we know that we must continue to offer opportunities for all to stay educated as we adjust to the “new normal”.

The sessions in this new virtual conference have been made available in a recorded format with the option for members to purchase as individual sessions, packages of 5 (based on tracks), or the full series. Thanks to sponsors, you will also be given the opportunity to receive significant discounts on products (up to 50% off!)!

If a staff member that is in the position of Director or higher agrees to have one-on-one phone calls with our Premium Sponsors you earn significant discounts!

Use the following codes:
3 Sponsor Calls: 30% OFF – ACE30
5 Sponsor Calls: 50% OFF – ACE50


An example of what the platform looks like per webinar

2020 NEHCC Program Released!

You have been waiting, and now it’s here, The 2020 New England Home Care & Hospice Conference and Trade Show Program has been released! Join colleagues from throughout the region from May 13-15 in Newport, RI for the best home health and hospice event of the year!

You have been waiting, and now it’s here, The 2020 New England Home Care & Hospice Conference and Trade Show Program has been released! Join colleagues from throughout the region from May 13-15 in Newport, RI for the best home health and hospice event of the year! This fabulous conference will feature renowned keynoters and informative workshops that will give you new ideas and insight to take back to your agency. Sessions include Pre-Conferences on PDGM: Lessons Learned, and Medicaid Healthcare Reform; Keynotes on Caregiver Trends, Navigating Change, The Future in Home Health Through Data, and Bridging the Gap Between Life and Death. With 25 additional break-out sessions, you are bound to find topics that appeal to you and your staff as there is something for everyone!

Looking to find new partners with your agency regarding things like software systems, consulting, staff benefits, etc? Our exhibit show is the largest home health gathering in the Northeast with close to 80 exhibitors! See who is currently exhibiting here.

Don’t miss this great event close to home. Check out the brochure here

Learn more about the conference at www.nehcc.com

Just Published: 2020 Resource Directories

Considered to be “the bible for home care” in Massachusetts, copies of the the 2020 Resource Directory have been shipped to every case manager, hospital, COA, state legislator, and GCM in Massachusetts. Additional copies are available for purchase.

This is the one, indispensable book that anyone making referrals must have. It’s the bible for home care in Massachusetts. — Gina Martin, RN, CCM

Copies of the the Alliance’s annual referral directory have already been shipped to every case manager, hospital, COA, state legislator, and GCM in Massachusetts. Members will also receive copies in the mail this week.

Need an extra copy? They’re available for purchase on our website, with free shipping (as always).

New this year, it’s now easier than ever to find agencies who provide hospice care, which now has its own checkmark in the Cities & Towns section.

Alternatively, you can also use the Digital Edition of the directory, as well as our online Find an Agency search.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

HCA Offers Monthly Aide Webinars to Help with 12-Hour Education Credits

The Home Care Alliance of MA partners with the Association for Home & Hospice Care of North Carolina to put on monthly Aide education webinars. These webinars help satisfy the mandatory 12-hours of education your staff needs to remain complaint.

Take a look below for the following opportunities available until next June! All webinars are just $95/Line for HCA of MA members!

August 8, 2019
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Nutrition and Hydration
Speaker: Cindy Morgan, RN, MSN, CHC, CHPN

Description: Nutrition and hydration are necessary to sustain life. The provision of food and water is frequently related to the providing of comfort and nourishment as well as to the giving of life and preserving of life. Adequate nutrition has many advantages to the human body. This presentation will explore some of those, such as: healing, prevention and good health. We will also discuss the element of safety related to nutrition and hydration with a focus on the patient with advanced illness and those at end of life.

September 12, 2019
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Advance Directives & Patient Rights
Speaker: Jane Garrett, RN, BSN, MHSA

Description: Legal and ethical responsibilities of the healthcare staff regarding Advance Directives are described from the patient and caregiver’s perspectives. The types of various Advance Directives are explained along with examples and the practical application of this fundamental patient right.

October 10, 2019
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in HIPAA and Confidentiality
Speaker: Michelle White, DNP, RN, CNL

Description: This workshop will focus on assisting your In-Home Aides in understanding HIPAA and confidentiality guidelines. This workshop will offer practical tips to ensure that the para-professional adheres to the required privacy standards. Also included: the impact of social media such as Facebook, My Space, YouTube and cell phones, text messages, etc.

November 14, 2019
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Speaker: Kathie Smith, RN, BSN

Description: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a type of dementia that affects thought, memory and language.  As the disease gets worse, people often need more and more care. This can be hard for caregivers and can affect their physical and mental health, family life, job and finances. In home aides play a vital role in helping to care for these patients and provide important respite to family caregivers. This teleconference will assist the in-home aide in being able to describe the role they play in helping to manage patients with AD.

December 12, 2019
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Maintaining Client Dignity
Speaker: Cindy Morgan, RN, MSN, CHC, CHPN

Description: It is the responsibility of every health care staff member to maintain the dignity of their patients with every contact they have with them. The Nurse Aide works with most patients in an intimate way with the duties assigned to them. This presentation will list strategies to ensure the patient’s dignity is protected.

January 9, 2020
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Falls Prevention
Speaker: Jane Garrett, RN, BSN, MHSA

Description:  In this session, there will be a discussion of the many challenges aides face daily in protecting their patients from injury, particularly those resulting from accidental falls. Additionally, as the number of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia continues to grow, we all have the added challenge of managing the manifestations of dementia that may increase the risk of falls.

February 13, 2020
TOPIC: TBD
Speakers: John Conrad and Libby Hart, RN

March 12, 2020
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Infection Prevention and Control
Speaker: Michelle White, DNP, RN, CNL

Description: This workshop will focus on understanding the basic principles of infection prevention and control. This workshop will also focus on Blood Borne Pathogens and the principles surrounding transmission and methods in which the aide can protect themselves and the patient.

April 9, 2020
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Home Care Safety
Speaker: Kathie Smith, RN, BSN

Description: Safety hazards can exist in many areas of the client’s home and the hazards may increase the risk of client falls and other injuries. This workshop will cover ways the In-Home aide can help the client to make their home safer and avoid injury to the client and worker.

May 14, 2020
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Understanding the Role of Animals in Patient Care
Speaker: Cindy Morgan, RN, MSN, CHC, CHPN

Description: Do you find that many of your patients have animals as pets and do you wonder why? This presentation will explain the importance of animals to patients. The animal may provide a level of love and care for patients that they get from no other source. There may be times that having to deal with animals in the home are challenging and we will discuss strategies to consider making your visits as pleasing as possible despite those challenges.

June 11, 2020
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Recognizing Violence and Patient Abuse
Speaker: Jane Garrett, RN, BSN, MHSA

Description: Many cases of abuse in elderly patients are not reported because they often must decide whether to tell someone they are being hurt or continue being abused by someone they depend upon or care for deeply. This webinar will provide information on recognizing signs of patient abuse and violence and the importance of reporting appropriately.

Check out our calendar at https://www.thinkhomecare.org/page/education for the most up to date information on these webinars and all other education being offered!

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