Register now for the Compliance Extravaganza!

UHPCO and UAHC present industry guru Annette Lee for a members-ONLY workshop June 4-5. Lunch included June 4.

Just $35 for 12 CEUs (pending)!

Not a member yet, but want to attend? Easy fix!

Click here to become a member of UHPCO.

Click here to become a member of UAHC.

News

CMS Announces Further Changes to Support Hospice Eligibility Inquiries in HETS

Support Rural Access to Hospice

CMS Touts Changes to RAC Audits

States Grapple with the Opioid Epidemic and Pain Management

New CMS and CGS MLN Connects for 5-16-2019

Regulatory Reminders

Summary of Key Points in the CMS Open Door Forum on Home Health, Hospice

CMS Updates Info on New Medicare Cards

Events

Register now for the Compliance Extravaganza!

UHPCO and UAHC present industry guru Annette Lee for a members-ONLY workshop June 4-5. Just $35 for 12 CEUs (pending)!

Not a member yet, but want to attend? Easy fix!

Click here to become a member of UHPCO.

Click here to become a member of UAHC.

Learn all about easy, online, learning paid at 100% with your membership dues!

Watch the recently-released RCTCLEARN introduction video here…

Webinar: End of Life Planning with Hypertensive Patients

REGISTRATION OPEN – Hospice Quality Reporting Program: Review and Correct Report Overview Webinar

A New Webinar Series You Cannot Afford to Miss: The New 2019 Emergency Preparedness Guidelines

Interest Items

Industry News Articles


News

CMS Announces Further Changes to Support Hospice Eligibility Inquiries in HETS

Via NAHC Report: “Over recent years the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has sought to streamline hospice beneficiary eligibility inquiries and establish the HIPAA Eligibility Transaction System (HETS) as the single source for this data. This effort was delayed due in part to the availability of insufficient information in the HETS system regarding hospice benefit period utilization. On March 27, 2019, the MCARE system issued a notice indicating that changes had been made to the HETS system and that, beginning in fall of 2019, CMS will terminate access to Common Working File (CWF) eligibility queries for entities that already use HETS for that purpose.

As referenced previously, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) sought additional information from CMS, as concerns remained that HETS eligibility queries might not provide sufficient information to allow hospices to determine whether a patient being taken onto service required a face-to-face encounter.  In a response, CMS’ MCARE Help Desk indicated that CMS “plans to make a change in the upcoming HETS R2019Q300 release to remove the Hospice Occurrence Count and instead return all available CWF Hospice Occurrences and/or Notices of Election on the 271 response.”

More recently, as part of Change Request 11277/Transmittal 2285, CMS formally announced instructions designed to address hospice eligibility and face-to-face encounter eligibility data needs in HETS by ensuring that all hospice benefit periods (regardless of age) are submitted to HETS and by populating HETS with separate record of Hospice Election Period data and Hospice Benefit Period data.  These changes are scheduled to become effective on October 1, 2019 (with an implementation date of October 7, 2019).  MCARE has not yet announced a specific date on which CMS will eliminate access to CWF queries for those providers who conduct eligibility queries in HETS but NAHC will be monitoring for announcement of this change and provide updates via NAHC Report as they are available.”

Support Rural Access to Hospice

From Lauren Drew, Sr Advocacy & State Relations Manager for Hospice Action Network/NHPCO: “The Rural Access to Hospice Act has been fully reintroduced in Congress! Can you please take a minute today to ask Congress to support it?

We have reason to believe that a rural health package is being discussed in Congress, and we need to show that the Rural Access to Hospice Act has wide bipartisan grassroots support to bolster our argument to include this bill in the package. You can help by completing our Action Alert, and then sharing it with your friends, family, coworkers, and on social media.

The more people who contact Congress about this bill, the more attention it will get!

Once you have completed the Action Alert, please consider completing a Letter to the Editor as well. Members of Congress read their local papers daily, and it influences their decision making if they see specific pieces of legislation mentioned in their local papers. Complete this pre-written Letter to the Editor to help spread the word!

Thank you for making time to be an advocate today, and please let me know if you have any questions.”

CMS Touts Changes to RAC Audits

From Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq: “The following article is about changes to RAC audits.” Read her full article here…

States Grapple with the Opioid Epidemic and Pain Management

Via NAHC Report: ” The opioid epidemic claims about 115 lives per day in the United States, a rate that has grown by 4000 percent since 1999. Nearly half of these opioid-related fatalities involve a prescription drug, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
In March 2016 Massachusetts became the first state in the union to limit opioid prescriptions, imposing a seven-day limit on prescribing of opiates to a patient for the first time. Exceptions were made for acute medical conditions, chronic pain, cancer and palliative care.
 
By October 2018, 33 states had enacted legislation with some type of limit, guidance or requirement related to opioid prescribing, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.
 
That month the federal government got involved in a big way, when Congress overwhelmingly passed the Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act, and President Trump signed it into law on October 24, 2018.
 
Most of the states have focused on limiting initial opioid prescriptions to a number of days’ supply, with seven being the most common. A few states also set dosage limits on opioid prescriptions, and most states include exceptions from prescription limits for the purpose of chronic pain treatment, cancer treatment, and palliative care. Commonly, state laws hold that exceptions to prescription limits must be documented in the patient’s medical records.
 
A bill in Florida that would exempt hospice doctors from being required to check a state database before prescribing controlled substances for patients has passed the state House and Senate unanimously and is now headed for signature into law by Governor Ron DeSantis.
 
Like man other states, Florida has been hit hard by America’s opioid crisis and the state legislature approved a law requiring physicians to check a database before prescribing controlled substances for a patient. The law also limited opioid prescriptions and required doctors to enter their prescriptions for controlled substances into the database.
 
However, hospice providers and workers argued that the database requirement caused unnecessary delays and, therefore, suffering, for patients who dying and in great pain. The legislation, SB 592/HB 375, discards the database requirements for patients in hospice care. It is expected that Governor DeSantis will sign the bill into law.”

New CMS and CGS MLN Connects for 5-16-2019

Read the latest news from CMS and CGS in their recent MLN Connects here…

Regulatory Reminders

 
PDGM audio recording, presentation and transcript available https://www.cms.gov/center/provider-type/home-health-agency-hha-center.html
 

CY 2019 Medicare Home Health Prospective Payment System rates and wage index for calendar year (CY) 2019 https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/HomeHealthPPS/Home-Health-Prospective-Payment-System-Regulations-and-Notices-Items/CMS-1689-FC.html

Sign up for free CMS email updates https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USCMS/subscriber/new?pop=t&topic_id=USCMS_7819

Always use current reference sources. The Medicare Benefit Policy Manual Chapter 7 for Home Health Coverage was updated 3.22.19 https://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Guidance/Manuals/Downloads/bp102c07.pdf
 
Always use current reference sources. The Medicare Benefit Policy Manual Chapter 9 for Hospice Coverage was updated 9.14.18 https://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Guidance/Manuals/Downloads/bp102c09.pdf

Summary of Key Points in the CMS Open Door Forum on Home Health, Hospice

Via NAHC Report: “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) held a Home Health, Hospice & DME Open Door Forum (ODF) on May 15, 2019. Below is a summary of the ODF topics pertaining to home health and hospice.”  Read the full article here…

CMS Updates Info on New Medicare Cards

Via NAHC Report: “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sent out a brief update on the new Medicare cards that were shipped out to all beneficiaries from April 2018 to April 2019.

You can find the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) on the remittance advice of a prior claim or from your Medicare Administrative Contractor’s portal (get access if you do not already have it). CMS suggests you update your system and use it on the claim.

The MBI is apparently still causing some confusion for providers, so here is a quick refresher on what MBI is and how you should use it.

About the MBI:

      • MBIs are random and use numbers 0-9 and uppercase letters, except for S, L, O, I, B, and Z. CMS excludes these letters to avoid confusion when differentiating between these letters and numbers (e.g., between “0” and “O”). Read MLN Matters® Article New MBI Get It, Use It for helpful information, including what to do if an MBI changes.
      • Learn about Getting MBIs.
      • Learn aboutUsing MBIs.

If your patients accidentally threw away their new Medicare card, ask them to call 1-800-MEDICARE and request a replacement. Your patients can also sign into MyMedicare.gov to print an official card. They must create an account if they do not already have one.

For More Information:

Please remind your Medicare patients that when they get their new Medicare cards, they should destroy the old red, white, and blue Medicare cards but not their Social Security, Medicare Advantage plan, or drug plan cards. If they belong to a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare drug plan (Part D), they should continue to use these cards when they get health care services or fill a prescription.

To ensure your Medicare patients continue to get care, you can use either the HICN or MBI for all Medicare transactions through December 31, 2019.”

Events

Register now for the Compliance Extravaganza!

UHPCO and UAHC present industry guru Annette Lee for a members-ONLY workshop June 4-5. Just $35 for 12 CEUs (pending)!

Not a member yet, but want to attend? Easy fix!

Click here to become a member of UHPCO.

Click here to become a member of UAHC.

Webinar: End of Life Planning with Hypertensive Patients

From Comagine Health: “As part of our CMS-funded cardiac initiative, we are hosting a webinar next week that focuses on advance care planning with hypertensive patients. Please attend this webinar if you are interested/available and help us promote this opportunity. Wednesday, May 22, 2019   12:30-1 p.m. MT    Register Now!

Advance care planning is useful for all adults, including those living with heart failure. People suffering with heart failure tend to be older and have additional illnesses. The American Heart Association recommends that everyone hospitalized for heart failure should be approached about an advance directive if they do not already have one. In this webinar we will hear from Patti Pollina, APRN, ACHPN, NP-C, clinical care practitioner with our Admissions and Transitions Optimization Program, who will discuss advance planning tools and how to have the conversation with patients.
Patti Pollina is nationally certified in family practice by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and holds advanced certification in hospice and palliative care. She has served as a palliative consultant in several Nevada

https://healthinsight.org/news-articles/1889-webinar-end-of-life-planning-with-hypertensive-patients”

REGISTRATION OPEN – Hospice Quality Reporting Program: Review and Correct Report Overview Webinar

Via CMS: “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be hosting a webinar on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. ET. The purpose of the webinar is to increase providers’ awareness of how to use the new Review and Correct Report to verify the data displayed on the Hospice Compare website for their facility is accurate. See the Hospice Quality Reporting Program Spotlight & Announcements webpage for details.”

A New Webinar Series You Cannot Afford to Miss: The New 2019 Emergency Preparedness Guidelines

Via NAHC Report: “The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and RBC Limited Healthcare & Management Consultants are presenting a critical new four-part webinar series on how to prepare your agency for the new 2019 interpretive guidelines in emergency preparedness. The series will be led by a nationally-recognized expert on emergency preparedness for home health and hospice, Barbara B. Citarella RN, MS NHDP-BC.” Read the full NAHC article here…

Interest Items

Industry News Article

Shared via Ellen Almond’s Home Health Media Clips 5-16-2019

Support home health payment act  Dallas Morning News (TX)

Bob Goodman: Support Home Health Payment Innovation Act  The Daily Camera (CO)

Support bills to fix new Medicare payment system  The Paris News (TX)

Reader Opinion: Protect senior health care  Brainerd Dispatch (MN)

Number of Home Health Workers Per Capita Grows as Behavioral Status of Seniors Declines  Home Health Care News

Senate Releases Surprise Billing Legislation With Arbitration  Inside Health Policy

Divisions Emerge Over How to Stop Surprise Medical Bills  Bloomberg

Study Highlights State Challenges with Senior Health  Home Care Magazine