In The News

Post-Acute Care Quality Reporting Programs

CMS

Attention Home Health Providers

We had previously identified an issue in the iQIES system that may have affected your HHA’s Services Provided values that are displayed on the HHA Provider Preview reports that were distributed in iQIES on 02/23/2022. Moreover, we had previously asked HHAs to review the Services Provided Information on the HHA Provider Preview Reports for the April 2022 refresh and contact their OASIS Education Coordinator (OEC) or OASIS Automation Coordinator, should inaccuracies be identified. The process to collect and maintain the Services Provided information recently migrated into iQIES and we are addressing the issues identified.

To allow time to complete the identified changes, we have decided for the April 2022 refresh, to publish the same Services Provided data for each Home Health Agency that was posted on Care Compare for the January 2022 refresh. We believe that this will allow us to publish the most accurate Services Provided data at this time.

We are still urging HHA providers to carefully review the Services Provided data within the recently issued Preview Reports, however, we would like to note that we are not attaching a deadline to this review. These reports were distributed in iQIES on 02/23/2022.  If the values are incorrect for your agency, please contact your State Automation or State OEC and request an update of your Services Provided data in iQIES.  Should you have questions, please contact the iQIES Help Desk by phone at (800) 339-9313 or by email at [email protected]. CMS continues to work to refine and rectify the update process moving forward. 

For those experiencing issues locating your agency’s HHA Provider Preview Report, follow the steps outlined below:

New Users

1. Only active users with login credentials to iQIES as of the distribution date of the HHA Provider Preview reports for the April 2022 refresh will have the report in their HHA Provider Preview Report folder.

a. If you are a new user of iQIES and received your iQIES login credentials after the February 23, 2022 distribution of the HHA Provider Preview reports, please contact the iQIES Help Desk for assistance (see iQIES Help Desk contact information below).
b. Inform the help desk staff that you are a new user of iQIES since the HHA Provider Preview reports for the April 2022 refresh were made available. The iQIES help desk team will gather the necessary information from you including such things as your agency’s CMS Certification Number (CCN) and will then make the report for your agency available to you in the HHA Provider Preview Reports folder in iQIES.
c. Follow the steps below to locate your agency’s report in the HHA Provider Preview Report folder.

Existing Users

1. If you were an active user prior to the February 23, 2022 distribution of the HHA Provider Preview Reports but you cannot locate your report, please follow the steps below:

a. Log into iQIES at https://iqies.cms.gov/.
b. Select the My Reports option from the Reports menu
c. From the My Reports page, locate the HHA Provider Preview Reports folder.

NOTE: The folders and reports on the My Reports page are listed in alphabetic order so users may need to utilize the page forward functionality at the bottom of the webpage to advance to the page where the folder is located. Alternatively, users may change the default number of rows that display on the webpage from 10 to a larger number to view the larger list of items.

d. Select the HHA Provider Preview Reports link to open the folder.
e. To locate the latest HHA Provider Preview report, select the down arrow adjacent to the Created Date label at the top of the table. This will order the reports in the folder from newest to oldest.
f. Select the report file with the following label: Preview of Home Health Agency Quality Measure Scores To Be Posted on Care Compare (April 2022)_Updated [provider’s CCN will display after the word Updated].
g. Once the report is open, users will notice the Services Provided information displayed beneath their agency’s demographic information at the top of the report.

Should you have questions, please contact the iQIES Help Desk by phone at (800) 339-9313 or by email at [email protected].

 

HHS to Provide $110 Million to Strengthen Safety Net for Seniors and People with Disabilities

Funding opens door for more than 20 states/territories to participate in Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person program, which has contributed billions to help seniors and people with disabilities safely transition from institutional care to independence in their homes and communities

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will offer more than $110 million to expand access to home and community-based services (HCBS) through Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. First authorized in 2005, MFP has provided states with $4.06 billion to support people who choose to transition out of institutions and back into their homes and communities. The new Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) makes individual awards of up to $5 million available for more than 20 states and territories not currently participating in MFP. These funds will support initial planning and implementation to get the state/territory programs off the ground, which would ensure more people with Medicaid can receive high-quality, cost-effective, person-centered services in a setting they choose.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to live at home, in their communities, and with their loved ones,” said Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. “This funding will bring dignity and peace of mind to even more seniors and people with disabilities across the country. We will continue expanding these programs to ensure all Americans have equitable access to the high-quality health care they deserve—no matter where they live.”

Read Full Article

 

Halting HCBS Support Is ‘Like Bringing an Umbrella to a Hurricane,’ Advocates Argue in Senate Hearing

Home Health Care News / By Joyce Famakinwa
 
On Wednesday, the Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), held a hearing to highlight the importance of home- and community-based services (HCBS) for seniors and people with disabilities.
 
He also attempted to explain the broader impact that investment in the sector can have.
 
“Underinvestment in caregiving affects all of us — it even hurts our economy,” Casey said during the hearing. “Without access to this care, many people, usually women, are forced to leave the workforce to care for a loved one. An investment in home-based care is an investment in families and our nation. It will help people get back to work. It gives families … peace of mind.”
 
Building on Casey’s point about informal caregivers often having to step in to care for seniors, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) — ranking member of the Special Committee on Aging — noted that these individuals provide over 75% of caregiving in the U.S.
 
In his opening remarks, Casey also exlpained that HCBS investment would address the issue of caregivers, the majority of whom are women of color, being underpaid.
 
“These workers provide essential care,” he said. “An investment in home- and community-based services would give these hard-working women, or I should say mostly women, the opportunity to better support their own families and their communities.”
 
Indeed, across the U.S., the median wage for caregivers is lower than that of other jobs with similar entry-level requirements, such as janitors, retail salespersons and customer service representatives.
 
In 2019, direct care workers earned a median hourly wage of $12.80, a small improvement from $12.61 in 2009, according to data from PHI.
 
In order to address the growing number of Americans who need assistance with daily activities, but who prefer to receive care in their home or community, continued bipartisan collaboration is necessary, according to Lisa Harootunian, associate director of the health program at the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC).

Read Full Article

 

US Department of Labor Reopens Rulemaking Record, Schedules Public Hearing on Proposed Final Rule to Protect Healthcare Workers from COVID-19 Exposure

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has reopened the rulemaking record partially and scheduled an informal public hearing to seek comments on specific topics that relate to the development of a final standard to protect healthcare and healthcare support service workers from workplace exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

Submit comments online, identified by Docket No. OSHA-2020-0004. Submit written comments by the deadline of April 22, 2022.  

Individuals interested in testifying at the hearing must submit their notice of intention to appear no later than 14 days after the publication of the Federal Register Notice. The hearing will begin on April 27, 2022 and will take place online. If necessary, the hearing will continue on subsequent days. Learn more in the Federal Register notice

…As OSHA works towards a permanent regulatory solution, employers must continue to comply with their obligations under the General Duty Clause, Personal Protective Equipment and Respiratory Protection Standards, as well as other applicable OSHA standards to protect their employees against the hazard of COVID-19 in the workplace. More information, including compliance assistance materials, are available.

Learn more about the issue and obtain compliance assistance materials.

 

Home Health CAHPS Participation Exemption Request Deadline

From NAHC

The deadline for home health agencies to submit a request for an exemption from participating in the Home Health CAHPS (HH CAHPS) Survey for the CY 2023 Annual Payment Update (APU) is March 31, 2022.

Medicare-certified home health agencies are eligible for an exemption if they served 59 or fewer survey eligible patients between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. If your agency is exempt, you do not need to participate in the HHCAHPS data collection period, which runs from April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022.

To be exempted from participating in the HH CAHPS Survey for the CY 2023 APU, HHAs must count the number of home health patients they served between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, who meet HHCAHPS survey eligibility criteria and then report that count on the Participation Exemption Request Form. Please note, exemptions are active for one year only.

 
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