In The News

Value Based Purchasing to Include All HHAs as of 1/1/22

by Tim Rowan, Editor

In recent years, CMS has vetted 54 proposals to improve patient outcomes while lowering costs. Most of them did not show either result, and many actually increased costs. The one that did show positive results is Value Based Purchasing. In trials, it showed a 4.6 percent improvement in quality scores and, according to the CMS Innovation Center, was one of only five proposed programs to show any cost savings at all.

After testing it for five years in nine states, CMS is confident that VBS is ready to expand nationwide. In fact, they are ready to start in just over four months. Exactly how VBP will affect HHAs immediately on January 1, 2022 requires some detailed unpacking.

At NAHC's Financial Managers meeting in Chicago, SHP's Chris Attaya shared his research into VBP for Home Health. The gist of his message is that HHAs need to be prepared, and they should have started a year ago. Though payment adjustments will not happen until calendar year 2024, baseline measurements that will determine whether those payments will be rewards or punishments begin on January 1. 

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Healthcare at Home 2021 Best Practices and Future Insights Study (From BerryDunn) 

BerryDunn has partnered with home care and hospice’s leading national and state associations to present the National Healthcare at Home 2021 Best Practice and Future Insights Study.

Expected to be the most comprehensive study on the delivery of care at home to date, results will include best practices on the topics of staffing, reimbursement, new care delivery models, palliative care, and more.

In order for the study to succeed we need your participation!

What you will gain:

Not only will your efforts will help us create a comprehensive report with global observations available to the industry at no cost, for helping us participating agencies will receive exclusive access to our interactive portal with detailed benchmarks and insights that can be segmented by size, outcomes, and more.

What we need you to do:

Agree to a 2-hour commitment to complete our surveys over a period of three months. Each survey should take 20 minutes to complete and can be assigned to different members of the organization.

Sign up now

The national research project is being conducted by BerryDunn. Co-sponsors include National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), NAHC Forum of State Associations, LeadingAge, Home Care Association of America (HCAOA), and Council of State Home Care and Hospice Associations.

For more information visit the study website or contact [email protected].

Study Website: https://www.nationalhomecarestudy.com/

 

FDA Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine

Approval Signifies Key Achievement for Public Health 

For Immediate Release:

August 23, 2021

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

“The FDA’s approval of this vaccine is a milestone as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated. Today’s milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S.” 

Since Dec. 11, 2020, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has been available under EUA in individuals 16 years of age and older, and the authorization was expanded to include those 12 through 15 years of age on May 10, 2021. EUAs can be used by the FDA during public health emergencies to provide access to medical products that may be effective in preventing, diagnosing, or treating a disease, provided that the FDA determines that the known and potential benefits of a product, when used to prevent, diagnose, or treat the disease, outweigh the known and potential risks of the product.

FDA-approved vaccines undergo the agency’s standard process for reviewing the quality, safety and effectiveness of medical products. For all vaccines, the FDA evaluates data and information included in the manufacturer’s submission of a biologics license application (BLA). A BLA is a comprehensive document that is submitted to the agency providing very specific requirements. For Comirnaty, the BLA builds on the extensive data and information previously submitted that supported the EUA, such as preclinical and clinical data and information, as well as details of the manufacturing process, vaccine testing results to ensure vaccine quality, and inspections of the sites where the vaccine is made. The agency conducts its own analyses of the information in the BLA to make sure the vaccine is safe and effective and meets the FDA’s standards for approval. 

Comirnaty contains messenger RNA (mRNA), a kind of genetic material. The mRNA is used by the body to make a mimic of one of the proteins in the virus that causes COVID-19. The result of a person receiving this vaccine is that their immune system will ultimately react defensively to the virus that causes COVID-19. The mRNA in Comirnaty is only present in the body for a short time and is not incorporated into - nor does it alter - an individual’s genetic material. Comirnaty has the same formulation as the EUA vaccine and is administered as a series of two doses, three weeks apart. 

“Our scientific and medical experts conducted an incredibly thorough and thoughtful evaluation of this vaccine. We evaluated scientific data and information included in hundreds of thousands of pages, conducted our own analyses of Comirnaty’s safety and effectiveness, and performed a detailed assessment of the manufacturing processes, including inspections of the manufacturing facilities,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “We have not lost sight that the COVID-19 public health crisis continues in the U.S. and that the public is counting on safe and effective vaccines. The public and medical community can be confident that although we approved this vaccine expeditiously, it was fully in keeping with our existing high standards for vaccines in the U.S."

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The 2022 Hospice Final Rule: Coping with change in uncertain times (Free Wellsky Webinar)

July 29, at 12:00 MT

The webinar is designed to help participants calculate hospice labor shares and payment changes, and understand specifics of the Hospice Election. Further details and registration are online through the following LINK 

 

 
 

NHPCO Episode 116 (Hospice FY2022 Final Rule)

In this month's podcast, JR talks with NHPCO's Judi Lund Person and Jennifer Kennedy about the FY22 Hospice Wage Index Final Rule. Along with basic information about the wage index values and rates, Judi and Jennifer take a deeper dive into how the final rule will affect providers - from regulatory areas of interest for CMS to changes in public reporting and data. Listen now.

 
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