In The News

SNF-at-Home Concept Earning ‘Very Positive Feedback’ in Congress, Among Special Interest Groups

Home Health Care News
By Robert Holly
An innovative care concept designed to keep patients at home and out of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) is reportedly gaining ground in Congress and among special interest groups.
The concept — known as “Choose Home” — is a type of SNF-at-home model that leverages both medical and non-medical home care services for certain patients.
LHC Group Inc. (Nasdaq: LHCG) Chairman and CEO Keith Myers provided an update on Choose Home on Wednesday, after first floating the concept during a Feb. 26 earnings call.

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New Moving Health Home Coalition Aims to Expand Home-Based Care Services

A group of healthcare providers, valued-based care organizations, and Amazon’s telehealth business have come together to call for changes to reimbursement models that would support a range of services in the home from primary care to hospital-level interventions. A press release from the new organization, Moving Health Home, states that it is time to, “change reimbursement models and the culture around institutional care to allow for Americans to choose their home as a site of care.”

“We don't need to necessarily totally displace institutional care, but we need to make the home sort of an option for people for all different kinds of health care services,” stated the coalition’s manager, Krista Drobac. Founding members, which include Amazon Care, Landmark Health, Signify Health, Dispatch Health, Elara Caring, Intermountain Healthcare, Home Instead and Ascension, assert that, “care in the home can be at least equivalent to, if not better than, care offered in facilities.”

Moving Health Home’s policy priorities include retaining the hospital-without-walls site of care flexibilities that have been permitted during the COVID-19 public health emergency; eliminating institutional bias that favors institutional-based codes in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule; creating an extended home-based care benefit as an alternative for skilled nursing facility care; and integrating telehealth.

Although the group sees home-based services as being different – or at least more encompassing- than home health, hospice, or non-medical homecare (personal care), their formation is further evidence of a very real shift that is taking place in the country; which should create plenty opportunity for providers already serving people at home.


Legislature Considers Bill Inspired by Hospice Heroes

New license plates would recognize and support mission of hospice and palliative care workers in Colorado

For Immediate Release: March 18, 2021

Denver, CO – Coloradans may soon be drawing attention to the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic with a new license plate for hospice and palliative care workers. 

House Bill 21-1128 would create a special end-of-life license plate in Colorado to give recognition to hospice and palliative care and the important and difficult work these health care workers provide for thousands of Coloradans and their families. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City, and Sen. Chris Hansen, D-Denver. It is scheduled to be heard March 24 in the House Transportation & Local Government Committee.

“The tragic stories of people who have died alone since the COVID-19 pandemic began have demonstrated so clearly why end-of-life care is so important,” said Tim Bowen, CEO of The Denver Hospice and a director of the Home Care and Hospice Association of Colorado. “Hospice and palliative care workers are heroes, bringing comfort, support and presence to individuals and families facing an often difficult journey. These license plates would help generate a shared spirit, a sense of community and belonging, for those who believe in this critical mission of providing end-of-life care.”

Click here to read the full press release. 


Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Home Health Care Agencies in Colorado

Fourth year medical student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Nick Bianchina, along with Dr. Kristin Jensen, Dr. Alan Prochazka, and Dr. Christine Jones, are working to conduct a survey examining the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on home health care agencies in Colorado - including yours.

"We recognize alterations in services and policies may have occurred during this pandemic. The goal of this study is to understand the impact of this pandemic on home health care services with an effort to identify processes agencies may use to better plan for such an event in the future. As a representative of your home healthcare agency, we believe you will provide a valuable resource in order to assist in understanding the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on home health care."

For more information and to participate in the survey, click here


New Coalition Will Push For Expanded Home-Based Health Policies

Inside Health Policy
By Maya Goldman / March 11, 2021 at 12:14 PM
A new coalition of health care companies is advocating for increased Medicare coverage and reimbursement of at-home outpatient services, entering the health lobbying scene as the pandemic spurs interest in home-based care.
“We don't need to necessarily totally displace institutional care, but we need to make the home sort of an option for people for all different kinds of health care services,” said Krista Drobac, who manages the coalition.
The coalition will push policymakers to allow Medicare to cover an expanded list of services provided at a beneficiary’s home, which they’re currently compiling. The group also hopes to eliminate what it sees as an institutional bias in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. The 2021 fee schedule gave a bump to institutional-based E/M codes, while home-based services received a negative payment adjustment this year as a result of the fee schedule’s budget neutrality requirements.
Other policy priorities for the year include retaining site-of-care flexibility for home-based hospital services, advocating for home-based care for high-need patients and creating an extended home-based care benefit to serve as an alternative for skilled nursing facility care, similar to a benefit proposal being drafted by the home health associations.

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