In The News

In Wheelchair Win, CMS OKs Power Seat Elevation for Power Chairs

HomeCare News

Calling it a "landmark decision," the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced May 16, 2023 that it had, for the first time, made power seat elevation for power wheelchairs eligible for reimbursement as durable medical equipment (DME). 

CMS said effective immediately, seat elevation for Medicare-covered power wheelchairs is now considered a clinically meaningful benefit to people with Medicare who perform transfers from power wheelchairs or use their chairs for mobility-related activities of daily living such as dressing, grooming, toileting, feeding and bathing. DME advocates, mobility manufacturers and members of the disability community had urged CMS to issue the Benefit Category Determination (BCD) and National Coverage Decision.

“For too long, many people who use a power wheelchair could not access everyday items in their homes and may have struggled to get in and out of their device,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a statement. “This landmark Medicare decision to cover seat elevation is a major milestone that will improve the quality of life for so many who rely on this technology.”

Advocates called the decision a "win for wheelchair users and their caregivers." American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare), NCART, the ITEM Coalition and a wide variety of mobility user groups pushed hard for the move, spurring more than 5,000 public comments in two response periods. 

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U.S. National Survey Data Show Hight Rates of New Cases and Persistence of Chronic Pain

National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health

New cases of chronic pain occur more often among U.S. adults than new cases of several other common conditions, including diabetes, depression, and high blood pressure. Among people who have chronic pain, almost two-thirds will still have it the following year. These findings come from a new analysis of National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data by investigators from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and University of Washington, published in JAMA Network Open.

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CHAP Hospice Operations Class

Join us for a transformative Hospice Operations Workshop in San Diego, CA. Gain tools for operational excellence and patient-centered care. Open to all in the hospice industry. Gain certification as a CHAP Certified Hospice Professional Operator© with 18 Nursing CE credits. During the workshop, you will: - Increase your knowledge of compliance standards - Understand and quality improvement metrics to enhance patient care - Evaluate and your leadership skills for day-to-day activities - Identify trends and best practices in workforce management

Register Now

** Home Care and Hospice Association of Colorado Members can save utilizing the code HHAC at the time of registration**

 

PHE [Ended], Marking Expiration of Most Home Health, Hospice Waivers

McKnight’s Home Care | By Liza Berger
 
Katie Wehri of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice has a message for providers concerning the expiration of pandemic era waivers: a grace period to comply is not the same as an extension.
 
“Getting the providers to understand the difference between an extension and what I call a transition period, I think, is really important for them to not miss any requirements,” NAHC’s director of home care and hospice regulatory affairs told McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse.
Today marks the last day of the public health emergency, the end of many waivers instituted for home health and hospice agencies during the pandemic. Those waivers that have been extended are the exception and not the norm, Wehri pointed out. To get a handle on the rules surrounding compliance, Wehri suggests that providers first take a look at the waivers and flexibilities that have been available, eliminate the ones that are not applicable and identify the ones that are. Then providers should “figure out when [the waivers] end and when they have to be in full compliance with the requirements.”  
 
To help home health and hospice providers get up-to-speed on the conclusion of pandemic-era waivers and flexibilities, NAHC finalized a chart this week listing all the regulations and their compliance dates. Wehri noted that just one regulation – 418.76 (h), which waives the requirement of a hospice aide supervisory visit every two weeks — is up in the air.
 
The government has continued to update waivers in the last few days. Just last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued guidance for surveyors regarding 418.78 (e) — the 5% volunteer requirement for hospices. While it expects volunteer levels to return to  pre-pandemic requirements by the end of the year, CMS said that surveyors can use their judgment to determine if a hospice is compliant with the requirement. 
 
And this week, in advance of the end of the PHE, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) extended telemedicine flexibilities for prescribing controlled medications for six months, though Nov. 11. 
 
NAHC is also interpreting new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on healthcare workers. CMS recently disclosed that the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for CMS-certified facilities is ending. Details, it said, would be forthcoming.

 

Call for Medicaid Access Rule Workgroup Participants

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is forming a workgroup of NAHC members to help formulate our response to the recently issued Medicaid Access notice of proposed rulemaking.

Please indicate interest in participating by emailing NAHC’s Director of Medicaid HCBS at [email protected].

Click Here to learn more about the Medicaid Access proposed rule and the associated Medicaid Managed Care rule. 

Download NAHC Overview Slides

 
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