Latest News

Below are some recent news articles from throughout the industry.

Hospice workers find peace in helping patients find comfort at the end of life

It is 7:30 on a summer morning in a room overlooking the slate-gray, lapping waters of Lake Erie. Ten or so people, some just arriving at work, some finishing a night shift, sit silently on benches and in armchairs below stained-glass windows. A plump golden retriever named Linus, a therapy dog, wanders from one person to another, gratefully accepting their caresses.
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Humana Highlights Home Health's Value in Reducing Hospital Readmissions

Insurance giant Humana, Inc. (NYSE: HUM) is touting the value of its home health business - and its ability to prevent costly hospital readmissions and streamline transitions of care.
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CMS issues final rule allowing states to pick essential health benefits

The CMS issued a final rule late Monday aimed at giving states and health insurers more flexibility and reducing regulatory burdens in the individual and small group health insurance markets. read more

U.S. Immigration Policy Threatens Shake-Up In Home Health Business

On a rare rainy night in Albuquerque, two dozen students are learning the proper way to care for older people. Teacher Liliana Reyes is reviewing the systems of the body - circulatory, respiratory and so on - to prepare them for an upcoming exam. read more

What the Hospitals of the Future Look Like

The days of the hospital as we know it may be numbered. In a shift away from their traditional inpatient facilities, health-care providers are investing in outpatient clinics, same-day surgery centers, free-standing emergency rooms and microhospitals, which offer as few as eight beds for overnight stays. They are setting up programs that monitor people 24/7 in their own homes. And they are turning to digital technology to treat and keep tabs on patients remotely from a high-tech hub.
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Report of EVV 'Firestorm' Draws Home Care Industry Pushback

The rollout of electronic visit verification (EVV) for home care has created a "firestorm" of complaints in Ohio, according to a recent article in the Columbus Dispatch. However, that news story painted an incomplete picture, some home care providers and EVV vendors have told Home Health Care News.
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Big Year Coming for Electronic Visit Verification in Home Care

Coming guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) could settle some big questions regarding electronic visit verification (EVV) in home care, setting the stage for a lot of activity throughout 2018. read more

Kentucky becomes the first state allowed to impose Medicaid work requirement

A day after the Trump administration announced that it would allow states to compel poor people on Medicaid to work or get ready for jobs, federal health officials on Friday granted Kentucky permission to impose those requirements.
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Trump Administration Says States May Impose Work Requirements for Medicaid

The Trump administration said on Thursday that it would allow states to impose work requirements in Medicaid, a major policy shift that moves toward fulfilling a conservative vision for one of the nation's largest social insurance programs for low-income people.
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Health Care Just Became the U.S.'s Largest Employer

This moment was inevitable. It just wasn't supposed to happen so soon. Due to the inexorable aging of the country - and equally unstoppable growth in medical spending - it was long obvious that health-care jobs would slowly take up more and more of the economy. But in the last quarter, for the first time in history, health care has surpassed manufacturing and retail, the most significant job engines of the 20th century, to become the largest source of jobs in the U.S.
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CMS Introduces New Bundled Payment Model

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Tuesday introduced a new alternative payment model, the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced (BPCI Advanced). Home health services would be eligible to be reimbursed under this program.
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Golden Girls-Inspired Housing Offers Home Care, Affordability

Seniors in Nashville, Tennessee, seeking a manageable home environment could live out their golden years in a rental housing program that combines affordable housing with home care services.
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Net Neutrality Repeal Raises Questions for Home Health Tech

Thursday marked a major change for the future of the internet and possibly for some home health technologies. The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to repeal "net neutrality" rules that had implemented in 2015.
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Alexa Pilot Explores Benefits of Voice-Activated Home Health

"Hey, Alexa, what time should I take my medication today?" This exchange with Amazon's digital personal service assistant, Alexa, may soon be commonplace for older adults who wish to age in place, thanks to a pilot study conducted by Dublin, Ireland-based Accenture (NYSE: ACN), a global management consulting firm that provides services in technology, strategy and operations. read more

Honor Expands Caregiver Pool with New Partner Network

Building on its momentum of creating partnerships with other health care providers, San Francisco-based Honor has launched a new program with the aim of further expanding those types of arrangements. Honor, which has raised $65 million in funding, currently has partnerships with senior living providers, independent home care agencies and continuing care systems, among others. read more

CMS Finalizes Home Health Payment Rule Without HHGM

The home health groupings model (HHGM) has been defeated - for now. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final rule for the home health care prospective payment system (PPS) 2018 update without finalizing HHGM, which was proposed to be implemented in 2019.

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Untested proposals will cut Medicare and hurt seniors

By Dr. Steven Landers

As a family and geriatric medicine doctor, I am incredibly passionate about home health care, visiting nurse services and their incredible impact on America's seniors and family caregivers. For more than a decade I have been professionally immersed in home health care as a doctor making thousands of house calls to homebound seniors.

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NEWS RELEASE: National Home Health Leaders Host Policy Summit in DC to Advocate forPolicies to Protect Medicare Home Health Benefit

With policy changes on the horizon that could significantly harm Medicare's home health benefit through significant payment cuts, nearly 150 representatives from home health, hospice and homecare agencies across the country gathered in Washington today to ask lawmakers to support efforts to protect the approximately 3.5 million Medicare beneficiaries who depend on home health.

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Why Seniors are Hesitant to Embrace Home Care

Home care should be an attractive solution for seniors who want to age in place-—but, all too often, that's not the case.

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HomeHero Closure Casts Shadow Over Home Care 'Disrupters'

Millions of dollars in backing from seasoned venture funds and investors. Technology built to improve efficiencies and lower costs. And plenty of ambition.

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Senators Ask for Halt to Pre-Claim Before Florida Start Date

Lawmakers in Florida have teamed up to ask Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price to delay the implementation of the Pre-Claim Review Demonstration (PCRD) in the state.

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Gov. Pat McCrory signs waiver request to feds for Medicaid changes

Hours before submitting a waiver request to the federal government, North Carolina on Wednesday unveiled its finalized Medicaid overhaul proposal to lawmakers, with key provisions including privatizing the majority of services.

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Federal prosecution and fines didn't stop pain-pill prescribing

A January report to Virginia's House of Delegates said the state's Medicaid program spent $26 million on opioid use and misuse in 2013 and at least 40,000 adults in Virginia's Medicaid program have a substance abuse disorder.

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Couple sentenced to prison in $80 million Medicaid fraud in nation's capital

A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a Bowie, Md., wife and husband to 10 and seven years in prison, respectively, for orchestrating a multiyear campaign to defraud D.C. Medicaid of more than $80 million between 2009 and 2014, the largest local health-care fraud scheme ever prosecuted in the city.

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Partnership for Medicaid Home-Based Care Announces Additional Founding Members and Board of Directors

The Partnership for Medicaid Home-Based Care (Medicaid Partnership), a group of national homecare provider organizations formed to advance the integrity and delivery of high-quality, cost-effective Medicaid home-based care through proactive and constructive engagement with government leaders and across the Medicaid homebased care stakeholder community, is pleased to announce that All Metro and Centene have joined as Founding Members of the Medicaid Partnership.

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Council of State Home Care Associations Praises U.S. House Lawmakers forAsking CMS to Stop Proposed Home Health Cuts

The Council of State Home Care Associations - an organization of the associations representing homecare and hospice provider communities across the United States - today praised 133 bipartisan members of the U.S. House of Representatives for signing a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) asking the agency to revise proposed changes to the Medicare home health benefit, which would cut an additional $350 million in funding from the program in 2016.

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Partnership for Medicaid Home-Based Care Forms to Protect the Delivery of Home-Based Care Services to America's Medicaid Beneficiaries

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ - A group of national home care provider organizations has formed a new coalition - the Partnership for Medicaid Home-Based Care (Medicaid Partnership) - to advance the integrity and delivery of high-quality, cost-effective Medicaid home-based care through proactive and constructive engagement with government leaders and across the Medicaid home-based care stakeholder community.

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Medicare to Start Paying Doctors Who Coordinate Needs of Chronically Ill Patients

August 16 - In a policy change, the Obama administration is planning to pay doctors to coordinate the care of Medicare beneficiaries, amid growing evidence that patients with chronic illnesses suffer from disjointed, fragmented care.

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Report Discusses Consequences of Not Expanding Medicaid

August 15, 2014 - The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute released a brief highlighting the financial repercussions for the 24 states that have not expanded Medicaid. Deciding not to expand Medicaid, these states will collectively forgo $423.6 million in federal funding, and leave 6.7 million uninsured.

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Still No Word on IN Republicans' Alternative Medicaid Plan

April 15, 2014 - Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence and Republican state legislators are hopeful that their alternative plan to traditional Medicaid expansion is still being considered by the Administration despite Secretary Sebelius' recent resignation. The Governor has not heard from the Administration on this matter since he met with the former secretary in February 21. Gov. Pence had sent Secretary Sebelius a follow up letter on March 4.


Corbett plan will test federal agency on Medicaid

April 14, 2014 - Accompanying Corbett's proposal is a request to pare the existing Medicaid program for adults, including limiting hospital admissions, medical supplies and radiology procedures such as MRIs, CT scans and X-rays. That, Alker said, has nothing to do with the purpose of a waiver, and it is possible CMS tells Corbett to request those changes separately.


Kansas Senate Approves Prompt Pay Bill

March 26, 2014 - H.B. 2552 would provide a cause of action for providers who are not promptly paid by KanCare's MCOs. Providers will be able to assess a 12% fee each month that payment is not fully paid. The bill follows another such bill, S.B. 317, that stalled in the Senate in February.


Massachusetts Receives $110.6 Million Grant to Expand HCBS

March 25, 2014 - The $110.6 million grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stipulates that Massachusetts must spend at least 50 percent of their federal funds on home and community-based services (HCBS). Specific use of the funds will be determined in the coming months. This follows the Governor's FY 2015 budget which expands the Commonwealth Home Care Program by $16.9 million, as well as the Governor's proposal to expand Massachusetts' Supportive Housing Program from 31 to 41 sites.


Advocates Push for Amendment Banning HCBS Cuts in Louisiana

March 18, 2014 - Home and community-based services (HCBS) advocates are pushing for a constitutional amendment in Louisiana that would prevent rate reductions for HCBS and hospice. Similar constitutional amendments for hospital and nursing homes/intermediate care facilities will be presented to voters in the fall.


Kansas Officials Cleaning Up HCBS Waitlists

March 14, 2014 - Last week, Kansas sent letters to around 2,600 physically disabled, stating that if they did not reply by June 30 indicating an interest in receiving services, they would be taken off the wait list. The physical disability waiver currently has 5,515 beneficiaries, and Kansas is attempting to raise that capacity to 5,900.


New York Times Profiles MLTSS Shortcomings

March 6, 2014 - The New York Times discusses the negative impacts of cost containment in managed long term services and supports (MLTSS) programs in Tennessee, New York, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.


California PACE Program Faces Significant Reimbursement Cuts

March 3, 2014 - California's Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a program used to keep seniors and the disabled living at home at 11% of the cost of skilled nursing facility care, has faced cuts over the last six years. A bill in California's Assembly hopes to reverse the 10% MediCal cuts effective late last year.


Elder Abuse Bills Gain Traction in Georgia and Iowa

February 17, 2014 - In Georgia, a House panel approved a bill that would increase the first offense of operating an unlicensed personal care home from a misdemeanor to a felony. In Iowa, a bill would provide emergency orders and resources and referrals for elderly abuse victims.


California Replaces Sanctioned Plans for Duals Demo

February 14, 2014 - Two of California's duals plans had been sanctioned this year by CMS, one because of marketing and enrollment issues, and the other because of quality issues. California has managed to substitute the two contractors with three. The revised start date for the Duals Demo, though previously delayed numerous times, remains at April of this year.


North Carolina Paying Millions in Consulting Fees to Revamp Medicaid

February 14, 2014 - One consultant contract, for $3.25 million, provides for a reorganization of NC's Medicaid department, while the second, at almost $500,000, seeks to assess the state's fraud and audit capabilities and provide recommendations in that space.


Florida MCOs Transitioning Enrollees from Nursing Homes to Home Care

February 10, 2014 - Sunshine Health, one of seven of Florida's Medicaid MCOs, has transitioned 163 Medicaid enrollees from the nursing home. Seventy of those have been transitioned to home care. Florida is in the process of transitioning 45,000 nursing home residents and 40,000 home care and assisted living facilities residents to managed care.


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