Home health agencies get new rules for Medicare and Medicaid programs
The revisions of the participation conditions are meant to increase the quality of patient care delivered by home health agencies and reflect an interdisciplinary view of patient care. Other goals include making quality care standards easier for home health agencies to meet with greater flexibility, and the elimination of what the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services called unnecessary procedural requirements.
“These changes are an integral part of our overall effort to achieve broad-based, measurable improvements in the quality of care furnished through the Medicare and Medicaid programs, while at the same time eliminating unnecessary procedural burdens on providers,” the text of the final rule said.
The changes to the program include a move away from a punitive-based review of providers with an overall goal of focusing more financial resources on improving the quality of care for all patients and stimulating broad-based improvements rather than dealing with marginal providers.
Services covered under the new rule include a wide variety of health care needs, many of which are commonplace for elderly patients including part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care; physical therapy, speech-language pathology and occupational therapy; medical social services under the direction of a physician; medical supplies excluding drugs and biological; services of interns and residents in some cases; and services at hospitals, nursing homes or rehabilitation centers in some cases.
The final rule won’t apply until July 13.