CMS Extends Medicare Home Health Agency Moratoria Another Six Months
July 29, 2014 03:29 PM
CMS recently announced that it was extending the moratoria on new home health agencies for another six months. CMS did not expand the moratoria to any additional geographic areas. The moratorium affects Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale, Detroit, Dallas, Houston, and Chicago areas.
CMS explains that the number of HHAs in those markets remains sufficient to serve beneficiaries while the risk of fraud and abuse in those areas continues. Existing providers and suppliers can continue to deliver and bill for services, but no new provider and supplier applications will be approved in these areas.
This is the second six-month extension of the existing moratoria that will begin on Thursday, July 31. CMS may lift the moratoria earlier or extend it another six months by issuing another notice in the Federal Register. During the moratoria period, CMS and the affected States will continue to monitor access to care to ensure that Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries are receiving the services they need.
NAHC has recommended the use of a moratorium in home health for a number of years, and spearheaded the inclusion of authority for it in the Affordable Care Act of 2010. NAHC also supports the extension announced by CMS.
When CMS issued its previous moratorium, Val J. Halamandaris, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), issued the following statement:
"NAHC has advocated for a moratorium on the certification of new Medicare home health providers in certain areas of the country where an overabundance of providers leads to potentially abusive practices. The extension and expansion of the home health moratorium is a necessary and appropriate measure," said Val J. Halamandaris, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice. “We will continue to work with CMS to establish home care as the benchmark of program integrity in Medicare."
For more information, please see the CMS press release here.
The Federal Register notice is available here.