NAHC’s Forum of State Associations Sends Letter to CMS Supporting a Phase-in Approach to Face-to-Face Enforcement
December 16, 2014 10:08 AM
NAHC’s affiliate, the Forum of State Associations (FSA), recently sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner urging a phased-in approach to the new face-to-face documentation requirements. The new requirements are scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2015. FSA’s letter closely follows one sent by NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris to Ms. Tavenner on the same issue.
According to the letter:
“We write in strong support for a phase-in of the enforcement of the new physician documentation requirements in the Medicare home health services face-to- face physician encounter rule scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2015…
As of this date, neither the industry nor physicians have received any instruction beyond the language change in the final rule. A provider call is scheduled for December 16th. Even if all of the industry’s questions are answered on 12/16/14, there is simply insufficient time with the holiday schedule to conduct internal staff education, develop internal process and checks, along with informing physician referral sources at both private practices and hospitals of the expected changes in their work flow processes.
Almost since the inception of the current face to face rule, members of the FSA have expressed concerns with the clarity, comprehensiveness, and dissemination of educational materials, both to home health agencies and to physicians. Yet, FSA members have worked diligently to educate referral sources and to drive compliance. Once again, we expect to play a strong role in assisting our member agencies again to do so. However, we need more time.
We understand that the effective date for the changes is set in the rule and cannot be changed. But with this commitment from state associations in every region to conduct outreach and education, it is our hope that CMS will conduct educative, rather than punitive, enforcement of the rule for at least the first half of 2015. CMS took such action with the original rule requirements and has done so in numerous other circumstances involving home health agencies and other providers. For example, CMS did not immediately enforce the requirement that certifying physicians be enrolled in PECOS. It is our firm belief that such an approach will be beneficial for patients and providers and drive better compliance, which is what we all support.”
To read more on the letter sent by NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris, please see NAHC Report, December 12, 2014.
To read the full letter sent to CMS from the Forum of State Associations, please click here.