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:: NAHC Report
NAHC Report: Issue# 2346, 1/6/2014
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ARTICLE ARCHIVES MEMBER RESOURCES eNEWSLETTERS CARING STORE
NAHC’s Legislative Year in Review: Some Important Successes and Some Battles Left to Fight
NAHC/HAA Respond to Recent Misleading Article About Hospices in the Washington Post
For Your Information: 2014 Provider Enrollment Application Fee Published or Hospice Providers
NAHC/Home Care & Hospice Events
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NAHC’s Legislative Year in Review: Some Important Successes and Some Battles Left to Fight

After a year filled with challenges for the home care and hospice community, 2013 ended on a positive note with several important successes. Both the House and Senate were able to agree on a budget deal that saw no new Medicare home health or hospice payment cuts and no home health or hospice copayments - two significant victories for NAHC and its members. Congress returned this week for the second session of the 113th Congress.

For more on the budget deal please see NAHC Report from December 17, 2013.

In terms of other success during the year, NAHC saw legislative accomplishments with respect to the introduction of the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act that would allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to sign home health plans of care; the introduction of the Hospice Evaluation and Legitimate Payment (HELP) Act that would refine the hospice face-to-face requirement, require a demonstration of hospice payment reform, and increase hospice survey frequency; and the introduction of a bill that would modify the Affordable Care Act to define full time for purposes of the ACA employer obligations as 40 hours rather than 30 hours.

2013 also saw the inclusion of several NAHC-initiated pieces of legislation in the broader Senate Medicare physician payment fix package (SGR) - which Congress is scheduled to take up in the coming months. Both the Fostering Independence Through Technology (FITT) Act and a bill to allow physician assistants to act as the hospice attending physician were included in the Senate’s language.

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NAHC/HAA Respond to Recent Misleading Article About Hospices in the Washington Post

The Washington Post recently published an article entitled, “Hospice firms draining billions from Medicare.”  The Hospice Association of America (HAA) – a National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) affiliate – took umbrage with many of the article’s implications and offered a detailed response in the form of a Letter to the Editor signed by Carla Braveman, RN, MED, CHCE.  Braveman has served as Chair of HAA and as the Hospice Representative to the NAHC Board of Directors for the last four years.

NAHC delayed publication of its response to maximize the potential that the Letter to the Editor would be printed in the Post.  While Ms. Braveman’s letter was not published, it is supplied below in its entirety:

To the Editor:

Hospice care is highly regarded by patients, families, and health practitioners alike because it provides effective comfort, relief, and support to terminally ill individuals and their loved ones.  We read with great concern your recent investigative report, “Hospice Firms Draining Billions from Medicare”   (Washington Post, Dec. 26, 2013).  The article implies that hospices are taking advantage of the Medicare program on a widespread basis by admitting patients who “aren’t actually dying” and keeping those patients on service in order to reap profits —an implication we believe to be far from the truth...

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2014 Provider Enrollment Application Fee Published or Hospice Providers

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that beginning January 1, 2014 the provider enrollment application fee will be $542.00. Hospice providers will pay this amount if they need to revalidate their enrollment (via a revalidation request from a hospice’s assigned Medicare administrative contractor); complete a new CMS Form 855A, and when becoming a new provider.

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