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NAHC Report: Issue# 2356, 1/21/2014
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ARTICLE ARCHIVES MEMBER RESOURCES eNEWSLETTERS CARING STORE
MedPAC Approves 2015 Recommendations on Home Health Services
NAHC Receives Clarification on the EHR Exception and Safe Harbor Provisions for Health IT
For Your Information: NAHC 2014 March on Washington Conference & Exposition
NAHC/Home Care & Hospice Events
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MedPAC Approves 2015 Recommendations on Home Health Services

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission met on January 16 and 17 to consider and vote on its recommendations to Congress for 2015 payment rate changes and other reforms. Annually, MedPAC issues its “March Report” to Congress setting out a wide range of recommendation predominately focused on payment rates for all Medicare provider sectors. In addition, these reports often present recommendations on broader system reforms.

This year the Commission decided to maintain last year’s home health recommendations on payment related matters and to add a new one on penalties for providers that show a high degree of avoidable readmissions to hospitals. The left-over payment recommendations include:

  • A zero inflation update (Market Basket Index/MBI)
  • Accelerate rate rebasing from a 4 year phase-in to a shorter period, e.g. 2 years
  • Reduce reimbursement for therapy episodes
  • Institute a copay for patients that are not admitted from inpatient care
  • Expand fraud and abuse efforts to address regions with aberrant patterns of utilization

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NAHC/HAA Oppose MedPAC Payment and Care Recommendations

At its January meeting held last week, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) approved recommendations that direct Congress to include hospice care under the Medicare Advantage (MA) benefit package effective 2016 and impose a zero update for Medicare hospice payment rates for fiscal year (FY) 2015. The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and its affiliated Hospice Association of America (HAA) oppose these recommendations and will advocate against their implementation by Congress.

Historically hospice has been “carved out” from coverage under Medicare’s private plans. MedPAC is seeking inclusion of hospice under MA based on concerns that the current carveout of hospice from MA fragments financial responsibility and accountability for care, results in complex coverage rules for MA enrollees, and makes MA plans’ financial responsibility for end-of-life care uneven across their enrollees. “We understand MedPAC’s rationale that inclusion of hospice under MA may create greater symmetry in coverage between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage, but we worry that this change will seriously limit the most important health care provider choice of a beneficiary’s life,” said NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris. “While MedPAC’s recommendation suggests that MA plans would be required to cover the hospice benefit as defined by current law, our experience with home health under MA plans indicates that the plans will second guess care decisions made by hospice clinical teams and could place preauthorization or other limitations on services.

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NAHC 2014 March on Washington Conference & Exposition
Mayflower Renaissance Hotel | Washington, DC | March 23-26, 2014

Two Week Special Offer for NAHC Members!

Act now and save on one of NAHC’s most exciting events. Starting January 15, NAHC members can register for the 2014 March on Washington Conference & Exposition at the special rate of $350. That’s nearly $150 in savings if you register by January 29. Don’t wait because this offer is only valid for two weeks.

The 2014 March on Washington Conference & Exposition provides the perfect chance for you to make an impact on those who make the policies that affect home care and hospice. Together we can raise awareness of the issues that shape our business. So lend your voice as we deliver a unified message on Capitol Hill. Meet with your members of Congress. Tell them why home care matters to constituents in your state. Then take advantage of an unrivalled chance to network with your peers and attend educational sessions led by experts in our field.

You’ll receive full admission to the educational sessions and exhibit hall and hear addresses by leading advocates for home and hospice. You’ll get insights from political pundits who have the inside scoop on Washington, DC.

To take advantage of our special offer, you can register the following ways:

  • To register, click here.
  • By fax: 202.547.3660
  • By mail: NAHC Meetings, P.O. Box 37558, Baltimore, MD 21297-3558

To make Hotel Reservations: The NAHC Discount Rate is 289.00/night (single/double) or $389.00/night (suite), click here.

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