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NAHC Report: Issue# 2488, 8/14/2014
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NAHC Responds to Recent Health Affairs Report
CMS Announces its Next Home Health, Hospice and DME Open Door Forum
For Your Information: NAHC’s Most Recent Hospice Teleconference Now Available Online
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NAHC Responds to Recent Health Affairs Report

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) recently responded to a study that appeared in Health Affairs that is critical of for-profit home health agencies. While the Health Affairs analysis found that for-profit home healthcare agencies had an average cost per patient that is 18 percent higher than not-for-profit agencies, NAHC disputes the validity of the analysis, stating the cost-report data used in the survey to justify its findings was not reliable. Additionally, neither MedPAC nor CMS use the information that was used as the basis for the analysis in a similar way.

A recent article in Modern Healthcare highlighted the Health Affairs findings, and also included NAHC’s response. According to the article, the Health Affairs study “goes further, posing the question of whether for-profit home health agencies should be allowed to continue receiving payments under Medicare; before 1980 they couldn’t be paid through Medicare.”

NAHC also firmly rejects this conclusion, citing the severe access to care this would cause, and rejecting the assumption that care delivered by for-profit compared to non-profit agencies makes a difference in the cost or quality of care delivered.

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CMS Announces its Next Home Health, Hospice and DME Open Door Forum
Forum will be held Wednesday, August 20

CMS has announced that its next Home Health, Hospice and DME Open Door Forum will be held next Wednesday, August 20. NAHC members are encouraged to note that some key issues will be addressed, including the revised hospice cost report for freestanding agencies.  

The link that accompanied the announcement appears to be the second version of the cost report that was issued on November 22, 2013.  It is unclear whether these will be the actual, final cost report forms and instructions for freestanding agencies that CMS has indicated will be required for cost reporting years beginning October 1, 2014, and afterward, or if CMS will release another version that incorporates some of the additional changes that were recommended by the industry during December 2013. 

NAHC wanted to point out that the cost report changes are on the agenda, and that the forms and instructions appear to be the versions that were released last November.  NAHC has requested clarification from CMS as to whether these are the final versions or if there will be additional modifications - which, if they occur, should be limited.

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NAHC’s Most Recent Hospice Teleconference Now Available Online

For those who were unable to join NAHC’s teleconference on the Hospice Final Rule, the full audio is now available online.

Presented by NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris, Theresa Forster, Katie Wehri, and Bill Dombi, the teleconference covered a wide range of issues that will affect hospices one the Final Rule goes into effect.

The audio is now available on the NAHC website by clicking here.

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