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NAHC Report: Issue# 2584, 1/14/2015
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NAHC, along with Home Care Patients and Caregivers, Wins Huge Legal Victory
NAHC Submits Comments to CMS on the Proposed Rule for the Home Health Conditions of Participation
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NAHC, along with Home Care Patients and Caregivers, Wins Huge Legal Victory
Federal Court Rules to Strike Down Controversial New Overtime Rule

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and its members today celebrated the decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia invalidating a proposed new U. S. Department of Labor (DOL) overtime rule slated to take effect on January 1, 2015.

“This decision is a huge victory for patients and their families who will be able to continue receiving home care services without interruption. The decision is a huge victory for caregivers who will continue to be protected instead of being forced to work only part time. The decision is likewise a huge victory for the agencies that serve patients and employ caregivers, and who will see continuity in a rule that has been in effect for 40 plus years and had recently been sustained by the U.S. Supreme Court. Finally, the decision is a huge victory for the states and the federal Medicaid program.” said Denise Schrader, chairman of the NAHC Board.

This is the third victory in this lawsuit for home care interests within the last month. On December 22, the court ruled that patients are entitled to equal rights regardless of whether they or their families paid their home care bills or they were paid by the joint, federal-state health insurance program, known as Medicaid. On December 31, the court ruled for NAHC by agreeing to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) blocking the DOL from enforcing new rules related to “companionship” and “live-in” care. On January 9, the court, in considering a motion from NAHC attorneys for an injunction to block enforcement of residual parts of these rules through this date or a trial, stated that so much evidence was in the record there would be no need for a trial. The judge therefore agreed to give his decision on the case on or by January 14, when the TRO was set to expire. Today, the judge ruled for NAHC and home care interests, saying the proposed new DOL rules violated the law.

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NAHC Submits Comments to CMS on the Proposed Rule for the Home Health Conditions of Participation

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice recently submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the proposed rule for the home health conditions of participation (HHCOPs). CMS issued the proposed rule on October 8, 2014 with a 60-day comment period. The comment period was extended by an additional 30 days, to January 7, in response to requests from NAHC and others within the industry.

The proposed revisions to the HHCOPs focuses on a patient-centered, data driven, outcome-oriented process that promotes high quality of care, while at the same time eliminating unnecessary procedural burdens on HHAs. While NAHC agrees that many of the proposed changes will result in improved patient care by allowing agencies to focus their efforts on processes and initiatives that have a direct impact on high-quality care, there were several areas that raised concerns. NAHC recommended for following in the comments that it submitted:

Patient Rights:

As a general comment, NAHC requested that CMS clearly indicate in the rule what actions are required of home health actions that must be communicated in writing. While there are a number of standards that specifically reference written or verbal notice, there are others that leave it open to interpretation.

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CMS Regulations, Medicare Cuts and Copyaments, and Other Priorites for 2015
NAHC members urged to voice their opinions on these and other critical issues by filling out one of the brief Priorites surveys below

In preparation for next year's largest gathering of home care and hospice advocates in Washington, DC at the 2015 Home Care and Hospice March on Washington, March 22-25, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and its affiliate Hospice Association of America (HAA) are soliciting members' and advocates' input regarding the most important and significant legislative and regulatory challenges and concerns for the home care and hospice community.

NAHC will use these priorities to guide its legislative and regulatory advocacy during the March on Washington and throughout 2015.

Three simple online questionnaires are now available to allow home care and hospice organizations, as well as other interested parties, to provide their input. The questionnaires will only be available through Tuesday, January 20, 2015.

Please take a moment and cast your votes as soon as possible. Agencies or organizations that provide only hospice care are asked to complete only the hospice questionnaire.

The questionnaires include:

Legislative Priorities Survey:

Hospice Priorities Survey:

Regulatory Priorities Survey:

Items should be ranked on the questionnaires according to the level of importance the voter believes they hold for the home care and hospice community.

Again, questionnaires must be completed no later than Tuesday, January 20, 2015 to allow votes to be included in each final tally. Please note that each agency is allowed only one submission; faxed copies of the questionnaire cannot be accepted.

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