CMS Releases Final Rule Amending Home Health CoPs

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On January 9, 2017, the Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released final rules setting forth amended conditions of participation for home health agencies (HHAs). These are the minimum health and safety standards that home health agencies must adhere to in order to qualify to participate in Medicare and Medicaid. Highlights of the rule include:

  • A patient rights condition of participation and the steps that must be taken to assure those rights.
  • An expanded patient assessment requirement.
  • A requirement that patients and caregivers have written information about upcoming visits, medication instructions, treatments administered, instructions for care, and the contact information of a HHA clinical manager.
  • A requirement for an integrated communication system that ensures that patient needs are identified and addressed and care is coordinated among all disciplines.
  • A requirement for a data-driven, agency-wide quality assessment and performance improvement program.
  • A new infection prevention and control requirement.
  • A skilled professional services requirement that focuses on appropriate patient care activities and supervision.
  • A coordination requirement that makes a licensed clinician responsible for all patient care services.
  • Revisions to simplify the organizational structure of home health agencies.
  • New personnel qualifications for HHA administrators and clinical managers.

Although the rule is slated to become effective on July 14, 2017, the President’s Freeze Memo has called into question whether the effective date will remain in place and, in fact, whether the regulations will go into effect at all. See our Health Law Alert published with this Health Law Update Memo.

Related Practices:   Healthcare Law

Related Attorney:   Lani M. Dornfeld, Edward Hilzenrath

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