Effective Date for New Home Health COPs Delayed
On July 10, 2017, the Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule delaying the effective date for the new Conditions of Participation (COPs) for Home Health Agencies (HHAs). CMS delayed the original effective date of July 13, 2017 to January 13, 2018 in response to concerns that HHAs will need a significant amount of time and effort to prepare for the implementation of the new rules, which may require adjustments to resource allocation, to staffing and, potentially, to infrastructure.
In line with the delay in effective date, the final rule also includes two conforming amendments to dates that appear in the regulation text. First, the phase-in date for the requirements at § 484.65(d)—‘‘Standard: Performance improvement projects’’ is delayed until July 13, 2018. This allows HHAs an additional six months to collect data before implementing data-driven projects. Second, the final rule revises § 484.115(a)—‘‘Standard: Administrator, home health agency.’’ In this provision, all administrators employed by HHAs prior to the effective date of January 2017 were “grandfathered in” meaning that those administrators employed by an HHA prior to July 13, 2017 would not have to meet the new personnel requirements. The final rule replaces the July 13, 2017 effective date with the effective date of January 13, 2018.