When CMS refers to the certifying physician, they are referring to the physician who is certifying that the patient is eligible for home health services. There are five things the physician certifies to:
- The home health services are or were needed because the patient is homebound.
- The patient needs or needed skilled services on an intermittent basis.
- A plan of care has been established and is periodically reviewed by a physician.
- The services are or were furnished while the patient is or was under the care of a physician.
- The patient had a face-to-face encounter within the prescribe time frame, was related to the primary reason for home health services, and was conducted by a physician or allowed non-physician practitioner (NPP).
A physician who is not signing the POC is permitted to certify the patient only when the patient has been cared for by a physician in an acute or post-acute facility. Therefore, it is possible for the physician in the facility to conduct and complete the F2F encounter documentation and certify the patient without signing the POC. The facility physician may also choose to complete the encounter documentation and not certify the patient (does not complete all five elements of the certification). The facility physician would send the encounter findings to the physician in the community to complete the certification and sign the POC.
*Information above has been provided by NAHC.