Hospice CAHPS Survey Update

NAHC has compiled a summary of the recent materials posted to the Hospice CAHPS website. The information is taken from the “What’s New?” section of the website. Click here to see it.

There is a deadline of May 1, 2015, for hospices to complete the Survey Vendor Authorization Form.

Click here for more information from NAHC.


Home Health Star Rating System Begins In July

CMS has announced plans to implement a five star rating system for home health agencies on the Home Health Compare website starting in July 2015. The Home Health Compare (HHC) Star Rating includes nine of the 22 currently reported process and outcome quality measures. These measures include three process measures, five outcome measures, and one claims based measure. The methodology for calculating “is based on a combination of individual measure rankings and the statistical significance of the difference between the performance of an individual HHA on each measure and the performance of all HHAs.” These quality measure values for HHAs are compared to the national agency median with their rating adjusted to reflect the differences relative to other agencies’ quality measure values. The adjusted ratings are then combined into one overall HHC Star Rating that summarizes each of the nine individual measures.

Please note, CMS is sponsoring a webinar to review the format of the report and the process for requesting review of the HHC rating on March 26, 2015, at 1 p.m. ET. Click here to register for this webinar.

Click here to view frequently asked questions on the HHC Star Rating System.

Click here to read more.


Hospices Must Meet Aggregate Cap Deadline Or Risk Payment Suspension

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) has put together a list of issues related to the new CMS requirements for hospices to self-calculate and report their aggregate cap status to their assigned Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) within five months following the close of the cap year. During this time frame, hospices are also required to pay back or make payment arrangements for any liability. There is some confusion among hospice providers about the applicability of the requirement and how to meet it on a timely basis. NAHC has put together an article that provides answers to frequently-asked questions related to the hospice cap reporting requirement and supplied information on how providers can meet the requirement. Click here to read NAHC’s article.

Tiptastic Tuesday: Top 3 Data Security Issues For Physician Practices

Healthcare technology is starting to play a bigger role in patient care, greatly increasing the chances of patients’ protected health information (PHI) to be compromised. This means that it’s more important than ever for practices to keep their eyes on security trends to stay in compliance and avoid data breaches.

Here are three of the top issues practices will face this year relating to data security:

  1. More laws regulating data sharing with business associates (BAs). Trusting BAs with sensitive patient data is necessary to a practice’s operations. However, breaches can easily occur if PHI isn’t shared securely. This year, there will be increased legal scrutiny for these relationships. Make sure you have language in your contracts discussing the specifics of your associates’ security protocol.
  2. Financial woes from breaches. If practices don’t invest the money into resources needed to keep PHI safe, they will be paying for it later. With every new data breach, there will be higher fines and more lawsuits from patients and other affected parties. It will be much less costly to budget for data encryption and other security features than to face these exorbitant fees.
  3. Seamless data sharing. This year, there will be more pressure on practices to have electronic health records (EHR) systems that easily and securely share PHI with other healthcare providers. Be sure to discuss the possibility of such interoperability with your EHR vendor.

Monday Morning Recap

The HMS Healthcare Management Solutions Monday Morning Recap reviews some of the top stories and healthcare highlights you may have missed last week.

PEPPER To Be Available For Home Health Agencies

Home Health Agencies (HHAs) will have a “free” tool available to help them assess their risk of improper Medicare payments beginning July 2015. TMF Health Quality Institute is developing a new Program for Evaluating Payment Patterns Electronic Report (PEPPER) for HHAs. PEPPER is an educational tool to help providers proactively monitor their claims and work to prevent improper Medicare payments. It summarizes an HHA’s Medicare claims data in areas that may be at risk for improper Medicare payments and compares the HHA’s statistics with aggregate statistics for the nation, MAC jurisdiction and the state. If a provider’s statistics are at or above the national 80th percentile, the provider is identified as an “outlier” and may be at risk for improper Medicare payments.

Click here to read more.

5 Post-ACA Healthcare Trends To Watch

According to a new report by PwC, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had a profound impact on the healthcare industry in the last five years and will continue to do so. The report identifies five industry trends to watch:

  • The shift to value-based care.
  • A renewed focus on primary care.
  • A new emphasis on innovation.
  • A move from wholesale health insurance to retail insurance.
  • A new focus on the state’s role in healthcare form.

Click here to see the report.

Click here to read more.