Tiptastic Tuesday: CMS Home Health Open Door Forum Tomorrow

HMS Healthcare Management SolutionsThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will hold a Home Health, Hospice & Durable Medical Equipment Open Door Forum on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 from 2:00-3:00pm ET.

Topics include the Open Enrollment Announcement, Home Health & Hospice Quality Update, as well as updates on Home Health Care CAHPS & OASIS training.

Call (800) 837-1935 to participate and use conference ID 76245818.

Session Wrap-Up: Hospice Bill Passes, Med Admin Still Alive

Earlier this week, Connecticut’s Senate gave final legislative approval to a compromise bill allowing more hospice organizations to offer inpatient services to people with advanced, irreversible illnesses. The bill defines two types of hospices: a short-term hospital special hospice and the new hospice facility category, which allows existing hospice organizations to create inpatient facilities. The bill now moves to Governor Malloy as the Department of Public Health (DPH) reviews draft regulations for hospices.

A bill seeking to relax the legal requirement only allowing nurses to administer medication to clients receiving home care didn’t pass this session, but language allowing the change is expected to be included in legislation taken up during a special session later this year. Savings from the change are already included in the budget. In March, Director of Home Care & Hospice Services for HMS Healthcare Management Solutions, Kim Skehan, testified before the Human Services Committee she would tentatively support a thoughtful approach to personal care assistants or home health aides administering medications in specific situations with defined training and oversight, she has concerns for the safety and welfare of clients.

“Assessment requires the skills of a licensed nurse or other qualified professional,” said Skehan. Judgment calls on the administration of medication “fall outside of the scope of practice and training for home health aides and personal care assistants.”

HMS will continue to monitor the progress of this bill.  Stay tuned to the HMS blog for details as they unfold.

Hospice Bill Passes Committee Vote

A bill that would revamp decades-old regulations in Connecticut to allow more hospice organizations to offer inpatient services has passed its first legislative hurdle.  Members of the General Assembly’s Public Health Committee voted 26-to-0 in favor of the legislation on Monday.

Under the proposed legislation more hospice providers would be able to offer inpatient services.  Advocates say they are concerned that proposed hospice residences would refer patients to emergency rooms to handle acute pain, while other hospice groups argue Connecticut families need more local choices for end-of-life care.

Governor M. Jodi Rell proposed changing the regulations in 2010. The bill awaits further legislative action in the House of Representatives.


HMS Supports Proposed Hospice Care Regulations

HMS Director of Home Care & Hospice Services, Kim Skehan, submitted testimony to the Public Health Committee in support of H.B. 5499, An Act Concerning Regulations Relating To Hospice Care.    The proposed revisions to the hospice facility regulations, developed in an effort to provide terminally ill patients greater access to hospice service and care, have been waiting final approval for several months.

“It is time for these regulations to be passed and implemented,” said Skehan.

Click here to read Skehan’s testimony in its entirety.  To view and read through all submitted to the Public Health Committee, click here.