CMS releases home health final rule

AHA News Now

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today released the final rule for the home health prospective payment system for calendar year 2015, which updates Medicare payment rates to home health agencies and implements the second year of the four-year phase in of the rebasing of this payment system. Overall, as proposed, the rule reduces home health payments by 0.3% from 2014 payment levels, a $60 million reduction. The regulation also simplifies the requirements for the congressionally-mandated face-to-face encounter policy, which requires a physician to meet face-to-face with patients transitioning from general acute-care hospitals and other settings to home care to certify that the service is medically necessary. The final rule eliminates the requirement for the inclusion of a narrative in the physician's certification of need. Further, in a move supported by the AHA, the agency will replace the current schedule for therapy reassessments with a requirement that such reassessments occur every 30 days, a longer interval than proposed, in alignment with the AHA's recommendation. The regulation also establishes a minimum threshold for determining whether HH agencies have submitted sufficient patient assessment data to calculate quality measures. The rule takes effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

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