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Home Care Industry News Digest

Home Care Industry News Digest

Medicare Medicaid Private Duty External News

As the home care industry continues to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of patients/clients, staying informed about recent developments is crucial. In this periodic roundup, we highlight key news stories and insights from across the country that shed light on the latest trends, challenges, and innovations in home care services. From advances in technology to policy changes impacting Medicare and Medicaid, these articles provide valuable insights into the current state of the home care industry and offer perspectives on its future direction. Let's delve into the details of each article to gain a comprehensive understanding of the latest happenings in the home care sector.

Lawmakers Set to Pass $117.46B Budget

The News Service of Florida | March 5, 2024 | Read Online

Florida's 60-day legislative session is nearing its conclusion with the release of a $117.46 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The budget, finalized after negotiations between House and Senate budget leaders, is expected to be passed on time. It represents a decrease of nearly 1.4% from the current fiscal year's budget but includes additional spending on health care, education, and environmental initiatives. Highlights include a 3% pay raise for state employees, increased funding for public schools, including teacher salaries, and significant allocations for Everglades restoration and flood mitigation.

Providers Meet With OMB to Prevent ‘Devastating’ Effect of 80/20 Provision

McKnight's Home Care | March 4, 2024 | Read Online

Home care industry representatives, such as the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA), have recently engaged with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to express apprehensions regarding the proposed Medicaid Access Rule's 80/20 provision. This requirement mandates that 80% of Medicaid payments for personal care, home health, and homemaker services must be allocated to workers' compensation. OMB review constitutes the concluding phase of the federal rulemaking process. While the exact timeline remains uncertain, insiders anticipate the rule's finalization to occur around the commencement of April.

Home Health Disparities: Medicare Advantage Patients Receive Fewer Visits, Worse Outcomes

Home Health Care News | March 1, 2024 | Read Online

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington's Department of Rehabilitation Medicine revealed disparities in home health care between patients under Medicare Advantage (MA) plans and those under traditional Medicare. The study, which included nearly 300,000 patients across 102 home health agencies in 19 states, found that MA patients received fewer home health visits and experienced worse functional outcomes compared to their traditional Medicare counterparts. Specifically, MA patients had shorter home health stays and lower odds of improving mobility and self-care. These differences may stem from administrative burdens and cost-limiting incentives inherent in MA plans. Despite some additional benefits, such as coordination of care, concerns have been raised about access to care within MA plans, as they often employ measures like prior authorization and visit limitations to control costs.

3 Predictions for the Future of Post-Acute Care

Becker's Hospital Review | February 28, 2024 | Read More

A recent article from Becker's Hospital Review surveyed three health care leaders for their predictions and aspirations regarding the future of post-acute care in the next 50 years. Key themes include a transition towards delivering care in non-hospital settings, the necessity for robust in-home care resources, advancements in technology to empower patient independence, and enhancements in communication among post-acute care facilities and providers. Furthermore, there is an emphasis on workforce development and the creation of inclusive professional pathways to address the changing needs of patients.

The Path for Occupational Therapy to Lose Its ‘Second-Tier’ Status in Home Health Care

Home Health Care News | February 20, 2024 | Read Online

Home Health Care News recently shed light on a notable gap within Medicare Part A's home health benefit: occupational therapists (OTs) services are currently the only skilled service that does not automatically qualify a beneficiary for Medicare’s Part A home health benefit. Consequently, OT services cannot be provided in a beneficiary’s home unless nursing or other therapy services are simultaneously ordered at the start of care. However, recent flexibilities during the pandemic have underscored the feasibility and advantages of integrating OTs into home health care, which has garnered increased support for proposed legislative action.

In response to this issue, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers introduced the Medicare Home Health Accessibility Act (H.R.7148) in late January. This proposed bill has garnered bipartisan backing and seeks to rectify disparities in home health services by empowering OTs to initiate cases independently. By allowing OTs to be ordered as standalone home health services for Medicare beneficiaries, the legislation aims to benefit both agencies and patients alike.

Click here to action now by reaching out to your elected officials and voicing your support for this crucial legislation!

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