CMS proposes nonskilled service coverage as additional benefit to Medicare Advantage

On February 1, 2018, CMS proposed new Medicare Advantage and Part D payment and policy updates to provide new benefits, some nonskilled, for enrollees.
The development, if passed, could change how agencies focus their business.
“I think for private duty, this is a big plus,” says Diane Link, director of clinical services with Conshohocken, Pa.-based BlackTree Healthcare Consulting. “I think it also gives opportunity for private duty agencies to really start considering having skilled care as part …

CJR localities halved; hip fracture episode payment model eliminated

CMS has finalized its plan to cancel four mandatory episode payment models for common cardiac and orthopedic conditions, according to a rule posted Nov. 30. The models had been due to begin in January.
Within the same rule, CMS also finalized its plan to dial back the comprehensive care of joint replacement (CJR) program that has been in effect since April 2016.
The change takes effect Jan. 1.

Update your complaint process: New CoP requires investigation, documentation

The following is from Home Health Line. For more news and information on home health and hospice, visit
Agencies should educate staff and patients now to ensure compliance with new complaint process expectations outlined in the revised Home Health Conditions of Participation (CoPs).
There’s plenty of work to do between training and tweaking certain forms, policies and possibly your entire complaint process. So agencies shouldn’t wait to prepare until interpretive guidelines are released late this year, …

Dying At Home In An Opioid Crisis: Hospices Grapple With Stolen Meds

The following is republished with permission from the author, Melissa Bailey, Kaiser Health News.
Nothing seemed to help the patient — and hospice staff didn’t know why.
They sent home more painkillers for weeks. But the elderly woman, who had severe dementia and incurable breast cancer, kept calling out in pain.
The answer came when the woman’s daughter, who was taking care of her at home, showed up in the emergency room with a life-threatening overdose of …