COVID-19 Changes the Rules for Home Health Providers
We believe home health's role in this pandemic is just beginning and will expand dramatically. Providing care in the home to the vulnerable will save lives and "flatten the curve. CMS understands home health’s expanding role and is breaking down barriers to care. There are opportunities for all agencies to grow to meet this challenge.
To help home health agencies stay informed with the latest CMS updates, waivers, and changes regarding in the COVID-19 pandemic, we have compiled a list to date, March 31, 2020. Many of these items will help your HHA put patient's before regulations and paper work in the coming weeks and months:
- Homebound Status- Any individual the physician deems at risk of contracting COVID-19 virus due to a compromised health condition, is “medically contraindicated” to leave the home.
- Extending the five-day completion requirement for the comprehensive assessment to 30 days.
- Suspending all medical review audits with the exception of fraud.
- Waiving the 30-day OASIS submission requirement.
- Suspending RCD- Agencies may choose to continue PCR or claims may be subject to possible post claim review.
- Allowing nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and clinical nurse specialists to certify eligibility for the home health benefits and to establish and manage the Plan of Care.
- Waiving of onsite visit for home health aide supervision.
- Allowing MACs to extend the auto-cancellation date of RAPs.
- Accelerated payment options available by request for providers and suppliers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Allow HHAs to perform Medicare-covered initial assessments and determine patients' home bound status remotely or by record review.
- Lastly, remember providers can now complete and bill a face to face for home health visit via telehealth. Home health providers are being encouraged to use telehealth, however, it is NOT billable for HHAs.
Kristi Bajer BSN, RN, COS-C, brings over 10 years of real world experience as a clinician, director, and administrator in home health. She is a firm believer in diagnosis driven evidence-based care in home health. Currently, she assists agencies with external chart audits and Medicare appeals, as well as providing training and coaching on OperaCare implementation and building QAPI programs using data to drive success and protect agencies from government audits.