Home Health, News, Payment/economy

CMS decides not to move forward with Home Health Groupings Model in 2019

The following is an excerpt from Home Health Line.

Agencies can breathe a deep sigh of relief. CMS won’t launch its drastically revised home health payment model after all.

In the 2018 final PPS rule released Nov. 1, CMS announced that it would not launch the Home Health Groupings Model (HHGM) in 2019.

“We are not finalizing the implementation of the HHGM in this final rule,” CMS said in the rule. “We received many comments from the public that we would like to take into further consideration.”

If the model had been released as proposed — “in a non-budget neutral manner” — it would have created $950 million in cuts to home health come 2019.

But it’s not all good news for home health. While the HHGM didn’t come together in the final rule, CMS did finalize its plan to move forward with an $80 million payment decrease in 2018.

The decrease will occur due to a 0.5% reduction in payments “due to the sunset of the rural add-on provision,” a 1% home health payment update percentage and a 0.9% drop in payments to account for nominal case-mix growth, CMS says.

By comparison, the 2017 PPS final rule included a $130 million payment reduction — 0.7%.