Judge blocks CMS mandate in 10 states

A CMS mandate on COVID-19 vaccines has been put on hold in 10 states by a federal judge Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. The vaccine requirement for employees at certified Medicare and Medicaid providers was introduced in early November, with two deadlines: By Dec. 6, 2021, employees should have had their first shot or single shot […]

OIG report shows survey focus on infection control in home health

A recent home health audit by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) serves as a reminder to keep up your focus on infection control policies and procedures. The audit found that six out of eight agencies reviewed were in full compliance. Still, it opens the door for CMS surveyors to probe extensively in this area. […]

Navigating Employee Retention Amid the Great Resignation

It’s no secret that leaders are facing unprecedented challenges when it comes to retaining employees. New data from PWC’s August 2021 US Pulse Survey found 65% of employees are looking for a new job. Consequently, 88% of executives have reported seeing higher turnover. Amid what the industry is calling The Great Resignation, it’s vital that […]

Employee vaccine status not a HIPAA issue, but other rules still apply

A home health agency is allowed to ask whether its employees are vaccinated. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided this guidance, particularly singling out home health agencies as an example, in a broader Q&A on employee vaccination status and HIPAA guardrails, released September 30. The HHS guidance notes that the HIPAA privacy […]

CMS sets December 6 deadline for first dose of COVID-19 vaccines

Work now to record and review staff vaccination status and implement and update polices around vaccine requirements to prepare for a CMS deadline of Jan. 4, 2022, to have all eligible employees fully vaccinated. Keep in mind that there is no testing option under this rule. COVID-19 vaccines will be mandatory for the vast majority […]

Home health improper payments climb slightly

A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services found improper payment for home health claims climbed slightly in 2021, despite a decline in the overall improper payment rate, according to a CMS release. From the HHS report: Insufficient documentation for home health claims continues to be prevalent. The improper payment estimate for […]

New data looks at hospital discharges, top home health diagnosis groups

Despite a decrease in hospital discharges to skilled nursing facilities in 2020, the rate of discharges to home health remained largely unchanged. That was one of the results shared in the 2021 Home Health Chartbook, released Nov. 10, 2021, by the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation and the National Association for Home Care […]

Booster monitoring part of CMS vaccine mandate

As the Food and Drug Administration authorizes booster shots for all adults, it’s important for agencies to note that employee booster monitoring is part of the CMS vaccine mandate rules released Nov. 4, 2021. The updated Conditions of Participation for agencies, § 484.70 (d), includes 10 requirements for agency policies and procedures around the vaccine […]

Recent guidance by CMS addresses backlog of nursing home surveys

Over the pandemic, nursing home surveys fell behind because COVID-19 restrictions, creating a backlog for survey agencies (SAs). CMS is taking the following steps which will allow SAs to focus their efforts on identifying concerns for all aspects of quality of care, quality of life, and ensuring health and safety, as outlined in their guidance: […]

CMS releases pocket guides for OASIS assessments

Home health agency staff have new tools from CMS to help with OASIS assessments. These pocket guides are expected to assist in assessing and coding self-care and mobility, falls and pressure ulcers/injuries. The pocket guides provide a quick reference for important terms and definitions that promote coding accuracy. They are approximately 2 x 3.5 inches […]