KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Medicare Proposes Home Health Payment Reductions, Savings

Officials say the moves would save the agency $58 million next year by changing how much it pays for some services and requiring agencies to prove their effectiveness.

The Hill: CMS Proposes Changes To Reduce Medicare Home Payments 
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed several new changes to how it pays for Medicare home health services which the agency says will save it $58 million next year. The agency is proposing to save money by toughening requirements to be eligible for home health services, setting a minimum requirement on home health agencies to prove their effectiveness and revising how much CMS pays for certain services (Al-Faruque, 7/1).

Modern Healthcare:  CMS Agrees To Drop Narrative Requirement For Home Health Claims 
The CMS plans to eliminate a regulatory hurdle that was intended to reduce fraud and abuse in Medicare home health claims but appeared to be stopping some elderly patients from getting care they need.  The policy change is included in a proposed Medicare payment rule for home health agencies for 2015. The CMS estimates that the home health providers would get paid $58 million ... less under the revised payment system, a reduction of about 0.3 percent. In 2013, Medicare paid about 12,000 home health agencies $18 billion to provide services to 3.5 million beneficiaries (Dickson, 7/1).

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