News Roundup June 26th, 2020

Some changes are taking place as the Center for Medical Services (CMS) starts to consider new guidelines beyond the pandemic. Telehealth, a critical tool in assessing patient care, is making its way to becoming a permanent service for home health providers. As COVID continues to throw curveballs in the US healthcare system, navigating how clinicians tender care to their patients will be a constant evolution. 

From Bloomberg Law:

“The CMS’s proposed rule for 2021, which will be finalized in a few months, says home health agencies can continue to be paid for telehealth as long as the telecommunications technology is related to the skilled services being furnished and is outlined on the plan of care. The technology also has to be tied to a specific health goal for the patient.”

In addition to the expansion to telehealth in 2021, Home Health providers will also see a 2.6% boost in Medicare payments which amounts to an increase of about $540 million. 

Home Health Care News has more details:

“CMS’s proposed rule for 2021 would increase Medicare payments to home health agencies by 2.6%, which equates to a roughly $540 million bump. Last year, the proposed rule for 2020 included an increase of only 1.3%.” 

As states start to iterate on their processes to tackle the pandemic, there are some instances where local efforts start to look more carefully at who needs support. In Virginia, the drive to protect front line workers at hospitals and nursing homes has been documented but now clinicians on the home health front are receiving new attention and support by the state. 

The Richmond Free Press reports: 

“…three months into the pandemic, the state finally has begun to focus on providing protection gear to a little-noticed group of front line health workers — the aides providing care to thousands of elderly and disabled people in their homes.”