Category: General News

HCA Webinar: Join Labor Law Expert Emina Poricanin on New Paid Sick Leave Guidance, FAQs 

Please join HCA and home care labor law expert Emina Poricanin for a webinar on Monday, October 26 (at 1 p.m.) where she’ll provide an update on the state’s Paid Sick Leave law.

The state law requires employers with five or more employees to provide their employees with paid sick and safe leave. Businesses with fewer than five employees and a net income of $1 million or less must provide unpaid sick and safe leave to employees.

Poricanin will explain the law’s implications for home care providers so that your organization can develop leave policies and practices for 2021, ensuring compliance. She’ll specifically cover highlights of new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) posted earlier this week by the state Department of Labor.

Join Us on Oct. 16: Onboarding Your Patients or Clients to the Statewide Virtual Senior Center (VSC)

Register today for an October 16 Zoom presentation to learn how your home care, hospice or MLTC organization can onboard patients/clients so they can connect to the Statewide Virtual Senior Center (VSC).

The session, from 11 a.m. to noon, will be hosted by HCA Education and Research (HCA E&R) and Selfhelp Community Services, building on an introductory webinar that we held in July.

To register for the October 16 Zoom session, just complete the online form here and HCA E&R will e-mail you a Zoom link on the morning of the program so that you can connect to the discussion.

Continue reading “Join Us on Oct. 16: Onboarding Your Patients or Clients to the Statewide Virtual Senior Center (VSC)”

Sepsis Month: Senate Resolution, NYSOFA PR, Plus HCR, VNSNY & Americare Features

The state Senate has passed a resolution recognizing September 2020 as Sepsis Awareness Month in the State of New York.

HCA, our Stop Sepsis at Home NY screening initiative, and allied partners recognize and greatly appreciate this action initiated by the Senate’s Health Committee Chairman Senator Gustavo Rivera.

Full text of the resolution is posted to our Stop Sepsis at Home NY website here.

As previously reported, our partners at Sepsis Alliance are working to achieve similar resolutions in all 50 states, and HCA is proud to be part of efforts to put New York State in that number as we work alongside other leading advocacy and awareness organizations like End Sepsis: The Legacy of Rory Staunton. Continue reading “Sepsis Month: Senate Resolution, NYSOFA PR, Plus HCR, VNSNY & Americare Features”

NYC PPE Stockpile Information Released

New York City (NYC) has been working to compile an emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) for home care and other health care providers that service NYC in the event that there is a COVID-19 resurgence. 

To streamline the product request process, NYC is partnering with Medline to support the requesting and delivery process. Once in effect, this will replace the system that HCA and the New York State Association of Health Care Providers (HCP) worked out with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) whereby some of our members devoted much time and resources to serve as distribution sites for PPE furnished by the City for home care providers in all boroughs. Continue reading “NYC PPE Stockpile Information Released”

Free Series: 7 Hospital-Home Care Collaboration Models for Improved Patient Care

In a September 3 presentation, we introduced hospitals and home care providers to the HCA-HANYS-IHA “Statewide Hospital-Home Care Collaborative for COVID-19 and Beyond.”

As part of this program, we are offering seven upcoming webinars free of charge for all hospital and home care organizations in New York State. Continue reading “Free Series: 7 Hospital-Home Care Collaboration Models for Improved Patient Care”

Register: HCA’s Senior Finance Managers Retreat on Sept. 15-16

Online registration is now open for HCA’s Senior Financial Managers Retreat, our signature finance program for CHHAs, LHCSAs, hospice and MLTC.

While the retreat (on September 15 & 16) was originally planned for the Mohonk Mountain Resort in New Paltz, New York, we have transitioned to a virtual live event this year that will be broadcast through Crowdcast to any location using your computer, tablet or smart phone.

Continue reading “Register: HCA’s Senior Finance Managers Retreat on Sept. 15-16”

Senator Gillibrand, Colleagues Press HHS for Home Care Supports

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today issued a press release and letter to federal health officials seeking vital supports for home and community-based providers in the pandemic. Among them: priority access to personal protective equipment (PPE); telehealth reimbursement for home health agencies; and funding support for Medicaid home and community-based providers and workers.

HCA and HCA member the Visiting Nurse Service of New York have been working closely with Senator Gillibrand’s office on this appeal.

Continue reading “Senator Gillibrand, Colleagues Press HHS for Home Care Supports”

Join Sept. 3 Webinar Unveiling HCA-HANYS-IHA Care Collaboration Initiative for Home Care and Hospitals

Hospital and home care leaders are invited to join HCA, the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) and the Iroquois Healthcare Association (IHA) for a September 3 webinar launching our “Statewide Hospital-Home Care Collaborative for COVID-19 and Beyond.”

Registration for the launch webinar, at 4 p.m., is here.

This HCA-HANYS-IHA collaborative is being supported by a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. It is designed to promote pre- and post-hospital collaboration among hospitals and home care providers to address patients’ needs not only in the COVID-19 pandemic but also on a lasting basis.

Continue reading “Join Sept. 3 Webinar Unveiling HCA-HANYS-IHA Care Collaboration Initiative for Home Care and Hospitals”

President Trump Signs Executive Orders to Extend Federal Relief and Other COVID-19 Updates

On Saturday evening, President Donald J. Trump signed four executive actions that would: extend unemployment benefits; prevent residential evictions and foreclosures; assist with student loans; and suspend the collection of payroll taxes.

Federal lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have questioned the constitutionality of these actions amid a stalemate on negotiations over the next coronavirus aid package. Continue reading “President Trump Signs Executive Orders to Extend Federal Relief and Other COVID-19 Updates”

HCA to Testify Today at Legislative Hearing on COVID-19 and Long Term Care

HCA will be testifying today in the second of two state legislative hearings examining the impact of COVID-19 on nursing homes and other long term care settings. The hearing begins at 10 a.m.

At the first hearing — for New York City, Westchester and Long Island last week — lawmakers raised numerous questions focused on nursing home fatality rates, how the data were represented, nursing home visitation policies, and more. Continue reading “HCA to Testify Today at Legislative Hearing on COVID-19 and Long Term Care”

Register Now for HCA’s Virtual Annual Conference: August 25 & 26

Two days, ten sessions and a much-needed time for learning, reflection, collaboration and morale!  

Registration is now open for HCA’s Annual Conference on August 25 and 26, our flagship yearly event, now virtual!

A global health pandemic. Long-pressing industry needs. Some of the most consequential program changes in recent history. We need this gathering more than ever before: a moment for learning, reflection, collaboration and morale.

Participants have ten sessions to choose from, spaced across two days and streamed through our new online learning management systemRead our agenda at-a-glance to learn more.

To register through our learning management system, you’ll need to create a profile first and then follow the instructions. We will provide you with all the details for accessing our conference stream on August 25 and 26, including the opportunity to watch content on-demand as well.

Every crisis is an opportunity. While we would love to see you in person, this virtual format offers convenience, flexibility and lower registration fees, including a new group discount rate for an UNLIMITED number of staff to attend from your organization.

Got questions? Contact HCA’s Director of Education Celisia Street.

A Virtual Senior Center for Your Home Care Patients: Learn More at July 24 Webinar

Interactive online platform helps overcome social isolation in older adults during COVID-19 health emergency 

Join HCA Education and Research (E&R), Selfhelp Community Services and public officials on July 24 at 10:30 a.m. to see first-hand a powerful, interactive Virtual Senior Center (VSC) platform open for all home and community-based clients to enroll. Register for the webinar here.

Continue reading “A Virtual Senior Center for Your Home Care Patients: Learn More at July 24 Webinar”

COVID-19 Briefs for July 13, 2020

State DOH Issues Return to Work Guidance 

As announced in a member alert last week, the state Department of Health (DOH) released guidance on revised protocols for home care and other health care personnel to return to work following COVID-19 exposure or infection.  

The guidance outlines the conditions under which entities may allow staff to return to work after: 1) being confirmed or suspected of COVID-19 exposure or infection; or 2) after traveling to a state with a significant degree of community spread (see DOH’s travel guidance and update below), among other situations.  Continue reading “COVID-19 Briefs for July 13, 2020”

New 7/10 Webinar: Applying for Medicaid CARES Act Financial Relief

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced $15 billion in CARES Act relief funds for Medicaid providers who lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. HHS has clarified that home care agencies are eligible, under fee-for-service and managed care. This includes Licensed Home Care Services Agencies and Certified Home Health Agencies who meet all of the conditions.

On July 10, in two days, Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement expert Koy Dever of BKD, LLP will lead a webinar offering the latest information on eligibility criteria, navigating the application process, terms and conditions, reporting and audit requirements, as well as frequently asked questions.

Continue reading “New 7/10 Webinar: Applying for Medicaid CARES Act Financial Relief”

COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending June 7, 2020

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending June 7, 2020.

This is a weekly digest of new information as well as briefs that may have already been provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week.

To catch up on all COVID-19 updates, please see the news feed on our “home care prepare” website (here), including our resource page with COVID-19 regulatory waivers, guidance and more (here). Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending June 7, 2020”

COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending May 31, 2020

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending May 31.

This is a weekly digest of new information as well as briefs that may have already been provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week.

To catch up on all COVID-19 updates, please see the news feed on our “home care prepare” website (here), including our resource page with COVID-19 regulatory waivers, guidance and more (here). Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending May 31, 2020”

Act Now on Urgent Call for Federal COVID-19 Funds to Home Care in Congress

Please act today here on a new HCA Legislative Action Center campaign urging direct federal funds for New York home care providers at the front line of the COVID-19 epicenter.

As previously reported, HCA has estimated home care’s COVID-19 financial impact to be at least $200 million in New York State, a conservative estimate. We are calling on Congress to appropriate this baseline, threshold amount needed in the next aid package to stabilize New York home care providers who have, to date, received little aid relative to other settings. Much of this aid has come in the form of advance payments, loans and other financial mechanisms primarily through Medicare-funded programs but with little comprehensive support for providers of all home and community-based programs, including Medicaid services. Continue reading “Act Now on Urgent Call for Federal COVID-19 Funds to Home Care in Congress”

COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending May 25, 2020

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending May 25.

This is a weekly digest of new information as well as briefs that may have already been provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week.

To catch up on all COVID-19 updates, please see the news feed on our “home care prepare” website (here), including our resource page with COVID-19 regulatory waivers, guidance and more (here). Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending May 25, 2020”

COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending May 17, 2020

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending May 17.

This is a weekly digest of new information as well as briefs that may have already been provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week.

To catch up on all COVID-19 updates, please see the news feed on our “home care prepare” website (here), including our resource page with COVID-19 regulatory waivers, guidance and more (here). Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending May 17, 2020”

AP: “‘You Are a Miracle’: Home Care Is New Front in Virus Fight”

“‘You Are a Miracle’: Home Care Is New Front in Virus Fight,” proclaims the headline in an AP article recently published in the New York Times, noting that “home health care is becoming a new front in the national fight against COVID-19 as some patients come back from hospitals and others strive to stay out of them.”

As COVID-19 patients become medically stable, hospitals look to home care for continued care and monitoring to keep patients safe and prevent a recurrent hospitalization, including services provided by HCA members featured in the article: Americare and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.

COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending April 26, 2020

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending April 26.

This is a weekly digest of new updates as well as briefs that may have already been provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week.

To catch up on all COVID-19 updates, see the news feed on our “home care prepare” website (here), including our resource page with COVID-19 regulatory waivers, guidance and more (here). Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending April 26, 2020”

COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending April 19, 2020

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending April 19. This is a weekly digest including updates already provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week. To catch up on all COVID-19 updates, see the news feed on our “home care prepare” website (here), including our resource page with COVID-19 regulatory waivers, guidance and more (here).

Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending April 19, 2020”

NY Has Allowed Medicaid Home Telehealth Flexibility to Keep Patients & Staff Safe in COVID-19; Washington Should Follow Suit for Medicare

A statement from HCA President Al Cardillo

“I greatly commend the New York State Department of Health for employing a broadly flexible and visionary use of telehealth through home health providers to promote patient care as well as worker and patient safety in the COVID-19 emergency.” Continue reading “NY Has Allowed Medicaid Home Telehealth Flexibility to Keep Patients & Staff Safe in COVID-19; Washington Should Follow Suit for Medicare”

HCA and Managed Care Organizations Write to Governor’s Office on PPE Plan

HCA has joined forces with four partner groups representing long term care and managed care organizations on a letter (see here) to the Cuomo Administration calling for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) distribution and prioritization protocols inclusive of home care. We also sought approval of recommended measures to safely provide care where PPE or staffing are insufficient, such as the enlistment of alternate care providers, voluntary plan-of-care changes, and other flexibilities.

New Executive Order Requires Face Coverings

A new Executive Order going into effect today at 8 p.m. (see here) requires that all employees of “Essential Businesses” in New York State “shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public.”

Home care, as with other health care settings, has been defined as an “essential business” since early in the state’s emergency declaration; providers are, therefore, subject to the new requirement in the Governor’s Executive Order.

The state Department of Health (DOH) has issued a guidance for health care settings, defining “face covering” as including, but not limited to, “cloth (e.g. homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana), surgical masks, N-95 respirators, and face shields.” Continue reading “New Executive Order Requires Face Coverings”

Providers Begin Receiving $30B in Emergency Funding from HHS, Plus Newly Suspended State Regs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has begun releasing emergency funds to health care providers today as part of the recently signed federal CARES Act.

Home care and hospice providers are included in the list of providers to receive funds. As of this morning, HCA members have already reported receiving electronic payments.

Continue reading “Providers Begin Receiving $30B in Emergency Funding from HHS, Plus Newly Suspended State Regs”

Oneonta Daily Star: Virus fears impact retention efforts by home care providers

“Fear of COVID-19 exposure is having an impact on the ability of home care agencies to find workers willing to go into patients homes, according to a statewide survey,” reports the Oneonta Daily Star on April 9. “The Home Care Association, a statewide umbrella group, said the survey also found many local provider agencies reported they have patients who are now rejecting care due to concerns about the virus.”

“These findings strongly support the need for priority access to supplies, like personal protective equipment, amid dangerous shortages and the absence of community-based providers from the prioritization lists when supplies are made available,” said Al Cardillo, the association’s president.

COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending April 5, 2020

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending April 5. 

HCA Continues to Press on PPE Needs, Prioritization

Severe shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) continue to pose dangerous health and safety risks across all health care settings. A yet further constraint is the fact that the New York City Department of Health’s directives on supply prioritization have thus far categorically omitted home care and hospice.

HCA has raised these alarms repeatedly, in direct outreach to all levels of government and in the press.

Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending April 5, 2020”

New Medicaid Telehealth Q&As, Plus Updated Guidance on Personnel and COVID-19 Exposure

The state Department of Health has issued two new COVID-19 guidance documents.

One of these (dated March 31) replaces a prior guidance on protocols for personnel returning to work following COVID-19 exposure and infection (see here). It explains the conditions under which entities may allow health care personnel to return to work in the event they have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 or have traveled internationally.

The other is a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document on new Medicaid service and billing allowances through telehealth and telephonic means during the COVID-19 emergency (see here).

Continue reading “New Medicaid Telehealth Q&As, Plus Updated Guidance on Personnel and COVID-19 Exposure”

New CMS Waivers: Incremental Telehealth Flexibility, Plus Latitude on Homebound Requirement

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued some new regulatory waivers and flexibilities, including a very incremental allowance for home telehealth and important latitude on the “homebound” requirement. This information is here.

Congress, in the recently enacted CARES Act for coronavirus relief, called upon federal officials to “encourage” telehealth. CMS has responded in a limited fashion, based on our read of the latest CMS communication, determining that the law does not permit CMS to pay home health agencies for telehealth. (The state Medicaid program, meanwhile, has already provided much more flexibility in this regard for Medicaid services, as previously reported to the membership.)

The CMS change, circulated last night, ostensibly allows expanded telehealth as a means to reduce costs, but not as a service billable under Medicare. HCA is further analyzing the language, speaking with federal officials and partners, and preparing to redouble our efforts on more expansive telehealth permissions for service and billing.

Continue reading “New CMS Waivers: Incremental Telehealth Flexibility, Plus Latitude on Homebound Requirement”

Weekly COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending March 29, 2020

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending March 29. 

CARES Act, NPP Authorization, and HCA’s Call for Permissive Implementation of Telehealth Provisions 

Congress passed, and the President signed, a $2 trillion coronavirus aid package. It includes a long-time priority of HCA and national organizations: allowing non-physician practitioners to order and refer for home care services. (HCA awaits further implementation information from federal administrators.)  Continue reading “Weekly COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending March 29, 2020”

COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending March 29

What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending March 29.

CARES Act, NPP Authorization, and HCA’s Call for Permissive Implementation of Telehealth Provisions 

Congress passed, and the President signed, a $2 trillion coronavirus aid package. It includes a long-time priority of HCA and national organizations: allowing non-physician practitioners to order and refer for home care services. (HCA awaits further implementation information from federal administrators.) Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending March 29”

COVID-19 Impact on Home Care by the Numbers

HCA last week shared with state health officials the findings of a home care provider survey on COVID-19. It uncovered that the vast majority of home and community-based providers (68%) do not have access to adequate personal protective equipment in their COVID-19 response.

Almost half (48%) report instances where patients and/or family members refuse entry of staff in the home due to concerns about the virus at a time when home health agencies are working vigorously to screen caregivers and patients alike for the safety of both.

Continue reading “COVID-19 Impact on Home Care by the Numbers”

New COVID-19 Telehealth Guidance More Explicitly References Home Care 

The state Department of Health (DOH) has updated its previous Medicaid Update on COVID-19 telehealth/telephonic billing and services allowances to more explicitly include home care and each discipline within home care following multiple appeals from HCA.

The new Medicaid Update, dated March 23, is here and may undergo future updates that providers should watch for. Continue reading “New COVID-19 Telehealth Guidance More Explicitly References Home Care “

State Medicaid Guidance Authorizes Telehealth, Telephonic Services and Billing for COVID-19 Emergency

A special edition of the state’s Medicaid Update issued last night (see here) includes a guidance broadly expanding the use of telehealth, telephonic services and other communications methods by Medicaid providers during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

Effective for dates of service after March 1, and for the duration of the state of emergency, “New York State Medicaid will reimburse telephonic assessment, monitoring, and evaluation and management services provided to members in cases where face-to-face visits may not be recommended and it is appropriate for the member to be evaluated and managed by telephone.” HCA has confirmed with DOH officials that the guidance applies to Article 36 home care providers.

Continue reading “State Medicaid Guidance Authorizes Telehealth, Telephonic Services and Billing for COVID-19 Emergency”

COVID-19: Respond Now on Survey for Urgent DOH Assistance Request

Discussions have escalated in the last 24 hours on long-sought state COVID-19 guidance and assistance for home care and hospice. Throughout the weekend, HCA has again discussed with state officials a list of pressing requests for regulatory relief waivers, priority access to supplies, procedural guidance, and financial support to help providers amid the pandemic.

A just-released Dear Administrator Letter for Certified Home Health Agencies and Licensed Home Care Services Agencies (see here) provides some information on screening of patients and staff, as well as on the responsibilities of personnel in observing patients at home. It followed another guidance, sent earlier today (see here), with regulatory guidance for 1915(c) waiver programs (addressed to providers serving children and youth under the Children’s Waiver). Continue reading “COVID-19: Respond Now on Survey for Urgent DOH Assistance Request”

MRT Reviews Detailed Slate of Proposals for Consideration

The Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) met today in New York City for a second time to review a consolidated list of proposals from among over 2,200 submissions by the public.

The dozens of proposed recommendations discussed today were wide ranging, such as: changes to the global cap methodology; program integrity provisions; health information technology reforms; new approaches to care management, social determinants of health, transportation, and workforce supports; revenue raisers (such as insurance and health care taxes); and program-specific structural, enrollment, procedural or payment recommendations for various sectors, including additional proposals advanced by a long term care advisory committee. 

Many of these areas would touch the home care, hospice and Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) provider and plan infrastructure in a variety of ways. Continue reading “MRT Reviews Detailed Slate of Proposals for Consideration”

Deadline Extended to March 12 for HCA 2020 Awards Nominations

HCA has extended the deadline to March 12 for our 2020 awards nominations. Don’t miss this opportunity to recognize an exceptional colleague or staff member at your organization.

Our award categories invite nominations for all staff roles, from front-line caregivers to prominent leaders in the field, from physician champions of community-based care to the most ardent advocates and program innovators. Awards are presented at HCA’s Annual Conference on May 6-8 in Saratoga Springs.

To learn more and make your nomination, use our online questionnaire here.

If you have any questions or want to e-mail information directly to HCA, please contact Jenny Kerbein at jkerbein@hcanys.org or (518) 810-0659.

Your nomination helps shine a light on home care’s most talented, honorable and commendable individuals. Their stories help bring visibility to what home care is, how it works, how it helps, and what makes it great. Please help tell this story in all of its many unique, individual ways, and join us in celebrating home care’s leading lights.

Coronavirus Planning for Home Care, Hospice

“No one should be surprised when we have positive cases” of novel coronavirus in New York State, remarked Governor Cuomo yesterday about the illness that has spread rapidly from its initial origins in China.

COVID-19 has now reached 37 countries, including 60 confirmed cases in the U.S. (at the time of this writing), with one case (announced yesterday) involving a person who “did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient with COVID-19,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While 83 people have been reportedly quarantined on a voluntary basis in Nassau County, there are no as-of-yet confirmed cases of the virus in New York State to date, according to reports. Yet national public health officials have warned of possible “community spread” in the future, the importance of preparation for such an event, and the prospect of future containment measures by public health or preparedness officials. Continue reading “Coronavirus Planning for Home Care, Hospice”

Governor: Feds Deny $8B DSRIP Extension

In a press conference today, Governor Cuomo announced that the federal government has denied New York’s request to continue the multi-billion-dollar Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program.

This means the state will be unable to use $625 million in unspent funds for the current $7.4 billion DSRIP waiver, as sought in a request to extend the program through March 2021. Also denied is a second phase of DSRIP, which would have provided $8 billion in federal reinvestment funds also sought by the Cuomo Administration through 2024.

Continue reading “Governor: Feds Deny $8B DSRIP Extension”

HCA Presents Testimony as Senate, Assembly Panel Examines Medicaid Budget

A Senate and Assembly joint legislative committee convened today in Albany for a hearing examining the Governor’s state Medicaid budget proposals.

HCA President and CEO Al Cardillo submitted testimony, available here. It explains the vital role of home and community care, Medicaid budget trends involving home and community care (including new obligations and responsibilities on plans and providers), as well as HCA’s recommendations for offsetting Medicaid costs in place of cuts to assure the viability of vital programs and services. Continue reading “HCA Presents Testimony as Senate, Assembly Panel Examines Medicaid Budget”

A Statement from HCA President and CEO Al Cardillo Regarding Governor Cuomo’s Proposed Budget

The Governor today proposed a sequel to the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) process of 2011 as an approach to restructuring Medicaid and ensuring its long-term sustainability.

HCA understands the magnitude and seriousness of New York’s budget circumstances. This is why we have already presented the Governor’s office and Legislature with ready proposals to support Medicaid cost efficiencies and relief.

These cost offsets and reforms merit a voice at the MRT table. They leverage the capabilities of New York’s home and community-based care system to save millions of dollars through improved coordination of Medicare-Medicaid covered benefits, avoidance of higher-cost service utilization, enhancements in chronic disease management, efficient care transitions and direct cost-control and efficiency reforms. Continue reading “A Statement from HCA President and CEO Al Cardillo Regarding Governor Cuomo’s Proposed Budget”

HHCN Quotes HCA on “Extremely Alarming” Budget Cuts

Home Health Care News reports on the state’s 1% across-the board cuts to Medicaid. These come at a time when home care providers have not had a Medicaid cost-of-living rate adjustment in 10 years, and as providers operate on wafer-thin margins or losses in the majority of cases.

“In that light, this 1% reduction is extremely alarming,” HCA says in the article; and the cuts’ “timing, just before the release of a new budget proposal in only a few weeks, is a harbinger of just how serious the state’s fiscal outlook is — and what else is yet to come amid a projected $6 billion deficit.”

Year-End Message From Health Commissioner Dr. Zucker to Home Care, Hospice

 

On behalf of HCA and the membership, New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, M.D., J.D. has provided a meaningful and poignant year-end video message to home care and hospice providers.

“As we turn the calendar from 2019 to 2020, I extend warm thanks and appreciation to the many individuals delivering vital care at home to over half a million New Yorkers,” says Dr. Zucker.

He adds: “I also commend the Home Care Association of New York State for supporting this work through its mission: to ‘promote and enhance the quality and accessibility of health care and support at home.’”

HCA has posted the video to Facebook and YouTube. HCA members, colleagues and all organizations with Facebook accounts are strongly urged to share the video as widely as possible. In doing so, please join HCA in returning the thanks to Dr. Zucker for such powerful sentiments about the important work we do in community-based care.

Medicare Providers Must Sign Required MOA: Delinquencies Reported to CMS after Dec. 31

Livanta, the new Medicare Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization (BFCC-QIO), reports to HCA that many health care providers, including home health and hospice providers, have not signed a required Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) mandated of Medicare providers under Section 1866(a)(1)(E) of the Social Security Act.

Providers in New York were required to sign the MOA by June 8, 2019. Livanta has set a deadline of December 31, 2019 after which “instances of non-compliance will be reported to CMS,” Livanta states.

HCA has written about this requirement in our weekly newsletter, most recently on October 28, 2019, noting that 92 percent of home health agencies and 95 percent of hospices have not submitted the required form.

In the latest update, Livanta explains that unless you received an e-mail confirmation from the BFCC-QIO on October 1, 2019, your organization’s MOA has not been received. It is urgent that all Medicare providers complete this requirement of the Conditions of Participation (CoPs).

We also stress that all previously signed agreements were invalid as of June 7, 2019, so a new MOA must be completed if you have not done so already for this present period. Information about Livanta’s MOA process is available in this flyer or see the following web pages:

If you have any questions, please contact the Livanta Communications team here.

HCA Op-Ed: Home health aides are the eyes and ears of more than 500,000 NY patients

“Home health agencies provide interdisciplinary health care to individuals at home,” writes HCA President Al Cardillo in a viewpoint piece for the Legislative Gazette. “You may be familiar with some forms of this care. Thousands of exceptional people with specialized training make it happen, working together to overcome countless medical, social and environmental hurdles in too-often untold ways.”

Read the piece here.

Winter Storm Season Alert Posted

The state Department of Health (DOH) has posted information on the actions that providers should take to prepare for the upcoming winter weather season. See here.

DOH recommends that all facilities and agencies review their Emergency Response and Evacuation Plans to ensure procedures are up to date and understood by staff and that contact information for all key staff and response partners is current. Providers should be ready to activate these plans when needed. Continue reading “Winter Storm Season Alert Posted”

News10 WTEN Examines Local Tragedy, Sepsis and Home Care

With sad and tragic news this week of a young boy passing from sepsis in Cohoes, NY, the Capital Region’s ABC affiliate, News 10 WTEN, spoke to HCA and medical experts on Tuesday about sepsis, including a bill that passed the State Legislature in June to support the work of home care providers in screening for this deadly condition.

“Our goal, particularly with the home health system, is to work not only to monitor, but teach the individual and the family what to look for and how to prevent” sepsis, said HCA President Al Cardillo in the interview. Watch the clip here and learn more about the legislation here. The bill (S.1817/A.3839) awaits action by the Governor.

Eight Top Legal, Compliance Experts Lead October 17 HCA Symposium 

“If you think compliance is expensive, try non-compliance,” former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty once wisely observed.

The toll is not just financial: as in government fines or penalties, civil liabilities, legal or recovery costs, or loss of licensure/operational privileges, which are bad enough. Noncompliance costs can also be counted in the form of grave reputational risks to your organization, straining or ruining relationships with referral sources or contractors at a time when state policies are imposing even greater restrictions and obligations on network contracts.

Most at stake is your hard-won trust with patients in the community.

HCA’s flagship Corporate Compliance Symposium provides your compliance officers and executive teams with the tools, resources, information and guidelines to overcome these risks. This includes procedural best-practices for self-auditing, so that your own internal investigations can detect pitfalls instead of government or law enforcement doing so on your behalf, and at great expense to your organization.

Each session covers prominent compliance issues by eight highly esteemed legal and compliance minds, all available to you at one time and one place. Don’t miss out.

September is Sepsis Month: Thousands Now Screened by Home Care RNs for Life-Threatening Sepsis Using Innovative Tool

Everything you need to know about sepsis detection protocols that are saving lives and reducing costs through home care — plus next steps for broader application (www.stopsepsisathomeny.org)  

September is “Sepsis Awareness Month,” and the Home Care Association of New York State’s national-first sepsis screening program for home care nurses and providers is making major strides in addressing this medical emergency — sepsis — a condition that claims a life every two minutes (according to Sepsis Alliance) and is more likely to occur in the home and community than in a hospital.

“Data suggests that 80% to 90% of sepsis cases actually originate in the home or community,” says HCA President and CEO Al Cardillo. “This fact alone is one of many reasons why home care’s involvement in sepsis screening is so vital, and why protocols, like HCA’s program, are incredibly important when it comes to improving outcomes and saving lives in a home care population that is especially vulnerable. All sectors of the health care system have a responsibility to intervene — and, wherever possible, prevent — the tragic loss of life, morbidity and life-altering effects of this condition. The home care system is especially equipped to do so.” Continue reading “September is Sepsis Month: Thousands Now Screened by Home Care RNs for Life-Threatening Sepsis Using Innovative Tool”

HCA, Partners Assert 1115 Waiver Recommendations 

Today, HCA and six other prominent health care associations wrote to the state’s Deputy Secretary for Health and Human Services Paul Francis with core recommendations and key amendments that the state should consider in its multi-billion-dollar 1115 Medicaid waiver renewal process. (See the letter here.)

Section 1115 of the Social Security Act gives the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to approve state-level experiments, pilots, or demonstration projects in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) programs.

Continue reading “HCA, Partners Assert 1115 Waiver Recommendations “

RFI Response: HCA Makes Recommendations on Home Health, Hospice Regulatory Relief to CMS

In response to an RFI soliciting public comments on regulatory relief, HCA on Monday provided the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with a set of recommendations to ease home care and hospice regulations.

Our recommendations include such areas as the retrieval of records, use of actual patients (versus pseudo-patients) in aide competency evaluations, coordination of documentation requirements with physicians, and a range of other proposals that, we believe, will align with CMS’s aim to make the health care system more effective, simple and accessible.

Prepare Now for Emergency Drill to be Held Next Week  

Sometime next week, without advance notice, the state Department of Health (DOH) will hold an Interoperable Communications (IOC) drill for the entire state.

However, the drill will take place on a rolling basis in staggered stages. As mentioned previously, the IOC drill will be targeted to home care, hospice and other providers across the entire state; though voluntary, it can be used to fulfill federal and/or state requirements for agencies to hold emergency preparedness exercises.

Continue reading “Prepare Now for Emergency Drill to be Held Next Week  “

HCA DATA: 1,000s of Data Points for Your Home Care, Hospice, MLTC Business Planning

 

HCA holds a vast repository of over 100 reports – and thousands of home care, hospice and MLTC data cells – available exclusively to HCA members through our web-based HCA DATA platform.

These reports provide a major advantage for HCA members in their business and operations planning. They support and inform your financial benchmarking, local market analysis, strategic plan development, contract negotiations, consulting work, and many more functions across various departments.

Through HCA Data, you’ll find everything from big picture trends on statewide home care financial performance to operational data on every individual CHHA, MLTC, LHCSA and Hospice in the state. This data includes operating revenues and expenses across payors, cost factors for salaries and wages, payor mix, visit totals by discipline, caseload capacity by county, unit costs, medical expense ratios, live discharge data (for hospice), and many more items.

Give your CFOs, financial managers, chief strategy officers, operations managers and business planners the keys to this powerful resources today. Learn more and obtain an account here today!

 

 

Home Care Responds to NYC-Area Power Outage, Heat Wave

New York City home care agencies put their emergency preparedness plans into action earlier this month during two July power outages that left tens of thousands of New Yorkers in the dark on two consecutive weekends: on July 14 and July 21.

Nurses, home health aides and other home care personnel play a vital role for patients during emergencies like these — just as they provide critical supports to vulnerable populations at home each day. This includes New Yorkers who are among the 2.5 million individuals nationally relying on home medical equipment, like in-home respiratory ventilators, that require reliable power to function.

Home care providers have plans in place to assist these and other patients living at home who are vulnerable to heat-related illness or environmental conditions during a disaster, especially a situation like the recent power outages coinciding with a wave of near-record high temperatures that gripped the metropolitan region.

Learn more by reading our recent blog post here.

Write Congress NOW: S.433/H.R. 2573 Imperative as Home Care Faces 8% Cuts

“Your action to protect New York’s Medicare home health system (S.433/H.R. 2573) just reached a dramatically new level of urgency,” says an advocacy campaign message posted today on HCA’s Legislative Action Center.

Please send this message to Congress now, and share this action item widely with your staff and colleagues so that they act as well. It takes less than a minute of your time. Continue reading “Write Congress NOW: S.433/H.R. 2573 Imperative as Home Care Faces 8% Cuts”

HCA’s Sepsis, In-Service Bills Pass Both Houses

The state Legislature remains in session at the time of this writing to consider a range of final bills, with an expected adjournment sometime tomorrow, according to reports.

Two HCA bills cleared both houses this week with votes in the Assembly yesterday following earlier passage in the Senate. They include HCA’s aide in-service tracking bill and our sepsis legislation.

HCA also participated in a press conference and media outreach yesterday, along with representatives from 20 other community-based provider associations and Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried, on a third bill related to health care transformation funds. Continue reading “HCA’s Sepsis, In-Service Bills Pass Both Houses”

HCA’s Stop Sepsis at Home Initiative to Receive 2019 Sepsis Hero Award

HCA is receiving one of five Sepsis Heroes awards from Sepsis Alliance in recognition of our Stop Sepsis at Home initiative.

The award honors “Sepsis Heroes who have made a significant contribution to sepsis awareness and education among both the general public and health care professionals.” Awards are presented at an annual gala in New York City on September 12 during Sepsis Awareness Month. Learn more about the event here.

HCA’s Stop Sepsis at Home initiative has been adopted in 55 of New York’s counties where nurses are using the screening tool to potentially identify life-threatening cases of sepsis and help triage follow-up protocols.

HCA thanks Sepsis Alliance for this recognition, and we hope it elevates the importance of this initiative for the 80% of home care cases that originate in the home and community-based setting.

HCA Appoints Rebecca Fuller Gray to Executive Role

National home care, hospice expert brings unmatched experience and skills to HCA

HCA President Al Cardillo and the HCA Board proudly and enthusiastically announce the appointment of state and national home care expert Rebecca Fuller Gray as HCA’s new Executive Vice President for Clinical and Program Affairs. Ms. Gray starts her position on May 1.

Continue reading “HCA Appoints Rebecca Fuller Gray to Executive Role”

State DOL Employee Scheduling Rule Put on Hold

HCA has learned that the “Employee Scheduling” rule, which was proposed by the state Department of Labor (DOL), will not be promulgated at this time, due to comments raised by HCA and other organizations who argued that the approach was impracticable to certain industries or sectors, like home care and hospice.

The rule, first proposed on November 22, 2017 and then revised on December 12, 2018, would have required employers to pay additional hours for “unscheduled shifts,” “cancelled shifts,” “on-call” and “call for schedule.” HCA had argued that the proposal was incompatible with how care at home is delivered, where hours are started, increased, decreased or eliminated due to reasons unique to home care and hospice and their patients, and beyond the control of the employer.

Continue reading “State DOL Employee Scheduling Rule Put on Hold”

HCA Testimony on the State Budget

At today’s health and Medicaid budget hearing, HCA President Al Cardillo delivered testimony revealing the financing, workforce and overall support needs of the home care, hospice and Managed Long Term Care sector using data from our just-issued financial and trends report.

Slide Presentation: Legislative Forum on Home and Community Care Services

On January 8, HCA, the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of New York State and the New York State Association of Health Care Providers held a forum for state legislators and their staff offering background on home and community care services – in particular, home care, hospice/palliative care and MLTC – that may aid in:

  • Assisting constituents, families and communities with their health care needs.

Continue reading “Slide Presentation: Legislative Forum on Home and Community Care Services”

Home Care 101 for Legislators, Staff on January 8

The Home Care Association of New York State, the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of New York State, and the New York State Association of Health Care Providers are jointly holding a January 8 Home and Community Care Services Open Forum for State Legislators and their staff at the Legislative Office Building in Albany. Details are in the flyer here. Continue reading “Home Care 101 for Legislators, Staff on January 8”

Saluting Veterans in Home Care and Hospice

For Veterans Day, the Home Care Association of New York State (HCA) joins its home care, hospice and managed long term care provider members throughout New York State in recognizing exceptional individuals who have made the ultimate sacrifice through military service.

Our observance of veterans also coincides with National Home Care and Hospice Month in November.

HCA honors the wishes of patients, including our nation’s veterans, to live independently, with dignity, and with the medical,
social or assistive services to help them fulfill those wishes in the community setting.

If you are a veteran – or if your veteran constituents need care – HCA is proud to be a resource for services at (518) 426‐8764.

Join HCA, IPRO, HANYS and Partners for Major Cross-Sector Sepsis Summit on Oct. 3 in Albany

HCA, IPRO, HANYS, the Rory Staunton Foundation for Sepsis Prevention, Sepsis Alliance and partner organizations invite you to register for a first-of-its-kind All-Sector Sepsis Summit on October 3 in Albany.

Click the event page here for online registration and to download the brochure for the full agenda, which includes top state health officials, physician experts, representatives of the various health sectors, public policy and education partners, and quality and clinical experts.

Continue reading “Join HCA, IPRO, HANYS and Partners for Major Cross-Sector Sepsis Summit on Oct. 3 in Albany”

Your Action Needed NOW on HCA Bills to Support Home Care, Hospice and MLTC

This year’s state legislative session is expected to wind down very quickly in terms of the timeline and level of legislative activity, especially given statewide elections in the fall which will likely drive an early beginning to the summer campaign season.

As reported in several recent editions of The Situation Report newsletter, HCA has written a slate of proactive bills to support the home care, hospice and MLTC membership. HCA’s measures are designed to position the home and community based system favorably given the current political environment in which the Legislature and Governor are expected to concentrate on only a select range of issues for action.

Today, we need your grassroots help in writing to the legislative sponsors, bolstering their support for our initiatives while helping to raise the visibility of issues that affect home care, hospice and MLTC organizations.

What We Need You to Do Now

HCA has created a new landing page on our Legislative Action Center with seven messages of support for HCA’s bills that all members must send to the legislative sponsors as soon as possible.

Please act on all seven of these messages, each of which takes less than a minute of your time to send by entering your contact information and pressing a button on each action item. Your action will significantly augment our chances of success.

So, click the link to our Legislative Action Center, where you’ll see boxes for each action item. Click “add your voice” on each action item, read the short summary, enter your contact information, and send the messages today. Please do this for all seven messages.

With our Legislative Action Center, we’ve worked to make this process quick and easy for you, so your participation is imperative. Please also use the messages as a basis for making phone calls to the legislative sponsors as well. The more ways that they hear from you, the better our chances of success.

 

In Letter to CMS, HCA Opposes Thresholds Exempting States from Having to Submit Monitoring Plans of Medicaid Access

HCA has submitted comments to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging CMS to maintain its existing requirement for states, like New York, to submit an access monitoring review plan that holds states accountable on Medicaid access to care.

Under a rule known as the “equal access provision,” states are required to set Medicaid fee-for-service (FFS) rates to ensure access to services for Medicaid beneficiaries at a comparable level to non-Medicaid FFS-insured individuals. To hold states accountable for keeping competitive rates, CMS in 2015 began requiring states to submit an access monitoring review plan (or AMRP) every three years when rate changes occur (among other factors) to fee-for-service entities like Certified Home Health Agencies (CHHAs) and other FFS providers. Continue reading “In Letter to CMS, HCA Opposes Thresholds Exempting States from Having to Submit Monitoring Plans of Medicaid Access”

DOH Issues Notice on Investigation into Reliability of Glucose, Potassium Results by Lab Provider

The state Department of Health (DOH) has posted a notice to home care agencies, medical directors and other provider representatives on the Health Commerce System (HCS) regarding an investigation into the reliability of a laboratory service provider’s glucose and potassium test results that could affect HCA members.

The notice, available here, states the following:

On 5/22/2018 the New York State Department of Health (Department) issued an Order for Summary Action against a laboratory service provider, Modern Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. due to findings of an investigation by the Wadsworth Center’s Clinical Laboratory Evaluation Program. The investigation determined that glucose and potassium test results were not reliable and in some instances falsely reported.

Today (5/23/2018), the Department issued an Amended Order for Summary Action against MDL. The Amended Order enables MDL to resume providing services under existing contracts. The Amended Order requires that MDL meet certain requirements, including but not limited to, the immediate employment of an independent consultant who will be approved by the Department, and the cessation of any inappropriate testing and reporting practices.

For providers seeking to contract with an alternative laboratory, a list of other approved laboratories can be found at the following link: https://www.wadsworth.org/regulatory/clep/approved-labs.

No other information is available at this time regarding actions that providers should take for lab services affected by these findings. HCA remains in communication with the Department for further information, which we will share in an alert to the membership or in our newsletter as necessary.

 

HCA’s 2018 Award Recipients

Caring Awards

The Caring Award recognizes a staff person of an agency who has exhibited the compassion, skills and service that sets his or her contribution apart and/or whose actions on a particular day or over a period of time exemplify caring in home care.

Vicky Gentile, Home Health Aide at New York City-based Selfhelp Community Services

“Vicky Gentile embodies the caring, dedicated spirit we wish to be associated with our name,” says Selfhelp Community Services, noting Ms. Gentile’s exceptional care to patients.

Continue reading “HCA’s 2018 Award Recipients”

WNY HCA Members Write to Rep. Collins on NPP Authorization Bill

HCA members serving Buffalo, Rochester and surrounding counties sent a letter this week to Western New York Congressman Chris Collins bolstering his support for legislation (H.R. 1825) to allow non-physician-practitioners (NPPs) to order and refer for home health services.

Rep. Collins is sponsor of this priority bill and has indicated his support to move it forward this Congressional session. The bill has widespread bipartisan co-sponsorship, including from 11 members of the New York House Delegation. Please see the list of House cosponsors here. If Representatives serving your patients are not on this list, please contact their offices to urge their co-sponsorship of H.R. 1825 so that we can keep up momentum on this priority bill. If you need any assistance, please contact HCA’s Communications Director Roger Noyes at rnoyes@hcanys.org. Continue reading “WNY HCA Members Write to Rep. Collins on NPP Authorization Bill”

Register Now for HCA’s 40th Annual Conference “40 Years Strong” on May 9-11

Conference40 Years Strong, HCA’s Annual Conference

Date: May 9-11, 2018

VenueSaratoga Hilton, Saratoga Springs

Infohttp://hcaannualconference.com/

 

Registration is now open for HCA’s milestone Annual Conference celebrating our 40th year as an association with the theme 40 Years Strong.

Please help make this the best celebration yet, by registering today using the form at the back of our brochure here.

For this banner conference, we’ll be joined by special guest Bill Dombi, President of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, as well as other expert presenters offering insights on all facets of home care operations.

These sessions, networking opportunities and more will help your organization plan for the future by: tackling emerging issues, enhancing your team’s performance, confronting public health and population health challenges, and optimizing your success with some of the biggest challenges happening to home care in decades.

HCA’s 2018 Budget and Legislative Action Proposals

HCA has issued our 2018 Budget and Legislative Action Proposals. These include the following broad areas:

  • Reject Budget Cuts and Harmful Program Actions to MLTCs and Home Care
  • Support Budget Proposals to Reimburse Minimum Wage & Health Care Infrastructure
  • Develop Appropriate, Actuarially Sound and Timely Payment for MLTCs and Providers Address Workforce Needs in Home Care and Hospice
  • Maintain NY Licensure Standards for Home Care — and Act Against Scofflaws
  • Utilize Home Care’s Expertise to Yield Savings in Community and Public Health

Home Care, Hospice and Managed Long Term Care Financial and Program Trends 2018

HCA has prepared a 2018 report on the finance and program trends within the home care, hospice and MLTC sectors. This report is based on a statistical analysis of state-required financial documents, a survey of HCA’s membership, and other data sets. It provides aggregate data on financial margins, accounts-receivable balances, direct-care staffing vacancies and turnover rates, and other important findings within New York’s home care, hospice and MLTC sector.

 

Act Now on Home Health Rural Add-on, NPP Authorization of Home Care

The national push for extension of the home health rural add-on continues, as Congress considers extension bills and other fiscal matters amid the ongoing debate over the continuing budget resolution.

In a separate but important federal matter, HCA has also learned that key leaders are considering a priority bill for authorization of home care services as part of an omnibus package. The bill is sponsored by Buffalo-area Congressman Chris Collins and has strong support from New York’s Congressional Delegation who we need to press Congressional leaders for final adoption of this measure.  Continue reading “Act Now on Home Health Rural Add-on, NPP Authorization of Home Care”

Webinar Offers Premium Legal Guidance for Home Care HR/Execs on Sexual Harassment Law, Procedures

For a low cost of $149/$249 (member/non-member rate), HCA is offering an unlimited number of your HR, executive and management staff to get guidance from top legal experts on the law, policies-and-procedures, and staff training to address sexual harassment in the workplace and reduce your organization’s exposure to costly legal liabilities. Join our webinar on January 30 from 10 to 11 a.m.  Continue reading “Webinar Offers Premium Legal Guidance for Home Care HR/Execs on Sexual Harassment Law, Procedures”

HCA Submits Comments and Senate Testimony on Proposed Scheduling Rule

Yesterday, HCA submitted comments to the state Department of Labor (DOL) and testimony for a state Senate Hearing on DOL’s proposed scheduling/call-in pay rule, which would have major implications for health care providers, especially home care. Our comments are here and our testimony is here.

As described in numrous communications, the rule would impose the following requirements on employers (with certain exceptions):

An employee must be paid an additional two hours of call-in pay if reporting for a shift that was not scheduled 14 days in advance.

An employee whose shift is canceled within 72 hours of the scheduled start time must be paid at least four hours of call-in pay. Continue reading “HCA Submits Comments and Senate Testimony on Proposed Scheduling Rule”

Urgent Action Alert: Take 1 Minute to Write Congress Opposing BIG End-of-year Home Health Cuts

End-of-the-year Congressional activity is putting home care at risk, and we need your action now to reach your Congressional Representatives in Washington. 

Amid the flurry of activity is extender legislation that reportedly includes some version of the Home Health Groupings Model (HHGM) or other cuts that may be as high as $3 billion to $6 billion nationally over ten years, according to our partners at the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC).

Continue reading “Urgent Action Alert: Take 1 Minute to Write Congress Opposing BIG End-of-year Home Health Cuts”

In Win for Home Care, HHGM Withdrawn from 2018 HHPPS Final Rule

Responding to a united voice of advocacy from the home care community, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has withdrawn its Home Health Groupings Model (HHGM) from the final Calendar Year 2018 Medicare Home Health Prospective Payment System (HHPPS) rule, posted late this afternoon.

Noting the volume of technical comments on “various aspects of the proposed case-mix adjustment methodology under the HHGM,” CMS says that commenters “were most concerned about the proposed change in the unit of payment from 60 days to 30 days and such change being proposed for implementation in a non-budget neutral manner.”

HCA made this a major point in our comments on the rule, noting that “HHGM must be revised to be implemented in a true budget-neutral fashion,” we wrote. “Budget neutrality is an essential hallmark of past payment reform policies and is an important protection against system-wide fiscal destabilization.” Continue reading “In Win for Home Care, HHGM Withdrawn from 2018 HHPPS Final Rule”

Gov. Cuomo Signs Lanza-Cusick Bill Supporting Home Care & Hospice Role in Reaching Vulnerable Patients during Emergencies

ALBANY — The Home Care Association of New York State (HCA) commends New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing a bill, S.5016-A/A.6549-A, which assures home care and hospice provider input into local emergency planning, including essential-personnel access for home care and hospice staff to reach vulnerable patients when disasters strike.

HCA also applauds the bill’s legislative sponsors, Assemblyman Michael Cusick and Senator Andrew Lanza, for their tireless efforts to develop and frame this legislation for unanimous passage in both houses of the Legislature and for support from the Governor. Both legislators saw first-hand the enormous need for coordinated response in their Staten Island districts when Superstorm Sandy devastated the region. 

For further background on the bill, please read HCA’s Memorandum of support here

“From Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and countless major snow emergencies across New York, we’ve seen home care and hospice providers ready to serve as a vital resource to assist local emergency managers in reaching vulnerable patients who may be alone or without power at home,” said HCA President Joanne Cunningham. “These efforts could be substantially enhanced with a greater voice for home care and hospice in the emergency management planning process, including for addressing ‘essential personnel’ status, as this bill does. Home care and hospice providers applaud Assemblyman Cusick and Senator Lanza for their staunch support of this important bill, and for working vigorously with the Governor’s office to get it signed into law.”

Continue reading “Gov. Cuomo Signs Lanza-Cusick Bill Supporting Home Care & Hospice Role in Reaching Vulnerable Patients during Emergencies”

QAPI CoPs, Clinician Time Management Seminar Among 10 Hot Topics at HCA Quality & Tech Symposium

HCA’s upcoming Quality and Technology Symposium, on November 16 & 17 in Suffern, NY, is our signature conference geared for home care clinical managers, directors of patient services, quality improvement officers and strategic planners, including the executive teams at your organization who need to think big about the many quality and technology imperatives in home care.

Download the brochure

Register online

BK Health Care Consulting chief Barbara Katz got rave reviews for her segment at one of HCA’s value-based payment programs last year, and we are thrilled to tap her unique expertise again for two exceptional sessions on November 16 and 17:

  • An interactive seminar on clinician time and task-management to help you “climb out of chaos” and gain a “roadmap to sanity” while juggling constant change and running an effective operation; plus
  • A segment on what is perhaps the biggest hot-topic in quality of care: meeting the new Conditions of Participation (CoPs) for implementing a Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement (QAPI) program.

Continue reading “QAPI CoPs, Clinician Time Management Seminar Among 10 Hot Topics at HCA Quality & Tech Symposium”

Sept. 2017 Federal Documents on HHGM, Rural Add-on, Hospice, Medicaid and Regulatory Issues

In preparation for federal advocacy efforts on September 12, HCA has prepared a series of advocacy documents to guide our visits with lawmakers and their staff.

We encourage you to read these for a review of HCA’s messaging. Please also share them with your Congressional contacts to encourage their action on critical home care federal priorities.

Foremost among our concerns is the ongoing threat to Medicaid, posed by Congressional attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, as well as the new Home Health Groupings Model that the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed for 2019, with cuts of up to $1 billion from the system.

HCA is also pressing for: continuation of the Medicare rural add-on; Congressional opposition to hospice rebasing; and relief from regulatory burdens like the Medicare face-to-face rule, pre-claim review, and the current limits on practitioners permitted to order and refer for home care services.

See the PDF downloads below for more information.

 

 

DOH Hurricane Alert: Immediate Action for Home Care, Hospice Storm Preparedness

The state Department of Health (DOH) late yesterday sent a brief alert to LHCSAs, CHHAs and Hospices (see here) on “immediate action” to be taken for Hurricanes Irma and Jose preparedness efforts.

These actions include required updates and corrections to your agency’s contacts in the Health Commerce System (HCS), as well as provider readiness to use the HCS to assist in possible DOH survey efforts.

Continue reading “DOH Hurricane Alert: Immediate Action for Home Care, Hospice Storm Preparedness”

Are You Prepared: Emergency Preparedness Essentials in Home Care & Hospice Settings

Program includes tabletop exercise that partly fulfills imminent CoP requirement; plus, group registration discounts offered for HCA members!

September 27, 2017
Albany

HCA presents a comprehensive full-day program on September 27 in Albany, during National Preparedness Month, that will delve into all critical and timely aspects of home care and hospice emergency preparedness affecting your operation.

The program features state health and emergency preparedness officials, including regional officers, planning managers and the Director of the Office of Health Emergency Preparedness, Michael J. Primeau, for insights on challenges and opportunities in home care and hospice preparedness. This is a great opportunity to share your experiences and concerns with top health emergency preparedness officials. Continue reading “Are You Prepared: Emergency Preparedness Essentials in Home Care & Hospice Settings”

HCA’s Oct. 19 Compliance Symposium Addresses Your Top Worries, Concerns, Needs

One of our signature programs, HCA’s one-day Corporate Compliance Symposium (October 19 in Albany) is packed with five carefully designed sessions bringing the expertise of legal minds, top consultants, health association leaders and public officials to address your most relevant compliance worries, concerns and needs.

From big-picture considerations to the concrete mechanics of your compliance program planning, this conference will:

  • Emphasize the focus areas targeted by government auditors (i.e., OMIG and OIG) so you can assure your readiness;
  • Provide takeaways and best-practice guidance based on real-world cases of HIT- and HIPAA-related breaches and enforcement actions;
  • Help you overcome exposure and identify new risks introduced by your participation in new integrated models of care; and
  • Examine growing segments of the home care continuum that are drawing scrutiny and new regulatory activity from state compliance agencies.

Learn more. Check out the brochure and register online at the links below.

As Senate Bill Goes Public, HCA Heads to Washington Opposing Even Deeper Medicaid Cuts

The Senate last week issued a draft health care bill with even deeper Medicaid cuts than the already adopted House plan.

HCA, meanwhile, has continued its work in collaboration with a New York coalition of health care organizations urging members of New York’s Congressional Delegation to resist the Senate measure, along with any consensus bill that would follow in like form. Continue reading “As Senate Bill Goes Public, HCA Heads to Washington Opposing Even Deeper Medicaid Cuts”

HCA-Prompted Letter from Rep. John Faso Helps Achieve CoP Delay

As Home Health Care News reports, “Lawmakers, too, were pushing for a delay to give agencies more time to comply with the significant changes. The Home Care Association (HCA) of New York worked with New York Congressman John Faso to urge CMS to delay the effective date as recently as March 27, when Rep. Faso sent a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma.”

“Home care providers understand the rationales and goals of the CoP changes, and they report vigorous and hurried efforts to get their staff trained and ready,” the letter reads. “Moving back implementation by six months will allow for all parties involved to be better prepared to operate and ultimately provide quality care to home care beneficiaries.”

Rep. Faso’s letter can be read here.

HCA, Member Providers Testify at NY Assembly Hearing on Home Care Workforce Issues

ALBANY — Today the state Assembly held a public hearing on home care workforce issues.

This hearing follows an earlier one, held last week (on February 22) in New York City. HCA sent the following statement in response to the February 22 hearing: https://hca-nys.org/policy-positions/hca-statement-state-assembly-hearing-on-home-care-workforce-issues.

Today’s HCA testimony in Albany was presented by HCA Executive Vice President Al Cardillo. The testimony can be downloaded from our website at: https://hca-nys.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Testimony-of-Home-Care-Association-of-NYS_Homecare-Workforce-Hearing-2-27-2017.pdf.

“The public health system has been reconfigured to require and rely on ready access to timely, capable and person-centered home care,” Mr. Cardillo said. “Current governmental policies and reforms are rapidly and substantially deepening this reliance.” Continue reading “HCA, Member Providers Testify at NY Assembly Hearing on Home Care Workforce Issues”

HCA Statement: State Assembly Hearing on Home Care Workforce Issues

Media urged to attend a second Assembly hearing on Monday in Albany (details are below)

HCA greatly appreciates the state Assembly’s focus on home care workforce issues during a hearing today in New York City and another hearing scheduled on Monday in Albany.

Home care workforce recruitment, retention and staffing shortages have long been a concern for providers, consumers, and aging and disabled New Yorkers.

Home care is a demanding occupation that requires a unique set of skills and aptitudes. A comprehensive set of solutions is therefore needed to support this vital workforce, along with adequate reimbursement from the state for labor and non-labor service costs at a time when home care providers and Managed Long Term Care plans alike are experiencing operating losses statewide.

Between 2010 and 2014, home care employment rose 43% in New York City. As of 2015, home health aides in New York City number 117,760, along with 71,390 personal care aides and 70,990 registered nurses in home care. Nevertheless, shortages and high turnover rates persist, causing enormous administrative cost and resource pressures for training and orientation in home care, not to mention disruption in the continuity of care. Continue reading “HCA Statement: State Assembly Hearing on Home Care Workforce Issues”