VNAA Meets with CMS Officials on Quality and Payment
Monday, June 4, 2012
by: Public Policy

Section: Public Policy and Advocacy

For a full day of meetings on May 24, VNAA advocated with high-level officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the concerns of VNAA members. Representing VNAA were Peg Terry, Vice President for Quality and Innovation, Bob Wardwell, Senior Policy Consultant and Kathleen Sheehan, Vice President for Public Policy. Seven CMS officials participated in a morning meeting on quality while 12 officials met with VNAA to discuss payment issues in the afternoon.

In addition to discussing regulatory and payment concerns, both meetings were an opportunity to discuss VNAA initiatives. Peg briefed CMS on essential components of the new VNAA Quality Improvement Initiative while Kathleen discussed the need for a moratorium in both home health and hospice, the importance of the Vulnerable Patient Study, and concerns of hospice about short stay patients. Bob provided a comprehensive overview of VNAA’s waste, fraud and abuse proposals for both home health and hospice. He noted that member recommendations, to be submitted to the Senate Finance Committee on June 29, will also be shared with CMS.

In the morning meeting on quality, VNAA explored how federal officials are thinking about home health and hospice quality as well as the role of the National Quality Forum in recommending measures to CMS for adoption. VNAA also discussed issues related to the new regulations on conditional levels of deficiency along with possible future use of intermediate sanctions. Lastly, VNAA effectively advocated for greater oversight and training of intermediaries particularly on differing requirements for nonprofits and for-profits in the Medicare certification process.

In the afternoon meeting on payment, VNAA received a briefing on the Report to Congress on Value Based Purchasing (VBP). VNAA made its points on VBP and home health rebasing in the meeting and advised CMS that follow up letters will be forthcoming. CMS noted that VNAA’s 2010 pilot and current Vulnerable Patient Study data will be very helpful in terms of rebasing and any other changes to the payment system. VNAA also advised CMS that hospices had expressed strong concern about the need to enhance reimbursement for short stay patients when meeting with Kim Neuman of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission at the VNAA Annual meeting. VNAA lobbied hard to ensure that any changes in payment structure for home health and hospice advantage rather than harm payments for vulnerable patients served by VNAA members. The two meetings offered an opportunity for VNAA to engage in dialogue with CMS to be sure that nonprofit concerns stay at the top of the list.
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