CMS Home Health Survey to Be Sent to Agencies and Physicians
Monday, January 14, 2013
by: VNAA Policy Team

Section: Public Policy and Advocacy

During the January 9, Home Health and Hospice Open Door Forum, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) noted that new surveys will be sent to a random sample of 1,075 home health agencies and 510 referring physicians shortly. 

While CMS has not released the final surveys, they will closely resemble the drafts referenced in the 2012 Federal Register entitled “Surveys of Physicians and Home Health Agencies to Assess Access Issues for Specific Medicare Beneficiaries as Defined in Section 3131(d) of the ACA.” 

The provider survey asks about the challenges experienced in accepting or caring for patients and the factors driving those challenges including the face-to-face requirement. The physician survey is very similar but focuses on challenges doctors experience in referring and admitting patients to home health. 

CMS’s will use the patient access survey to inform its Vulnerable Patient Study which was mandated in the Affordable Care Act, Sect. 3131 (d), as a direct result of VNAA’s advocacy efforts.  VNAA’s goal in requiring CMS to do this study is to ensure appropriate reimbursement for vulnerable patients most often served by nonprofit home health agencies.  CMS is required to submit a report to Congress by March 1 of 2014 on their findings as well as recommendations for legislative or administrative action including a payment demonstration. 

Drafts of the agency and physician surveys can be accessed on the Office of Budget Management Website.

The complete background on the surveys can be viewed here. (This is a zipped file so after clicking the item on the home health survey, your computer should offer you the option of opening the zipped file.)

In addition to the surveys, CMS has convened a Technical Expert Panel that includes several who can effectively advocate for vulnerable patients served by nonprofit home health agencies such as Bob Wardwell and Penny Feldman.  To help inform CMS’s efforts to better understand payment issues related to vulnerable patients, VNAA has also completed its own Vulnerable Patient Study. The study, done in conjunction with the Visiting Nurse Services of New York and VNAA members, was completed late last year and has been shared with CMS and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.
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