The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced yesterday that the Home Health Conditions of Participation will be published in the Federal Register on Thursday, Oct. 9. You may preview the unpublished version here. According to the press release, "The proposed regulation, to be displayed Monday, Oct. 6, at the Federal Register, would modernize the home health regulations for the first time since 1989 with a focus on patient-centered, well-coordinated care. Elements in the regulation include expansion of patient rights requirements; refocusing of the patient assessment on physical, mental, emotional, and psychosocial conditions; improved communication systems and requirements for a data-driven quality assessment; and performance improvement (QAPI) program."
The proposed regulation will include these proposed updates:
- A clear explanation of patient rights, including a requirement to communicate with patients in a language and manner that they understand, and a requirement that home health agencies must take measures to assure and protect those rights.
- An expanded comprehensive patient assessment requirement that focuses on all aspects of patient well-being.
- An integrated communication system, increasingly enabled by health information technology, that ensures that patient needs are identified and addressed, care is coordinated among all disciplines, and that there is active, timely, needs-based communication between the home health agency and the physician.
- A data-driven, agency-wide quality assessment and performance improvement program that continually evaluates and improves agency care for patients.
- An expanded patient care coordination requirement that makes a licensed clinician responsible for all patient care services, such as coordinating referrals and assuring that plans of care meet each patient's needs at all times.
VNAA is reviewing the updated CoPs and will provide a detailed analysis of the updates to its membership. CMS is soliciting comments on the proposed CoPs before final rulemaking in 2015.