CMS Encourages Home Health Agencies To Adopt Health IT

CMS issued a proposed rule for the 2016 Medicare home health prospective payment system that encourages home health agencies to accelerate their adoption of health IT, Health Data Management reports (Goedert, Health Data Management, 7/8).

Details of Proposed Rule

According to AHA News, the proposed rule would reduce home health payments by 1.8% from 2015 levels (AHA News, 7/6). The proposal also would impose a value-based purchasing model on all Medicare-certified home health agencies in nine states as part of a pilot program.

In addition, the proposal would:

  • Enforce a 1.72 percentage point cut in calendar year 2016 and CY 2017 to the standardized 60-day episode payment rate (Health Data Management, 7/8); and
  • Establish the third year of a four-year "rebasing" of the standardized 60-day home care episode rate in an effort to recover overpayments (Dickson, Modern Healthcare, 7/7).

Health IT Implications

Citing the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's interoperability roadmap and the draft 2015 Interoperability Standards Advisory, CMS in its proposed rule encourages home health agencies to use electronic health records and health information exchange (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 7/7).

CMS notes that doing so would result in greater success for the organizations, adding that "effective adoption and use of health information exchange and health IT tools will be essential as these settings seek to improve quality and lower costs through initiatives such as value-based purchasing."

The agency adds, "As adoption of certified health IT increases and interoperability standards continue to mature, HHS will seek to reinforce standards through relevant policies and programs" (Health Data Management, 7/8).

Source: iHealthBeat, Wednesday, July 8, 2015