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Texting is a quick and easy way to communicate with colleagues and patients.  Home health providers appreciate the convenience of using text messaging to confirm appointments, answer questions, and address concerns with fellow staff members and their case load.  However, text isn’t always best despite its popularity for convenient communications.  Agencies might be more at risk than they think if staff members are texting each other information about patients.  And, free consumer group messaging apps utilize vulnerable platforms which are unable to address health care-specific needs in terms of security and compliance.  An agency places itself and its patients ...
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According to the CDC, patients can be protected against serious diseases like shingles, pneumococcal disease, hepatitis B, and seasonal flu with critical vaccinations.  Home health agencies play a key role in educating patients about the importance of vaccination.  An agency can provide immunization reminders, refer patients to vaccine providers, and follow-up with patients to ensure vaccination.  National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is an annual observance held in August to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. Partnering with academic and public health colleagues, the CDC published an article in the Clinical Infectious ...
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It’s no secret that home care agencies face increasingly challenging circumstances when it comes to providing efficient, high-quality care that Texans and their families expect. With strict, shifting regulations , inconsistent Medicaid reimbursement rates, a dearth of caregivers at a low minimum wage in a highly competitive market, not to mention Texas’ recent Obamacare challenge -- the need for agencies to prove their worth to the government and their clients has never been more important.     Houston alone is one of the top U.S. markets for home care agencies, as it is home to approximately 700,000 of the state’s 3.5 million individuals over the ...
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From Texas Health and Human Services: New Features for Hospice Forms 3071 and 3074 Beginning August 23, 2019 Beginning Aug. 23, 2019, providers can monitor and interact with hospice forms 3071, Individual Election/Cancellation/Update and 3074, Physician Certification of Terminal Illness. To do this, go to the Long-Term Care Online Portal and view form status. Besides the existing “Save as Draft” and “Print” form actions, providers also have access to the following form actions (depending on the user’s security permissions or the current form status): Add Note • Correct this Form • Inactivate Form • Reactivate Form • Resubmit Form • Use as Template ...
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will hold an Open Door Forum (ODF) on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern Time to discuss the latest developments in home health, hospice, and durable medical equipment. Please call in at least 15 minutes before the start of the ODF. The agenda for the July 9 ODF is subject to change, but is scheduled as follows: Opening Remarks Acting Chair – Brian Slater, Center for Medicare Moderator – Jill Darling (OC) Announcements & Updates *DMEPOS Update * Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor  website and the  Round 2021  DMEPOS Competitive Bidding ...
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In this update TAHC&H is providing you with a short list of Medicaid bills that deal with the operation and administration of the Medicaid program, especially in regards to managed care. The 86 th session was very different for bills filed to address concerns and fix issues with Texas Medicaid and there was not a shortage of bills filed this session. However, the legislators who filed the majority of the bills did not receive hearings. Only a handful of bills that impact our members made it across the finish line and were signed by the Governor. Below are the key bills that are important to your business and the patients you serve. SB 1207, by Senator ...
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Congratulations Wichita Home Health Service, Inc. on 50 extraordinary years.  Our industry at large is blessed to have, Dr. Ruth Constant, such an exceptional advocate for home care and hospice whose passion and foresight lead her to become one of the founding members of the Texas Association for Home Care & Hospice also celebrating 50 years (original name; H ome H ealth A gencies A ssociation of T exas, Inc.). When the Association first started, August 28 th , 1969, it was only through those members who devoted their time, money and energy to the cause that we have the Association we have today.  “ Our beginnings were bold and daring and grew out ...
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As everyone has probably heard the 86th General Legislative Session is all but a memory. Sine Die fell on Memorial Day, May 27th, as it does every odd numbered year and this year we are happy to report there are a handful of good bills impacting the membership of TAHC&H that passed. This week we are highlighting 3 of those bills. Over the next few weeks we will continue to highlight bills so stay tuned to your weekly newsletter for a Perspective you will only get as a member of TAHC&H. Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) was a top tier issue for TAHC&H this session. Prior to this legislative session TAHC&H began approaching legislative offices ...
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Only 3 days stand between home health agencies and the launch of the dreaded Review Choice Demonstration (RCD) in Illinois. Having quality documentation processes in place and a strong electronic medical record (EMR) partner will be the keys to surviving the upcoming demo, experts caution. But picking the right claims review option will also be critical to agencies’ RCD success. “You have to have good processes in place, with staff buying into what you’re trying to accomplish,” Cheryl Adams, the home health administrator for Sparta Community Hospital, told Home Health Care News. “And you want to have a strong EMR, one that adapts to different regulation ...
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights, Southwest Region will be providing a free "Civil Rights and HIPAA for Small Providers" presentation on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, at: Mickey Leland Federal Building 1919 Smith St. Houston, TX 77002 This introductory training will include: Civil Rights Race, Color, National Origin Disability Conscience & Religious Freedom Enforcement Updates HIPAA Access Security Rule Breach Highlights Enforcement Updates Space is limited! To reserve your seat, please RSVP to Erica Broussard by June 19, 2019, at erica.broussard@hhs.gov
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As previously reported, Illinois home health agencies have until this  Thursday, May 16, 2019  to make their Review Choice Demonstration (RCD) choices.  Illinois Providers must be enrolled in Palmetto GBA’s eServices in order to make their selection.   HHAs that do not make a choice selection by May 16, 2019 will be automatically placed in either Choice 2: Postpayment Review (for those IL providers new to RCD or not having an affirmation rate of 90% or greater) or Choice 4: Selective Postpayment Review (for those Illinois providers with an affirmation rate of 90% or greater (based on a 10 request/claim minimum). Following the close of the choice selection ...
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The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the renewal of the Home Health Change of Care (HHCCN) Form, CMS-10280. Effective July 1, 2019, all Home Health Agencies (HHA) will be required to use the renewed form with the expiration date of 4/30/2022 on the bottom.  Please note that HHAs may continue to use the old form up until July 1, 2019 but we encourage HHAs to begin transitioning to the renewed form.   There have been no changes made to the layout or content of the form other than the expiration date.  HHAs may find the form and the form instructions in the download section of the  CMS FFS HHCCN webpage
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Dear Members,  As many of you know, CMS recently issued a  proposed rule changing hospice payment rates and quality reporting requirements,  CMS‑1714‑P . This rule is summarized in a CMS Fact Sheet for provider convenience.   CMS states that they believe the proposed rule "demonstrates continued commitment to strengthening Medicare by better aligning the hospice payment rates with the costs of providing care and increasing transparency so patients can make more informed choices." Please note the following significant changes proposed in this rule: updates the Medicare hospice wage index, payment rates, and cap amount for fiscal year (FY) 2020. ...
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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) work planning is dynamic and adjustments are made throughout the year to meet priorities and to anticipate and respond to emerging issues. A Work Plan has been developed, made public, and updated monthly with new issues.  This month, there are two new issues of interest added to the  OIG 2019 work plan. While the issues do not directly address home health and hospice providers, they do address home health agencies and hospices partner with in the care of patients.  The issues are summarized below. Medicaid Personal Care Services Personal care services (PCS) is a Medicaid ...
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Dear Members, Below are their most recent cases. Just want to bring these to your attention for knowledge and learning purposes:  The Medicare Fraud Strike Force Teams harness data analytics and the combined resources of Federal, State, and local law enforcement entities to prevent and combat health care fraud, waste, and abuse. First established in March 2007, Strike Force teams currently operate in the following areas: Miami, Florida; Los Angeles, California; Detroit, Michigan; Houston, Texas ; Brooklyn, New York; Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana; Tampa and Orlando, Florida; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Washington, D.C.; Newark, New Jersey/Philadelphia, ...
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On March 28th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a * health advisory to notify clinicians that influenza activity remains high in the United States, with an increasing proportion of activity due to influenza A(H3N2) viruses, continued circulation of influenza A(H1N1) viruses, and low levels of influenza B viruses. The Health Alert Network (HAN) advisory states that influenza should be considered as a possible diagnosis for patients with respiratory illness while local influenza activity remains elevated and widespread, and the season is likely to last several more weeks (see CDC FluView report for details:  https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm ...
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Gavel to Gavel

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(March 22, 2019) This past Wednesday, the Senate unanimously passed a package of bills which would provide $1.8 billion in Hurricane Harvey relief and flood prevention funding. SB 6 , SB 7 , & SB 8 – all top priorities of Lieutenant Governor Patrick – will together create a disaster response plan for local officials, a statewide flood plan, and a flood project ‘resiliency fund.’ The bills now head for consideration in the House, where a 2018-2019 supplemental spending bill, which includes Hurricane Harvey spending, is set on the calendar for next Wednesday.   Meanwhile in the House, the House Appropriations Committee approved HB 1 , a budget including ...
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PDGM is top of mind for home health agencies as the Rule Changes will take place in 2020.  As part of the preparations, many agency executives are beginning to evolve agency processes and practices which leverage their strengths as they related to PDGM’s changes.   Under the PDGM, each 30-day period is classified into one of two admission source categories – Community or Institutional – depending on what healthcare setting was utilized in the 14 days prior to home health admission. Admission sources are defined as: Institutional:   Discharged from an institutional setting (hospital, SNF, IRF, LTCH) in the 14 days prior to the HH admission Community:  ...
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On Tuesday, March 19 th , TAHC&H director of Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs, Sarah Mills testified in support of HB 1063, by Representative Four Price.  Additionally, on Wednesday, March 20 th , we will also testify on a similar bill in the House Public Health committee, HB 1738, by Representative Ryan Guillen.  Background In 2011 the Texas Legislature passed SB 293 (Watson, Davis) relating to telemedicine medical services, telehealth services, and home telemonitoring services provided to certain Medicaid recipients.  The bill authorized the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to establish a statewide program ...
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Accreditation Commission for Health Care, Inc. (ACHC) is hosting a hospice and home health accreditation workshop in Dallas on April 9 – 10 th ! Specifically created for organizations seeking accreditation for the first time or those experienced in the accreditation process, this workshop provides an in-depth look at pre-survey preparation, key steps to having a successful on-site survey, and how to complete important post-survey components. Each attendee will receive the  ACHC Accreditation Guide to Success  workbook along with a copy of the ACHC Home Health Accreditation Standards for FREE, which will be used as the primary learning instruments during ...
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