CMS’ New Rule Reduces Compliance Headaches

This week CMS released Omnibus Burden Reduction (Conditions of Participation) Final Rule. The rule “removes Medicare regulations identified as unnecessary, obsolete, or excessively burdensome on hospitals and other healthcare providers to reduce inefficiencies and moves the nation closer to a healthcare system that delivers value, high quality care and better outcomes for patients at the lowest possible cost.”

There are several notable changes for home health agencies and hospices:

Home Health

  • Removing the requirement that the Home Health Agency (HHA) conduct a full competency evaluation of a home health aide when deficiencies are identified in aide services, and replacing it with a requirement to retrain the aide regarding the identified deficient skill(s), and requiring the aide to complete a competency evaluation related only to those skills; and
  • Limiting the requirements for verbal (meaning spoken) notification of all patient rights to those rights related to payments made by Medicare, Medicaid, and other federally funded programs, and for potential patient financial liabilities, as specified in the Social Security Act. HHAs will still be required to provide written notice of all patient rights to all HHA patients.

Hospices

  • Allowing hospices to defer to State licensure requirements for qualification of their hospice aides, regardless of the State licensure content or format, thus allowing states to set forth training and competency requirements that meet the needs of their populations. We anticipate this change will streamline the hiring process for most hospices;
  • Removing the prescriptive requirement that hospices must consult with an individual with expertise in drug management in addition to the hospice‚Äôs own expert clinicians; and
  • For hospices that provide hospice care to residents of a Skilled Nursing Facility or Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, CMS is requiring hospices to work with their chosen Skilled Nursing Facility and intermediate care facility partners to educate facility staff about the hospice philosophy of care and specific hospice practices. CMS believes this will encourage collaboration between both entities; and will avoid duplication of efforts with other hospices that are orienting the same facility staff.

There are many more changes included in this new rule. Click here to read CMS’ fact sheet.