CMS Issues Final Rule Home Health Conditions of Participation

Members | February 26, 2017 | by Peter Notarstefano

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final rule on the Medicare and Medicaid Conditions of Participation (CoP) for home health agencies.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final rule on the Medicare and Medicaid Conditions of Participation (CoP) for home health agencies.

A draft proposal was introduced in 2014. The rule will be published on the Federal Register on January 13, 2017. The CoPs will be effective July 13, 2017, CMS stated in the rule.

CMS provided the following summary of the Final Rule:

  • Revised the definition of “representative” at §484.2 for additional clarity.
  • Revised §484.50(a)(1) to clarify that it is the patient’s legal representative that must be informed of the patient rights information prior to the start of care.
  • Revised §484.50(a)(1)(i) to require that an HHA must provide each patient with written notice regarding the HHA’s transfer and discharge policies. This requirement was originally proposed at 484.50(d).
  • Re-designated proposed §484.50(a)(1)(ii) as §484.50(a)(3).
  • Re-designated proposed §484.50(a)(2) as §484.50(a)(1)(ii) and removed the requirement that HHA administrators are expected to receive patient questions.
  • Re-designated proposed §484.50(a)(3) as §484.50(a)(1)(iii).
  • Re-designated proposed §484.50(a)(4) as §484.50(a)(2), and clarified that a signature confirming receipt of the notice of patient rights is only required from a patient or a patient’s legal representative.
  • Revised §484.50(a)(3), requiring that the HHA must provide verbal notice of the patient’s rights no later than the completion of the second visit from a skilled professional.
  • Added new §484.50(a)(4), requiring that the HHA provide written notice of the patient’s rights and the HHA’s discharge and transfer policies to a patient-selected representative within 4 business days after the initial evaluation visit.
  • Revised 484.50(b) to replace the term “incompetence” wherever it appears with the more precise term “lack legal capacity to make health care decisions.”
  • Revised §484.50(c)(4)(i) to clarify that patients have the right to participate in and be informed about all assessments, rather than just the comprehensive assessment.
  • Removed the requirement at §484.50(c)(4)(iii) regarding providing a copy of the plan of care to each patient.
  • Revised §484.50(c)(10) to require HHAs to provide contact information for a defined group of federally-funded and state-funded entities.
  • Revised §484.50(d) to remove the requirement for HHAs to provide patients with information regarding HHA admission policies and clarified that the “transfer and discharge policies” are those set forth in paragraphs (1) through (7) of this standard.
  • Revised §484.50(d)(1) to clarify that HHAs are responsible for making arrangements for a safe and appropriate transfer.
  • Revised §484.50(d)(3) to clarify that discharge is appropriate when the physician and the HHA both agree that the patient has achieved the measurable outcomes and goals established in the individualized plan of care.
  • Revised §484.50(e)(1)(i) to clarify that the subject matter about which patients may make complaints is not limited to those subjects specified in the regulation. HHAs must investigate all such complaints.
  • Revised §484.50(e)(1)(iii) to specify that HHAs must take action to prevent retaliation while a patient complaint is being investigated.
  • Revised §484.50(e)(2) to specify that circumstances of mistreatment, neglect, abuse, or misappropriation of patient property must be reported in accordance with the requirements of state law.
  • Added a requirement at §484.55(c)(6)(i) and (ii) that the comprehensive assessment must include information about caregiver willingness and ability to provide care, and availability and schedules.
  • Added a requirement at §484.60 that patient and caregiver receive education and training including written instructions outlining medication schedule/instructions, visit schedule and any other pertinent instruction related to the patients care and treatments that the HHA will provide, specific to the patient’s care needs.
  • Moved proposed §484.60(a)(3) to §484.60(a)(2)(xii), making it applicable to all patients, and removed the terms “low,” “medium,” and “high.”
  • Revised §484.60(b)(1) to permit drugs, services and treatment to be ordered by any physician, not just the one responsible for the patient’s plan of care.
  • Revised §484.60(b)(4) to permit any nurse acting in accordance with state licensure requirements to receive verbal orders from a physician.
  • Added requirements at §484.60(d)(1) and (2) that HHAs must assure communication with all physicians involved in the plan of care, and integrate orders from all physicians involved in the plan of care to assure the coordination of all services and interventions provided to the patient.
  • Re-designated proposed §484.60(d)(1) through (3) as §484.60(d)(3) through (5).
  • Added a requirement at §484.60(e), Written information to the patient.
  • Revised §484.65 to require that QAPI program indicators include the use of emergent care services.
  • Revised §484.75(b)(7) to require skilled professionals to communicate with all physicians involved in the plan of care.
  • Revised §484.80(b)(3)(xiii) by withdrawing part of the provision under home health aide training requirements for aides to recognize and report changes in pressure ulcers.

An administrator of a Home Health Agency  who begins working for an HHA after the effective date of this final rule, even if he or she was previously employed as an administrator for a different HHA, is required to be a licensed physician, a registered nurse, or hold an undergraduate degree. A registered nurse would include a Nurse Practitioner or other advance practice nurse. Additionally, an administrator who begins working for an HHA after the effective date of this final rule is required to have experience in health service administration, with at least 1 year of supervisory or administrative experience in home health care or a related health care program.

LeadingAge had submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the CMS-3819 -Proposed Rule Medicare and Medicaid Program: Conditions of Participation for Home Health Agencies.

LeadingAge is pleased that CMS has incorporated the principles of patient-centered plans of care that are outcome oriented and data driven. To reflect that we no longer can work in silos of care based on our specific provider licensing and regulations, the rule emphasizes integration and interdisciplinary care planning. We are also pleased that the rule eliminates the 60-day summary to physician, professional advisory committee (PAC), and quarterly record review. These three requirements would be a duplication of processes and documentation that were proposed in other sections of the rule. We support that the rule significantly expands patient rights, especially the right to participate in the care planning process. This change correlates with final rules for Medicaid that were released by CMS that also stresses the need for a person centered plan of care and the patient’s participation in the care plan process.

LeadingAge developed for members a set of Checklists that delineate the requirements of the new home health Conditions of Participation (HHCoPs) published in the final rule and the actions needed to be in compliance.