New requirements for home health providers, as established by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will not go into effect until 2018. The White House delayed implementation for this new rule change from July 13, 2017 to January 13, 2018. The new regulations were the first significant changes written since 1989 and were implemented by the Obama Administration in January, 2016.
The impact of this will be felt by more than 12,600 home health agencies that participate in Medicare and Medicaid services. They provide services to more than 5 million Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries across the country.
As noted in the blog, White House Delays Home Health Rule Change Until 2018, written by Mike Stankiewics and published by Bloomberg BNA:
“The requirements will affect the nearly 12,600 Medicare- and Medicaid-participating home health agencies in the U.S., which serve more than 5 million Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.
The CMS acknowledged that the new conditions of participation “contain numerous changes that require time for planning, testing, training, and implementation. In order to assure that [home health agencies] have adequate time for all preparation activities, we are finalizing the proposed 6 month delay.””
Part of the reason for this delay is to give these agencies more time to implement the changes. The industry, for the most part, was pleased to be given this extension. William Dombi, vice president for law at the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) said recently, “This is a very significant rule for home health agencies and they just need more time to implement these changes.”
The delay may be good news for the home care industry, and from the response, it’s clear that most of these agencies are aware that the changes will ultimately be implemented. Sometimes, making significant changes require more time and it appears as though both CMS and the White House were in agreement about the delay in this case.
It isn’t expected that this delay will cause any issues for patients who rely on in home care support services through Medicaid reimbursements. It wasn’t made clear what direct impact this could have on access or even quality of care for patients, but as CMS continues to combat fraud and abuse within this industry, it is hoped that rule changes moving forward will reduce loss and provide more financial support for the men and women who may need assistance within the comfort of their home.