CMS’s Proposed Rules for Home Health Surveys and Enforcement Signal Major Changes to Come

On July 13, 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule addressing home health survey processes and new penalties for survey deficiencies. 77 Fed. Reg. 41,548, (July 13, 2012). The proposed rule also describes reductions in home health payments for 2013 and hospice quality reporting requirements. Comments must be submitted by September 4, 2012. Proposed subpart I details survey and certification guidelines, while subpart J outlines new intermediate sanctions for home health agencies (HHAs) that are not in substantial compliance with Medicare conditions of participation (COPs). This article highlights key provisions in subpart I that HHAs should note. A second discussion to appear in next week’s Healthcare Authority will focus on the proposed enforcement penalties. Home health providers should evaluate both sections of the proposed rules and consider submitting comments to inform the rule-making process.

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