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CMS Finalizes New Home Health Conditions of Participation

OASIS Answers - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

On January 9, 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized the Home Health Conditions of Participation (COPs).  The new Conditions of Participation are the minimum health and safety standards a home health agency must meet to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The new COPs will be effective on July 13, 2017.

The update to the Medicare and Medicaid Conditions of Participation for home health agencies is the first update in many years, and reflects current best practices for in-home care, based on recommendations from stakeholders and medical evidence.  The changes are an integral part of CMS’ overall effort to improve quality of care furnished through Medicare and Medicaid programs and to streamline requirements for providers.

This final rule includes:

  • A comprehensive patient rights condition of participation that clearly enumerates the rights of home health agency patients and the steps that must be taken to assure those rights.
  • An expanded comprehensive patient assessment requirement that focuses on all aspects of patient wellbeing.
  • A requirement that assures that patients and caregivers have written information about upcoming visits, medication instructions, treatments administered, instructions for care that the patient and caregivers perform, and the name and contact information of a home health agency clinical manager.
  • A requirement for an integrated communication system that ensures that patient needs are identified and addressed, care is coordinated among all disciplines, and that there is active communication between the home health agency and the patient’s physician(s).
  • A requirement for a data-driven, agency-wide quality assessment and performance improvement (QAPI) program that continually evaluates and improves agency care for all patients at all times.
  • A new infection prevention and control requirement that focuses on the use of standard infection control practices, and patient/caregiver education and teaching.
  • A streamlined skilled professional services requirement that focuses on appropriate patient care activities and supervision across all disciplines.
  • An expanded patient care coordination requirement that makes a licensed clinician responsible for all patient care services, such as coordinating referrals and assuring that plans of care meet each patient’s needs at all times.
  • Revisions to simplify the organizational structure of home health agencies while continuing to allow parent agencies and their branches.
  • New personnel qualifications for home health agency administrators and clinical managers.

Link to Final Rules on the Federal Register:

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Have you registered? Home Health Quality of Patient Care Star Rating Medicare Learning Network (MLN) Connects Call

OASIS Answers - Monday, January 02, 2017

Reminder to register for the Home Health Quality of Patient Care Star Rating MLN Connects Call on January 19, 2017.  CMS anticipates that the star ratings will continue to evolve and be refined over time.  Learn about the latest proposed changes to the Home Health Quality of Patient Care Star Rating on Home Health Compare based on stakeholder and technical expert panel feedback.  This call will include an overview of the current calculation algorithm, proposed changes, and potential roll-out plans. A question and answer session will follow the presentation. 

When:  Thursday, January 19, 2017 from 1:30-3 pm ET

Target Audience: Home health providers

To register for an MLN Connects Call, please visit the MLN Connects Event Registration 

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Hospice National Quality Data Now Available

OASIS Answers - Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the national average quality data for hospice. National average data are available for two quality of care data sets: 1) the Hospice Item Set (HIS) and 2) the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) Hospice Survey.

Hospice Item Set (HIS) National Average Data

The HIS information reflects provider performance on the seven National Quality Forum (NQF)-endorsed HIS measures from Quarter 3 of 2015 through Quarter 2 of 2016 (July 2015 through June 2016).

The CAHPS® Hospice Survey National Average Data

The CAHPS® Hospice Survey information contains the national average “top-box” scores of Medicare-certified hospices on the eight NQF-endorsed CAHPS® Hospice Survey measures.  Top-box scores reflect the proportion of respondents who gave the most favorable response or responses for each measure.  Scores are calculated from CAHPS® Hospice Survey responses that reflect care experiences of informal caregivers (i.e., family members or friends) of patients who died while receiving hospice care in Quarter 2 of 2015 through Quarter 1 of 2016 (April 2015 through March 2016).

To access measure scores of Medicare-certified hospices and the HIS and CAHPS® Hospice Survey files, visit: and click on the Hospice Directory data.

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