Software and Services for Home Health, Hospice and Healthcare Facilities
Call us at 850-479-9035

Blogs & Articles


Summary of CMS August PDGM Call

9/5/2019 HealthWare Clinical 0 Comments

Executive Summary Horizontal Wide 1488 x 432

On August 21, 2019 CMS had a Home Health Patient Driven Groupings Model Operational Issues Call. In general, it covered much of what we already know and focused specifically on the claims submission and claims processing as a result of PDGM. It is important to note that many things stay the same under PDGM, but that there are some important changes.

Summing Up

  • Payments are calculated based on 8 OASIS items, Diagnoses, Period and Source of Admission.
  • Diagnosis codes are taken from the claim, not the OASIS.
  • Claims not OASIS are the source of payment diagnosis codes.
  • You can submit any valid HIPPS code.
  • Medicare will use data from its systems to calculate the Final HIPPS and episode payment.
  • You submit claims every 30 days.
  • You will use Occurrence code 50 to report Assessment Date.
  • You will use Occurrence codes 61 or 62 to report institutional admission sources, you must use only one, and if you use neither, the claim will be reported as a community admission source. Medicare does not use OASIS M1000 for admission source.
  • If you submit the claim with a community payment group:
  • If Medicare finds an inpatient claim with a “Through” date within 14 days of the home health “From” date they will group it into the institutional payment group.
  • If Medicare does not find an inpatient claim with a “Through” date within 14 days of the home health “From” date they will group it into the community payment group.
  • If an adjustment is made to change to an institutional payment group, it will be identified on the remittance advice.
  • If you submit a claim reflecting an institutional payment group, Medicare will not adjust to community if no inpatient claim is found after the timely filing period closes. This is because the inpatient stay may have been in a non-Medicare facility.
  • Medicare will use prior home health claim data to determine the early or late period timing.
  • If a prior claim is found within 60 days before the “From” date Medicare will group the claim as Early, otherwise, it will group it as late.
  • The transition from PPS to PDGM will treat episodes that being on or before 12/31/2019 as PPS and anything on or after 1/1/2020 as PDGM.

More Details in Case You Are Interested

You submit your OASIS very similar to how it has always been done.

One thing that is very different, the HIPPS code used when submitting the OASIS only has to be a valid HIPPS code, it does not have to be calculated using a grouper. The reason is that under PDGM you need claims data to calculate a HIPPS code. This HIPPS code will be used to calculate the split percentage payment so you really want it to be as accurate as you can get it to reflect properly in your AR, so you need to work with your software vendor to make sure you can do so.

You submit the RAP and will receive a split percentage payment.

You now provide 30 days of service and then submit a Final claim with the same HIPPS code used on the RAP, along with service line item details.

The Medicare system will combine OASIS and claim data and use their grouper to produce a HIPPS code, and that will be used for payment. This will also consider claims history and inpatient discharge information to determine period and admission source when calculating the HIPPS code.

The HIPPS code that Medicare will use in its calculation is made up of the admission source, which it will look at claims data to find previous inpatient stays, period timing, diagnoses and functional impairment level based on the values of 8 OASIS items.

  • Each 30-day period is classified into one of two admission source categories, community or institutional. This depends on what healthcare setting was utilized in the 14 days prior to home health admission.
  • The first 30-day period is classified as early. All subsequent 30-day periods in the sequence (second or later) are classified as late.
  • In addition to the primary diagnosis, PDGM includes a comorbidity adjustment based on the secondary diagnoses. You can receive no adjustment, a low adjustment or a high adjustment.
  • Low comorbidity adjustment: A secondary diagnosis is associated with higher resource use.
  • High comorbidity adjustment: Two or more secondary diagnoses are associated with higher resource use when both are reported together compared to if they were reported separately.
  • Functional impairment level is determined by 8 OASIS items, M1800, M1810, M1820, M1830, M1840, M1850, M1860 and M1033.

So, the RAP is paid based on the HIPPS code you submit on the RAP, and the Final is paid based on the HIPPS code calculated by Medicare. If your RAP was submitted with a poorly calculated HIPPS code, your final payment may vary greatly from your projected payment.

Wormable Bugs in Windows Need Your Immediate Attention

8/14/2019 HealthWare Other 0 Comments

Exploits could spread from PC to PC without any user interaction needed.

There are four new Windows vulnerabilities that Microsoft is warning about related to Remote Desktop Services (RDS) – previously known as Terminal Services. These vulnerabilities can allow a user to take control of a PC over a network connection by making it possible for an unauthenticated attacker to send a specially crafted request. Once the attacker gains access, they can execute arbitrary code on the exploited system allowing them to install programs, manipulate data and even create accounts with full user rights.

These vulnerabilities affect most running versions of Windows including desktops versions 7, 8 and 10 along with server versions 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2019. This means that most computers in operation today are at risk. Many healthcare organizations use Remote Desktop Services (RDS) to help protect access to Protected Health Information. Protecting this PHI makes it especially critical that these systems are updated immediately.

Microsoft rates the severity of these vulnerabilities as Critical, a 9.7 or higher out of 10. It also says that there is a high risk of this vulnerability being exploited. This risk is increased if Network Level Authentication is turned off which is common in many enterprises.

If you have automated updates enabled you should have received these updates on 8/13/2019, which was this month's “Patch Tuesday”. You should ensure that you have received these updates and that they have been applied.

Microsoft created this blog post to explain the importance of patching these vulnerabilities quickly. The following are links to details of the specific vulnerabilities.

The Financial Impact of the Home Health Care Proposed Rule for 2020

7/24/2019 HealthWare Other 1 Comments

Overall Summary

· Increases the Medicare payments by 1.3% or about $250 million dollars

· Leaves most of PDGM intact

· Implement a new home infusion benefit

· Eliminate pre-payments (RAP)

· Make VBP performance data public


Financial Impact

Most important to many agencies is how their payments will be affected. CMS states that the projected 1.3% increase is based on how revenue is likely to be affected by propose policy changes, including PDGM. Below is a copy of table 36 from the proposed rule that shows how much each different agency type and location is expected to be affected.


image

image

There are also other factors to consider on the financial impacts for Home Health agencies in 2020.

HHVBP Model 

Under the HHVBP model there will be adjustments based on your performance data. The highest performing agencies will receive and increase in reimbursement and the lowest performing agencies will see a decrease. 

HH QRP 

Agencies that meet their reporting requirements are entitled to the full home health market basket percentage increase. Agencies that fail to meet their reporting requirements will be subject to 2% reduction in the market basket increase. CMS also concludes that the change in OASIS item collection as a result of the proposed changes to HH QRP effective on January 1, 2021 will result in a net additional annualized cost of $169.9 million dollars due to the increased cost of information collection.

Rural Add-On

clip_image001

Low Utilization Payment Adjustments 

Under the PDGM, LUPA Thresholds are calculated differently because they are now based on the unit of payment 30 days vs the current 60-day episodes. Under PPS the threshold was 4 visits. Under the PDGM LUPA Thresholds are determined for each payment group and vary from 2 to 6 visits. This means now instead of having a threshold of 4 visits for 60 days, you could trigger a LUPA as many as 12 visits over that same 60 days.

Elimination of RAP 

The proposed phase out and eventual elimination of the prepayments should not change the payment amount but it will affect an agencies cash flow because the amount you get up front will be less and eventually none under the current proposal. Agencies will eventually have to wait until the end of the 30-day payment period to submit the claim and get paid.

HealthWare is ready for PDGM. If your agency needs help preparing, contact us at sales@healthware.com to learn more on how we can assist. 

Still on SQL Server 2008 or 2008R2? Your Data Could Be At Risk After Today!

7/9/2019 HealthWare Other 0 Comments

Microsoft has announced that they will end support for SQL Server 2008 and R2 after today. This means no more updates, including security updates. If you are a homecare agency, this means it is critical that you migrate now to a newer version or to the cloud because your system is no longer HIPAA compliant and could put you at risk for data breaches.

Hackers

While you can upgrade to a newer version of SQL Server, the expense, energy and effort to do that can be far more than you were expecting. For this reason, many healthcare agencies are migrating their databases to the cloud. It’s not only a less expensive and less daunting option, but it helps to ensure your agency’s data is protected. Most clouds like Microsoft Azure are HIPAA and HITRUST certified. HITRUST is one of the highest security certifications and ensures that your agency’s data is compliant with HIPAA regulations.

Securing your data is more important than ever and should be part of any disaster recovery plan. We here at HealthWare can help make sure your data is secure and protect you from potential threats. Contact today at sales@healthware.com.