Home Health & Hospice Weekly News Roundup

Our weekly list of news, reports, and information about home health and hospice care. Learn about new studies, trends, CMS regulations and more.

Verma Renews Commitment to Value-Based Models

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma renewed her commitment Monday to reshaping the U.S. healthcare delivery system into one that values quality over quantity. “When a provider has to spend more time looking at a screen than engaging with a patient, or spend more time reporting data than actually providing care, then we’re collecting measures at the expense of patients,” she said to applause.

AAFP Calls on Feds to Eliminate Health IT Utilization Measures, Focus on Data Blocking

The nation’s leading association of family physicians is urging federal officials to strip down health IT utilization measures, pare down documentation guidelines and instead focus their energy eliminating data blocking. The letter comes on the heels of an announcement that the organization plans to focus on administrative simplification, with medical record documentation listed among its four priorities.

Ensign: The Skilled Nursing Business Isn’t As Hard As It Seems

The Ensign Group (NASDAQ: ENSG) announced solid earnings for the fourth quarter of 2017 — and took a not-too-subtle shot at some of its competitors. The Mission Viejo, Calif.-based post-acute provider saw a 40.2% increase in revenues related to transitional and skilled nursing care from the fourth quarter of 2016, along with gains in occupancy of 289 basis points for all properties, and 109 basis points on a same-store basis.

American Telemedicine Association Applauds Landmark Expansion of Medicare Telehealth Coverage

President Trump this morning signed into law a funding bill that includes the entirety of the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act. Originally introduced by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), with significant input from ATA and its members, the new law will expand telehealth coverage for accountable care organizations (ACOs), improve flexibility for telehealth use under Medicare Advantage plans, and allow nationwide reimbursement for tele stroke care and home dialysis treatment. The new law provides the largest boost to Federal telehealth coverage and payment in 17 years.