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.

Home Health Giant Bayada Sees Rapid Growth in Senior Living Division

One the largest providers of home health care in the United States is rapidly growing its business division focused on providing services within senior living communities. Moorestown, New Jersey-based Bayada Home Health Care launched its Bayada Senior Living arm about a decade ago, recognizing a market need. Now, that division of Bayada is growing even faster than its core business of providing Medicare-reimbursed skilled care in people’s homes, CEO David Baiada told Senior Housing News. It’s been about 10 months since Baiada became the company’s CEO, taking over the role from his father, J. Mark Baiada, who founded the business in 1975. Since that time, Bayada has grown into an enterprise with annual revenue of more than $1 billion and more than 23,000 employees across 335 locations in five countries.

Amedisys Appoints Brunecz as New Chief HR Officer

Amedisys, a leading personalized health care-at-home company, has welcomed Sharon Brunecz as the company’s new chief human resources officer, replacing the retiring Larry Pernosky. With more than 20 years of experience, Brunecz has already led several human capital strategies that resulted in positive business outcomes.

Teladoc Eyes Global Telehealth Network with Advance Medical Deal

Teladoc is looking to expand its reach with the acquisition of a Spain-based telehealth company that will open up markets in Latin America and Asia. The New York-based direct-to-consumer telehealth giant whose specialty to date has been telephone-based mHealth services has announced the purchase of Advance Medical for some $352 million. The acquisition expands Teladoc’s footprint to 125 countries – including high-growth countries like China and Brazil – adds new services that include virtual medical home and clinical risk assessment, and increases the number of languages served to 20.

The GAO Report Urges the Expansion of Prior Authorization Programs and More

Since September 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has subjected selected Medicare items and services to prior authorization and pre-claim reviews. Now, the congressional watchdog agency, the Government Accountability Office GAO), wants CMS to continue such efforts and identify “new opportunities for expanding prior authorization to additional items and services with high unnecessary utilization and high improper payment rates.” And, one such GAO recommendation sure to cause a stir in the home health industry: resuming the paused home health services pre-claim review demonstration. Specifically, in its recent report—entitled “CMS Should Take Actions to Continue Prior Authorization Efforts to Reduce Spending”—are two recommendations: 1) CMS should subject accessories essential to the group 3 power wheelchairs in the permanent DMEPOS program to prior authorization. 2) CMS should take steps, “based on results from evaluations,” to continue prior authorization. These steps include: “resuming the paused home health services demonstration; extending current demonstrations; or, identifying new opportunities for expanding prior authorization to additional items and services with high unnecessary utilization and high improper payment rates.”

CMS Unveils Medicaid/CHIP 'Scorecard' Data but Doesn't Say What It'll Do with It

The Trump administration released the inaugural Medicaid and CHIP "scorecard" on June 4, which is intended to reveal how states are performing under the programs. But the agency didn’t say whether poor performances will lead to consequences for states. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said the scorecard, which publicly posts state and federal Medicaid outcomes including hospital readmissions, is in an effort to increase transparency within the programs and offers "taxpayers insights into how their dollars are being spent and the impact those dollars have on health outcomes."