That’s the word of the day for home health agencies in Florida, where there is industry-wide relief in the wake of a last-minute decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to suspend a pre-claim reviews rollout.
The rollout was set to begin Oct. 1, but home health industry advocates and state lawmakers have lobbied hard to postpone the program, saying agencies are not prepared to meet the extra burden of preparing and submitting pre-claims.
Opponents pointed to a disastrous six weeks of initial efforts in Illinois, the first state to be included in the pre-claim demonstration, where very few pre-claims were approved on first submission.
The Home Care Association of Florida was among the industry advocacy groups cautioning that patients needing home care were at risk as agencies scrambled to meet the pre-claims review burden. HCAF officials expressed relief Monday over the decision by CMS to grant agencies additional time.
No new timeline has been provided for the PCR demonstration in Florida or in other states which were previously scheduled to become part of the PCR demonstration over the next few months. Texas, Michigan and Massachusetts were on track to become part of the demonstration by Jan. 1.
CMS has indicated it will provide a 30-day notice before resuming the demonstration. The demonstration already underway in Illinois is not included in the suspension, and will continue.
In making the announcement, CMS acknowledged that problems experienced during the initial rollout in Illinois showed additional education will be needed before the demonstration can proceed.
In Illinois, the demonstration that rolled out Aug. 1 has been marked by widespread non-affirmations, with an estimated 80 percent of first submissions failing to meet approval.
A large number of non-affirmations were based on the failure of agencies in Illinois to establish homebound status of the patient and medical necessity for home health services.
The National Association of Home Care and Hospice has fought the PCR demonstration, citing numerous problems with electronic submissions. NAHC’s Vice President for Law Bill Dombi called it “a complete mess.”
Use the reprieve to get prepared
“This delay gives home health agencies some much-needed time to better prepare for the pre-claims review demonstration,” says J’non Griffin, owner and president of Home Health Solutions LLC.
“But it is important to note that the process has only been postponed, and not canceled, so agencies will still need to prepare.”
Not sure where to start?
Home Health Solutions has a great DIY Kit to get your agency started, and it’s priced at just $25. Give us a call at 888-418-6970.
Many agencies are also considering outsourcing the preparation and submission of PCRs. Home Health Solutions is working with agencies who need PCR assistance, and will be glad to speak to you about how we can help your agency.