Author: Tom Maxwell
Posted Date: July 10, 2023
At Maxwell Healthcare Associates (MHA), we understand the concerns and frustrations circulating within the industry regarding the recently proposed 2.2% reduction in home health payments by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for calendar year 2024. As advocates for quality care and sustainable practices, we feel it is crucial to address these concerns head-on and shed light on the potential consequences that this decision may have on both providers and patients. Let’s explore the key points of contention and emphasize the need for collaborative efforts to ensure access to high-quality care for all.
First and foremost, MHA wants to express our deep concerns about the budget neutrality methodology employed by CMS to determine the rate adjustments. We stand united with home care providers in voicing our disagreement with this methodology. We firmly believe that it is fundamentally flawed and fails to consider the broader implications on patient access to care, reduced spending on Medicare home health, and the challenges faced by providers in delivering necessary services within the confines of the proposed payment rates.
The potential consequences of CMS's proposed reduction are far-reaching. By decreasing spending on Medicare home health, we risk limiting patient access to essential care. Furthermore, providers find themselves grappling with the challenge of offering necessary services while operating within constrained payment rates. This situation not only affects the quality of care but also strains providers' ability to recruit and retain skilled staff, particularly in a labor market that is already under pressure.
One of the significant concerns highlighted by MHA is the absence of an accurate cost inflation update. Over the past two years, the industry expected a 5.2% increase to account for rising costs. However, the lack of this update has further contributed to the loss of care access. It is imperative that we advocate for a fair and accurate cost inflation update, enabling providers to continue offering quality care without compromising their financial viability.
In these challenging times, collaboration is key to finding sustainable solutions that address the concerns raised by CMS's proposed reduction. MHA encourages open dialogue among industry stakeholders, policymakers, and CMS to identify alternative approaches that maintain access to care while ensuring fiscal responsibility. Together, we can work towards a system that supports home health providers and safeguards the well-being of patients and their families.
Considering the impending cost cuts to home health agency revenue, it is crucial for agencies to explore strategies that help mitigate the impact and maintain financial sustainability. There are three key areas that agencies can focus on to address these challenges.
Centralization of common services plays a significant role in streamlining operations and reducing costs. By minimizing redundant clicks and administrative work at the branch level, branch leaders can allocate more time and attention to direct patient care. This shift enables caregivers, such as nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and home health aides, to focus on providing quality care to patients while optimizing efficiency and reducing unnecessary expenses.
Agencies can prioritize partnerships with Medicare Advantage payers and gain a deeper understanding of their specific requirements for authorization and recertification processes. By aligning their operations with the unique needs of Medicare Advantage plans, agencies can optimize reimbursement and profitability. This strategic focus allows agencies to navigate the payer landscape effectively and ensure compliance while maximizing revenue.
Lastly, agencies should leverage their Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems to their fullest potential. By utilizing technology, agencies can match the right caregiver with each patient, ensuring that caregivers can practice at the top of their license. This optimization of caregiver assignments helps enhance patient outcomes and satisfaction while optimizing costs per visit. At Maxwell Healthcare Associates, we are developing technologies such as NOTIFYnana, nanaCONNECT, and the Caregiver Accelerator tools. These tools aim to streamline caregiver management, improving efficiency and effectiveness in optimizing cost per visit and maximizing reimbursement under traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and commercial insurance plans.
By embracing these strategies and leveraging technological advancements, home health agencies can adapt to the changing reimbursement landscape while delivering high-quality care. It is through proactive measures and innovative solutions that agencies can navigate these cost cuts and continue to provide exceptional care to their patients while maintaining financial viability. At MHA, we are committed to supporting agencies in their journey towards sustainable and successful operations in the face of these challenges.
We urge industry stakeholders to come together in a collaborative effort to find sustainable solutions. By advocating for an accurate cost inflation update and fostering open dialogue, we can ensure access to high-quality care for all who depend on home health services. Let us unite our voices and work toward a future that prioritizes the well-being of patients, supports providers, and upholds the principles of quality healthcare delivery.
For those interested in learning more about MHA, visit the official MHA website at www.maxwellhca.com. Reach out to the MHA sales team directly via email at [email protected]. The dedicated sales team is ready to provide detailed information, answer any questions, and guide agencies towards the most suitable solutions to meet your unique needs. With MHA's expertise and commitment to excellence, agencies can confidently navigate the complexities of the post-acute space and achieve sustainable success amid healthcare’s disruptive environment.