At RehabCare, one of our goals is to advocate on behalf of beneficiaries’ continued access to vital rehabilitative therapies and for regulations that do not place excess administrative burden on therapists. As we reported on this blog in September, RehabCare’s parent company publicly commented on the proposed rule for Medicare’s home health payment and regulatory update proposed rule.

On October 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final payment rule for home health agencies, which will go into effect on January 1, 2015.

We were pleased that CMS listened to us, as well as other stakeholders, in advocating for therapy reassessments to be conducted every 30 calendar days – rather than on/or “close to” the 13th and 19th therapy visits to every 14 calendar days.

This provides some much needed regulatory relief for therapists to focus on patient care rather than arbitrary paperwork thresholds.

According to CMS’ fact sheet on the final rule:

CMS is finalizing the elimination of the 13th and 19th visit reassessment requirements. For episodes beginning on or after January 1, 2015; at least every 30 calendar days a qualified therapist (instead of an assistant) must provide the needed therapy service and functionally reassess the patient. This policy change will lessen the burden on HHAs of counting visits and reduce the risk of non-covered visits so that therapists can focus more on providing quality care for their patients, while still promoting therapist involvement and quality treatment for all beneficiaries regardless of the level of therapy provided.

This provision will go into effect for home health based therapies that begin on or after January 1, 2015.

We are pleased that CMS took action that lessens the administrative burden on therapists in the interest of patient care.

By RehabCare