Administration focuses on post-acute care for data collection and improvement
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Monday an initiative aimed at nursing homes and home care settings. According to CMS, the proposed changes would improve the quality of home health services for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries by strengthening patient rights and improving communication that focuses on patient well being. CMS last updated their Condition of Participation requirements in 1989. The conditions apply to roughly 12,500 agencies nationwide that provide care to 5 million Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in their homes.
“We are focused on using as many tools as are available to promote quality improvement and better outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries,” said Marilyn Tavenner, CMS administrator. “Whether it is the regulations that guide provider practices or the information we provide directly to consumers, our primary goal is improving outcomes.”
CMS Proposes Updates of Rules For Home Health Agencies
Among the proposal requirements for home health is a requirement that patients have their rights explained to them in a language that they understand, a provision that would require HHAs to establish programs to control and prevent infections. The CMS also is updating patient privacy protections to reflect current technology. In addition, CMS proposes to require home health agencies to develop programs to control and prevent infections and communicable diseases.
The CMS is seeking input on how to better incorporate feedback from the physician most responsible for a patient’s care into the home healthcare treatment plan. The proposed regulation was issued in 1997, but never finalized and is displayed at the Federal Register. Comments on the regulation are open for 60 days.
“We believe that the continual involvement of physicians may facilitate better transitions of care, improve patient outcomes, and reduce acute care admissions by clearly establishing (and updating) treatment goals and plans, and effectively delivering care that meets those goals,” it states.
Other elements in the regulation include expansion of patient rights requirements; refocusing of the patient assessment on physical, mental, emotional, and psychosocial conditions; improved communication systems and requirements for a data-driven quality assessment; and performance improvement (QAPI) program.