Docs need more Medicare info
* About 60% of physicians who provide home healthcare services to Medicare beneficiaries say they haven't heard of Medicare's home health prospective payment system that went into effect in October 2000, according to a study released late last year by HHS' inspector general's office. The study revealed that physicians have limited knowledge of key Medicare home healthcare rules. For many doctors, this limited knowledge affects their reimbursement, the study said. More than half of the physicians surveyed say they are involved in identifying home healthcare services for their patients, yet physicians bill Medicare for overseeing patients' care plans in less than 3% of all home health claims even though they have been allowed to do so since 1995.
Home care groups merge
* The boards of the American Home Care Association, Jacksonville, Fla., and the American Association for Homecare, Alexandria, Va., have merged. The AHCA ceased operations on Jan. 1, allowing its 215 members and some key staff and board members to join the AAH. The AHCA's former Executive Director Carmen Johnson became the AAH's director of special programs. The organization represents 3,000 members in the home health field.
Beverly leaves Florida
* Beverly Enterprises, Fort Smith, Ark., has gotten out of Florida at last, completing the previously announced sale of four assisted-living centers and 49 skilled-nursing facilities in the state to FC Properties. The $165 million purchase price was about $70 million less than the properties' listed value as of Dec. 31, 2000, but Beverly, like fellow nursing home operators Extendicare and National HealthCare Corp., wanted no more of Florida's huge resident-liability settlements and resulting sky-high premiums for liability insurance.