Providers have until the end of this week to push the CMS to officially delay implementation of a rule aimed at improving operations and patient care at home health agencies.
The agency in early April issued a proposed rule to push back the start date of a rule that lays out new conditions of participation in Medicare and Medicaid. The current effective date is July 13, but the CMS is proposing to delay that until Jan. 13, 2018. Comments are due by June 2.
The final regulation outlined new operational requirements for home health agencies, such as training requirements for staff on competency of care and patient rights. Industry groups argued that they needed more time to comply.
"To ensure that home health agencies and their staffs can adequately prepare to respond to the new requirements, we strongly encourage the agency to delay the effective date," Sharon Dunn, president of the American Physical Therapy Association, said in a May 8 comment letter.
The final rule also requires home health agencies to provide patients and caregivers with written information about services, such as instructions for medications or contact information for clinical managers.
Overall, the CMS estimated complying with the rule will cost home health agencies $293 million in the first year and $290 million annually thereafter.
About 12,600 home health agencies provide services to roughly 5 million Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in the U.S., according to the CMS.