CMS has made available the 2012 Final Rule for Home Health Agencies, which takes effect January 1, 2012. The Final Rule was displayed at the Federal Register (and revised 11/9/2011) to update Medicare’s Home Health Prospective Payment (HH PPS) rates for Calendar Year (CY) 2012.
A summary of the changes introduced include:
Payments to home health agencies (HHAs) are estimated to decrease by approximately 2.31 percent, or $430 million in CY 2012, the net effect of a 1.4 percent payment update ($280 million increase), the wage index update ($10 million increase), and a 3.79 percent case-mix coding adjustment ($720 million decrease).
The final rule imposes a negative 1.32 percent case-mix coding adjustment to the national standardized 60-day episode payment rates for CY 2013.
The final rule finalizes structural changes to the HH PPS by removing two hypertension codes from the case-mix system, lowering payments for high therapy episodes and recalibrating the HH PPS case-mix weights to ensure that these changes result in the same aggregate payments.
Finally this rule adds flexibility to allow physicians who attend to a home health patient in an acute or post-acute facility to inform the certifying physician of their encounters with the patient in order to satisfy the face-to-face encounter requirement.
Related: The online version of the 2012 Home Health PPS Final Rule is available on the Federal Register website. See this link for the online version.