CMS Finalizes New Medicare and Medicaid Home Health Care Rules

According to the government website ( CMS, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, finalized new Medicare and Medicaid home health care rules.

home health care

The article, dated 1/9/2017, states the new rules were crafted to allow a better quality of health care for Medicare and Medicaid recipients. Home health care helps seniors live more independently, even with an injury or illness, in the privacy of their home. These services can cover a wide range of needs. A senior receiving home health care can often delay the need for long-term nursing home care.

CMS has outlined the important changes to home health care on their website. This can be seen in the below excerpt.

Article Source: Access article here
Date: 1/9/17

These changes are an integral part of CMS’ overall effort to improve the quality of care furnished through the Medicare and Medicaid programs, while streamlining requirements for providers. The final rule includes:

• A comprehensive patient rights condition of participation that clearly enumerates the rights of home health agency patients and the steps that must be taken to assure those rights.

• An expanded comprehensive patient assessment requirement that focuses on all aspects of patient wellbeing.

• A requirement that assures that patients and caregivers have written information about upcoming visits, medication instructions, treatments administered, instructions for care that the patient and caregivers perform, and the name and contact information of a home health agency clinical manager.

• A requirement for an integrated communication system that ensures that patient needs are identified and addressed, care is coordinated among all disciplines, and that there is active communication between the home health agency and the patient’s physician(s).

• A requirement for a data-driven, agency-wide quality assessment and performance improvement (QAPI) program that continually evaluates and improves agency care for all patients at all times.

• A new infection prevention and control requirement that focuses on the use of standard infection control practices, and patient/caregiver education and teaching.

• A streamlined skilled professional services requirement that focuses on appropriate patient care activities and supervision across all disciplines.

• An expanded patient care coordination requirement that makes a licensed clinician responsible for all patient care services, such as coordinating referrals and assuring that plans of care meet each patient’s needs at all times.

• Revisions to simplify the organizational structure of home health agencies while continuing to allow parent agencies and their branches.

• New personnel qualifications for home health agency administrators and clinical managers.

The final rule can be viewed at the Federal Register website at:

To find out more about home health care programs where you live, contact your local aging information and assistance provider or Area Agency on Aging (AAA).