The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule (CMS-3819-P) on October 9, 2014, that would revise Medicare's Home Health Agency (HHA) Conditions of Participation (COPs). Specifically, the proposed health and safety requirements would focus on the care delivered to patients by HHAs, reflect an interdisciplinary view of patient care, allow HHAs greater flexibility in meeting quality care standards and eliminate unnecessary procedural requirements. CMS has not updated the HHA COPs since 1989.
According to the CMS fact sheet, the proposed rule is in response to numerous changes in the home health industry. The proposed regulation reflects the most current home health agency practices by focusing on the care provided to patients and the impact of that care on patient outcomes. The regulation, as proposed, focuses on assuring the protection and promotion of patient rights; enhances the process for care planning, delivery, and coordination of services; streamlines regulatory requirements; and builds a foundation for ongoing, data-driven, agency-wide quality improvement.
The initial comment period was December 8, 2014; however, CMS has issued a 30-day extension. Comments on the proposed rule are now due by 5:00 p.m. EST on January 7, 2015, and may be submitted one of four ways, including electronically.