On June 27th, 2016, a proposed rule was published in the Federal Register that could adversely affect home healthcare agencies.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed significant reductions in Medicare reimbursements for home healthcare agencies. Such reductions would take effect in 2017, totaling $180 million, or about a 1% cut in funding. These cutbacks would be harmonious with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), stemming from overpayments for home health services dating back to 2000. There were similar diminutions in 2015 (totaling $60 million) and 2016 (totaling $260 million).
It is clear that home healthcare agencies will encounter heightened financial challenges as a result of these reductions. The tight margins for HHAs has translated into a decline in the number of agencies that opt to sign up for Medicare. In 2014, about 11,800 home healthcare agencies were signed up with Medicare, while this year, there were only about 11,400. Public comments on this proposed rule will be accepted until 5:00pm on August 26th, 2016.
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