Home Health Agencies and Ownership Changes

The home health world has been turned upside down. As many are aware, new regulations have been implemented that affect ownership changes for home health agencies (“HHAs”). On January 21, 2010, CMS published a “Medicare Learning Network Provider Inquiry Assistance.” This publication clearly states that any “ownership change” within 36 months of the Medicare enrollment date or the most recent ownership change will require a home health agency to enroll as an initial Medicare applicant.

“Ownership Change” is defined as any of the following: CHOW (as defined by Medicare); acquisition/merger; consolidation; change of information request reporting a five percent (5%) or greater ownership change (e.g., stock transfer, asset sale); or change request reporting a change in partners, regardless of the percentage of ownership involved. Previously, a stock sale (as opposed to an asset purchase) of an HHA was not treated as a change of ownership. Instead, HHAs were required to simply submit a change of information form.

Our office has become aware of numerous HHAs who were involved in stock sales and submitted the 855A applications and all relevant information prior to the publication of the final regulation. Despite the fact that the applications were submitted before August, when the regulation was proposed, the applications were never processed and the provider numbers became ineffective on January 1, 2010.

For more information on this topic please contact Adrienne Dresevic, Esq. and Robert Iwrey, Esq. at (248) 996-8510.

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