What You Need to Know About the CURES Act for Home Health

Before the end of President Barack Obama’s second term, he signed into legislation the 21st Century CURES Act. The CURES Act, signed in December 2016, contained a lot of varying regulations and funding directives for the healthcare industry as a whole. Importantly, there are some major regulations imposed on the home health industry in particular.

Many supporters of this rallied around the increased funding for disease research and minimizing the speed of FDA approval on certain key drugs. It also increased funding by about $1 billion to combat the startling opioid epidemic in the U.S. However, the impact to home health is that it brings new technology requirements and reimbursement changes for certain services.

New EVV Technology Requirement for Home Health

The CURES Act requires a technology called Electronic Visit Verification, or EVV. EVV will be required for personal care services by January 2019 and for home health services by January 2023. Some states are requiring home health agencies to comply by January 2019, although the national mandate does not require it.

This EVV technology verifies the location, time and type of service that a caregiver is providing. Essentially the visit verification technology is an enhanced time and attendance application for home health and personal care services. The purpose of this is twofold. One, to ensure care is provided to the individual receiving care. Two, to curb fraudulent or inaccurate reimbursements to providers. States collectively expect to save several hundred million dollars by implementing this system.

The CURES Act states that an electronic visit verification system must record the following information:

  • (i) the type of service performed;
  • (ii) the individual receiving the service;
  • (iii) the date of the service;
  • (iv) the location of service delivery;
  • (v) the individual providing the service; and
  • (vi) the time the service begins and ends.

In regards to home health and personal care providers, the CURES Act states that the EVV system implementation must take into account stakeholders’ opinions, that it is minimally burdensome, HIPAA compliant, and takes into account best practices.

Reduced Reimbursements for Infusion Therapy Services

The CURES Act also targeted reimbursements for certain drug infusion services to reduce the drug costs in the claim. In other words, the drug costs will have to be much closer to the actual cost of the drug rather than have a higher price, or as the Act says, “reducing overpayments of infusion drugs”.

Expansion into Telehealth for Home Health

The Act outlined steps to expand telehealth into the field of home health. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is required to produce a report on where in home health telehealth could have the greatest impact. Additionally, reports will be required to identify private plans and fee-for-service options of paying for telehealth services.

Although it doesn’t yet create a viable business model for telehealth, it is paving the way for future telehealth options in home health.

How Can I Get Compliant and Maintain Efficient Operations?

Baked into CareTime is an optional EVV to assist in your daily operations while staying in compliance, effortlessly. EVV compliance is nothing to take lightly, and you don’t have to face it alone. Reach out to a CareTime to learn how to take your business to the next level today.

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