CMS proposes changes to reduce Medicare home payments

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed several new changes to how it pays for Medicare home health services, which the agency says will save it $58 million next year.

The agency is proposing to save money by toughening requirements to be eligible for home health services, setting a minimum requirement on home health agencies to prove their effectiveness and revising how much the CMS pays for certain services.

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“CMS projects that Medicare payments to home health agencies in 2015 will be reduced by 0.30 percent, or $58 million, based on the proposed policies,” said the agency.

The proposed rule is also part of the agency's 4-year plan under ObamaCare to gradually reduce costs for home health services by 2017 and require more efficiency from home health providers.

The CMS notes the Affordable Care Act requires it to apply an adjustment to the national standardized 60-day episode rate and other payment amounts to reflect factors, such as changes in the number of visits in an episode, the mix of services in an episode, the level of intensity of services in an episode, and the average cost of providing care per episode.