2010 Office of Inspector General Work Plan: Home Health Agencies

Good Morning MFS Bloggers, I thought you would be interested in reading the areas of home health enforcement the Office of Inspector General will be taking a closer look at in the next year. I highly recommend each of you review your compliance programs to ensure these areas are addressed during your audits. The following text is taken directly from the OIG 2010 WorkPlan.

Part B Payments for Home Health Beneficiaries
We will review Part B payments for services and medical supplies provided to beneficiaries in home health episodes. Most services and nonroutine medical supplies furnished to Medicare beneficiaries during home health episodes are included in the HHA prospective payments. The Social Security Act, §§ 1832(a)(1) and 1842(b)(6)(F), require that in the case of home health services furnished under a plan of care of an HHA, payment for those services be made to the HHA, including payment for services and supplies provided under arrangements by outside suppliers. We will identify Part B payments made to outside suppliers for services and medical supplies that are included in the HHA prospective payment and examine the adequacy of controls established to prevent inappropriate Part B payments for services and medical supplies.

Home Health Agencies: Accurately Coding Claims for Medicare Home Health Resource Groups
We will review Medicare claims submitted by HHAs to determine the extent to which the billing codes for home health resource groups (HHRG) are used in determining whether payments to HHAs are accurate and supported by documentation in the medical record. The Social Security Act, § 1895, governs the payment basis and reimbursement for claims submitted by HHAs, including a case-mix adjustment using HHRGs. Medicare pays for home health episodes based on a PPS that categorizes beneficiaries into groups, referred to as HHRGs. Each HHRG has an assigned weight that affects the payment rate. We will assess the accuracy of HHRG assignment and identify patterns of miscoded HHRGs.

Medicare Home Health Payments for Insulin Injections
We will review the incidence of Medicare home health services outlier payments for insulin injections. Insulin is customarily self-injected by a patient or is injected by a family member. However, CMS’s “Medicare Benefit Policy Manual,” Pub. No. 100-02, ch. 7, §, states that when a patient is either physically or mentally unable to self-inject insulin and no other person is able and willing to inject the patient, the injections would be considered a reasonable and necessary skilled nursing service under the Medicare home health benefit. The unit of payment under the home health PPS is a national 60-day episode rate with applicable adjustments. The law requires the 60-day episode to include all covered home health services, including medical supplies. When beneficiaries experience an unusually high level of services in a 60-day period, Medicare systems will provide additional “outlier” payments to the episode payment. Outlier payments can result from medically necessary high utilization of home health services. CMS makes outlier payments when the cost of care exceeds a threshold dollar amount. We will also examine billing patterns in geographic areas with high rates of home health visits for insulin injections.

Home Health Agency Outlier Payments
We will review CMS’s methodology for calculating outlier payments to HHAs to determine whether the methodology reimburses HHAs as intended for high cost episodes. Pursuant to the Social Security Act, § 1895(b)(5), the HHS Secretary may provide outlier payments for episodes of care that incur unusually high costs. In recent years, outlier payments have significantly increased.

Home Health Prospective Payment System Controls
We will review compliance with various aspects of the home health PPS, including billings for the appropriate location of the services provided. Pursuant to the Social Security Act, § 1895, the home health PPS was implemented in October 2000. Since that time, total payments to HHAs have substantially increased from $8.5 billion in 2000 to $16.4 billion in 2008. We will also analyze various trends in HHA activities, including the number of claims submitted to Medicare, the number of visits provided to beneficiaries, arrangements with other facilities, and ownership information.

Home Health Agency Profitability
We will review cost report data to analyze HHA profitability trends under the home health PPS to determine whether the payment methodology should be adjusted. The Social Security Act, § 1895, added by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA), § 4603, requires a PPS for home health services. Since the PPS was implemented in October 2000, HHA expenditures have significantly increased. We will examine various trends, including profitability trends in Medicare and the overall profitability trends for freestanding and hospital-based HHAs.

Medicare Home Health Payments for Diabetes Self-Management Training Services
We will review Medicare home health payments for diabetes self-management training services. Medicare covers diabetes self-management training services (DSMT) to educate beneficiaries in the successful self-management of diabetes. The Social Security Act, §§ 1861(s)(2)(S) and (qq), permits Medicare coverage of DSMT when these services are furnished by a certified provider who meets certain quality standards. Other conditions for coverage of DSMT are included in 42 CFR pt. 410, subpart H, which includes requirements for plans of care and physician certification. Services include instructions in self-monitoring of blood glucose, diet and exercise education, an insulin treatment plan, and motivation for patients to use the skills for self-management. We will examine billing patterns in geographic areas with high utilization of diabetes self-management training services.

Oversight of Home Health Agency Outcome and Assessment Information Set Data
We will review CMS’s oversight of Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) data submitted by Medicare-certified HHAs. Federal regulations at 42 CFR § 484.55 require HHAs to conduct accurate comprehensive patient assessments that include OASIS data items and submit the data to CMS. OASIS data reflect HHAs’ performance in assisting patients to regain or maintain their ability to function and perform activities of daily living. OASIS data also include measures of physical status and use of services, such as hospitalization or emergent care. CMS has used OASIS data for its HHA PPS since 2000; began posting OASIS-based quality performance information on its Home Health Compare Web site in fall 2003; and started a home health pay-for-performance demonstration based on OASIS data on January 1, 2008. We will review CMS’s process for ensuring that HHAs submit accurate and complete OASIS data.

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