Friday, November 02, 2012 CMS Releases Home Health Prospective Payment System Final Rule for CY 2013 On November 2, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule for the Home Health Prospective Payment System (HH PPS) for Calendar Year (CY) 2013. The rule finalizes a reduction in rates of 1.32%, which is approximately a $10 million decrease to payments for the home health 60-day episode for CY 2013. Of specific importance to physical therapy, CMS finalizes 3 revisions regarding the requirement that a qualified therapist complete a functional reassessment of the patient at the 14th and the 20th visit, and every 30 days. First, CMS finalized its proposal that if a qualified therapist missed a reassessment visit, therapy coverage would resume with the visit during which the qualified therapist completed the late reassessment, not the visit after the therapist completed the late reassessment. Second, CMS finalized its proposal that in cases where multiple therapy disciplines are involved, if the required reassessment visit was missed for any one of the therapy disciplines for which therapy services were being provided, therapy coverage would cease only for that particular therapy discipline. Third, CMS clarifies that in cases where the patient is receiving more than one type of therapy, qualified therapists must complete their reassessment visits during the 11th, 12th, or 13th visit for the required 13th visit reassessment and the 17th, 18th, or 19th visit for the required 19th visit reassessment. However, CMS also states in instances where patients receive more than one type of therapy, if the frequency of a particular discipline, as ordered by a physician, does not make it feasible for the reassessment to occur during the specified timeframes without providing an extra unnecessary visit or delaying a visit, then it will still be acceptable for the qualified therapist from each discipline to provide all of the therapy and functionally reassess the patient during the visit associated with that discipline that is scheduled to occur closest to the 14th Medicare-covered therapy visit, but no later than the 13th Medicare-covered therapy visit. Likewise, a qualified therapist from each discipline must provide all of the therapy and functionally reassess the patient during the visit associated with that discipline that is scheduled to occur closest to the 20th Medicare-covered therapy visit, but no later than the 19th Medicare-covered therapy visit. The final rule reflects APTA's comments urging CMS to maintain the current "close to" language. In addition to the revision to the therapy functional reassessment requirements, CMS also finalizes its proposal to allow a nonphysician practitioner in an acute or post-acute facility to perform the face-to-face encounter in collaboration with or under the supervision of the physician who has privileges and cared for the patient in the acute or post-acute facility, and allow such physician to inform the certifying physician of the patient's homebound status and need for skilled services. Lastly, the rule includes extensive provisions regarding the Home Health Conditions of Participation and provides several avenues for home health agencies to meet the survey and certification requirements and lays out CMS' remedial actions if violations are found when surveys are conducted. The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on November 8, 2012. APTA will post a summary of the final rule shortly.