On this special Memorial Day, the Home Care Association of America joins the nation in honoring all military personnel who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Representing nearly 4,000 home care organizations across the country, HCAOA and its members are dedicated to ensuring all veterans, no matter their age or disability, are able to remain in their own home, living as independently as possible. Whether veterans need assistance with their daily routine or medical care, home care agencies work closely with the Veterans’ Administration’s Community Care Network program to ensure access to care.
Home Care Pulse released its annual Benchmarking Study last Wednesday, and with it comes a wealth of information to understand how home care changed and adapted throughout the historic year of 2020 and what will drive success for agencies in 2021. One of the most interesting data points is the caregiver turnover rate for 2020 - which was 65.2% compared to the 2019 rate of 64.3%. Only a slight climb, especially during a whirlwind year, is “a huge victory” for the industry as a whole, according to Erik Madsen, the CEO of Home Care Pulse.
TriWest Healthcare Alliance recently selected PGBA to be its new vendor for processing and paying claims under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Community Care Network. The claims processing transition has already begun in Kodiak, AK and will begin soon in other areas. TriWest and PGBA representatives will be hosting a webinar for HCAOA members in CCN Region 4 on Wednesday, June 2 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. PST to learn more about the transition from WPS to PGBA.
“State of Medicare Advantage” 2021 Report Released: 296 Plans Specifically Offering In-Home Support Services
The Better Medicare Alliance recently unveiled their annual “State of Medicare Advantage” report for 2021 which shows a significant increase in near-universal satisfaction, greater consumer savings, and better health outcomes in Medicare Advantage, as compared to Traditional FFS Medicare. More Medicare Advantage plans are covering home-based care services in 2021 than ever before. Within the State of Medicare Advantage report, readers can also access an additional brief called “Overview of Medicare Advantage Supplemental Healthcare Benefits and Review of Contract Year 2021 Offerings” that provides specifics on home care benefit offerings under Medicare Advantage plans. Figure 2 of this brief details a summary of expanded supplemental benefits. All of the home care benefit offerings have expanded significantly since 2019 and 2020.
As the state legislature works to pass the biannual budget, the HCAOA Wisconsin Chapter needs your help! Click here to enter your address and find out if your state Representative or Senator sits on the Joint Finance Committee. If he/she does, send them the pre-written message asking them to support a $1,000 caregiver tax credit in the Department of Human Services. We have all seen the amazing things family caregivers do to keep their loved ones safe and healthy at home, and we strongly support this initiative. If your Representative or Senator is not on the committee, spread the word to your colleagues. read more
HCAOA members in Florida won’t want to miss the first in-person chapter meeting in over a year. Taking place on August 12 in Orlando, this event will include federal and state updates as well as presentations on home care recruitment trends, and hot issues in labor law. A representative from the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) will also be there to provide updates on regulation changes. Save the date!
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Vendors can travel around the Annual Leadership Conference with every attendee by sponsoring an aluminum water bottle! Water stations will be provided throughout the Hilton Orlando and attendees are guaranteed to carry your branded water bottle throughout the entire event and beyond.
Last week, HCAOA teamed up with the Polsinelli Law Firm to offer a new and revised home care agency Recommended Operational Protocols. These protocols are the result of a collaboration between the top home care industry organizations such as HCAOA,, and many home care agencies across the country. The document details proper COVID-19 practices for home care agencies and caregivers, OSHA information regarding COVID-19, and more. To access the full detailed document click here.
HCAOA State Chapters Taking Action, Offering Suggestions to State Medicaid Directors on FMAP for HCBS
Several of HCAOA’s State Chapters took action this week, sending letters to their State Medicaid Directors to offer suggestions about how to use the available 10% FMAP increase for Medicaid home and community-based services. CMS recently provided guidance to states about how they can use the federal funds to supplement, not supplant, existing state funds for Medicaid effective April 1, 2021. In the letter, HCAOA Chapters state the industry’s biggest concern and primary suggestion is use the funds to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for personal care services and private duty nursing so agencies can adequately recruit and retain essential workers to provide critical care at home to patients and clients
The letter offers several other suggestions to enhance, expand, or strengthen Medicaid HCBS, including hazard pay, overtime pay, and shift differential pay for home care workers, new or additional Medicaid HCBS services especially during the pandemic, and support for family caregivers. To date, the Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, Arizona, South Carolina and Connecticut Chapters have sent letters, with others to follow.
You can read one of the full letters here.
Have you been eager to attend a long awaited in-person event? Us too - and we can’t wait to see new and familiar faces at the Annual Leadership Conference! This is the must-attend event of the home care industry. The full conference schedule is now available! Check out our impressive lineup of speakers, the conference schedule, detailed hotel information and more!
The “Credit for Caring Act” was reintroduced yesterday in the Senate to reduce the burden on family caregivers. HCAOA strongly supports this bipartisan proposal, which allows an eligible caregiver a tax credit of up to $5,000 for the cost of long-term care expenses that exceed $2,000 in a taxable year.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released data highlighting the continued impact the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) is having on Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) beneficiaries and utilization of health services. The data show that, from March through October 2020, beneficiaries have foregone millions of primary, preventive, and mental health care visits due to the COVID-19 PHE, compared to the same time period in 2019. Although utilization rates for some treatments have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, mental health services show the slowest rebound.
The Agency for Health Care Administration will enact the Medicaid Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) mandate in the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC) program by June 21, 2021. As required by the federal 21st Century Cures Act, Medicaid home health claims must be submitted through the SMMC health plan’s EVV vendor. The SMMC health plans will deny all claims for personal care services and home health services submitted outside of their EVV vendors. Read more
As the Governor and legislative leadership begin final negotiations on the state budget, it’s important that members of the General Assembly hear from home care providers who participate in the Connecticut Medical Assistance Program and home care Medicaid waiver programs in support of additional Medicaid funding and reimbursement. Last month, the Appropriations Committee approved funding in the amount of $10 million in each of the next two fiscal years to reflect Medicaid rate increases to home health and waiver services providers.