With a potentially huge impact on the United States home health agency billing procedures, the overall goal of Medicare's Prospective Payment System (PPS) is to ensure that reimbursement by the Baltimore based Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) supports quality efficient home health care. According to the National Association For Home Care (NAHC), located in Washington DC, there are an estimated 8 million individuals in the United States who require home services for acute illness, permanent disability, long-term health conditions, or terminal illness.
Home care providers involved in the HCFA demonstration project were able to become familiar with PPS over an extended period of time. Elsewhere, the administrators must rely on manuals, regulations, and software offerings to prepare for and implement changes. An informal random survey of twelve Oregon home health agencies, conducted in late September by Feedback Research Services, indicated awareness of PPS, but only four were directly affected. These facilities serve Medicare patients and process billings at their agency, rather than through a corporate office.
The big question for most providers is how to continue to deliver quality care with a reduced amount of reimbursement. Some industry observers believe that PPS could be a catalyst to encourage more widespread use of telehealth tools, such as home monitoring and telemedicine. Since visiting nurses can spend a great deal of time on the road, the amount of patient care available on a daily basis may be limited. Remote monitoring and telemedicine have been proposed as ways to supplement in-person visits, using real time video interactions between health care providers and patients.
The Feedback Research Services report is available for $195.00. For more information and ordering, you can contact Mrs. Millie Narum at +1-800-927-8071.