Additionally, CMS recently proposed payment cuts for home health agencies amounting to a 3.35 percent decrease, or a $640 million net reduction, for 2012. The reduction comes from the combined effects of wage index and market basket updates (amounting to a $310 million increase) and a $950 million decrease to the home health prospective payment system (HH PPS).

Additionally, CMS’ proposal would revise policies such as the national standardized 60-day episode rates, the low utilization payment amount, the national per-visit rates and outlier payments under the Medicare HH PPS.

That National Association for Home Care and Hospice estimates that the proposal would add up to between $10 billion and $12 billion in cuts over 10 years. Association Vice President Bill Dombi stated that he believes “…these cuts will have access-to-care problems in various parts of the country because the cuts are across the board but not all home health agencies are in the same financial condition.”

Comments on CMS’ home health proposal must be submitted by September 6. The provisions included in the final rule will take effect on January 1, 2012.