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Advancing Care through Innovation, Observation and Collaboration.

Last week, C-TAC submitted comments on the annual Home Health Rule released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Key areas of focus included:

The Use of Technology under the Medicare Home Health Benefit: We supported the use of telehealth for those living with advanced illness as a way to improve access to care and provide more ongoing monitoring of chronic conditions. We asked that the proposed rule allow telehealth visits to take place via audio only for those beneficiaries who lack video technology.

Calendar Year 2022 Home Health Quality Reporting Program (QRP): We suggested the addition of two measures—Advance Care Plan -NQF #0326; CMS Quality ID #047 and Timely and appropriate referral to hospice. Both measures support high-quality care for those living with advanced illness.

Other Updates:

MedPAC Considers Permanent Telehealth For APMs After COVID-19

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission on Friday (Sept. 4) considered what aspects of telehealth should remain in Medicare after the COVID-19 public health emergency, with some commissioners saying they would support allowing more flexibilities in telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries in alternative payment models than in fee-for-service. Commissioner Bruce Pyenson, however, cautioned that the use of telehealth will likely look different outside of a public health emergency.

See full presentation for more information here.

HHS Announces Provider Relief Fund Application for Assisted Living Facilities

On September 1, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced that assisted living facilities (ALFs) may now apply for funding under the Provider Relief Fund Phase 2 General Distribution allocation.

As a result of COVID-19 many ALFs have implemented CDC recommendations that have resulted in increased costs to their facilities. HHS rationalizes that this opportunity for additional funding will help to minimize the negative financial impact of these increased expenses.

Like all providers applying for Phase 2 funding, ALFs will have until September 13, 2020 to begin their application, and if approved, will receive 2 percent of their annual revenue from patient care.

FCC Provides Guidance for Connected Care Pilot Program

On Thursday. September 3, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released guidance on the Connected Care Pilot Program, which aims to assist providers in long-term telehealth project implementation. The program will provide up to $100 million for the capacity building of telehealth services, with a focus on providing telehealth access to veterans and low-income individuals.

More specifically, the program will provide funding for patients and providers to have broadband access, other connected care information services, and certain network equipment. The program will not fund devices, including end-user connected devices, medical equipment, health care provider administrative costs, or personnel costs. Any health care provider, as defined in the public notice found here, is eligible for potential participation in the program. The guidance also includes information on provider eligibility. An application deadline was not provided at this time, but check back here for any updates.

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