CMS issued a proposed rule that includes annual payment updates for home health agencies, changes to telehealth, and more.
The proposed rule includes routine, legally required updates to home health payment rates for 2021. CMS estimates that Medicare payments to agencies in CY 2021 would increase by 2.6 percent on average. The 2.6% figure includes both payment increases and a slight decrease for some providers due to small reductions made in rural add-on percentages. The proposed rule also updates the home health wage index by limiting any decreases in a geographic area’s wage index value to no more than 5%.
In an effort to promote efficiencies, this rule proposes to permanently finalize the COVID-19 flexibilities that allows home health agencies to use telehealth in providing care to beneficiaries under the Medicare home health benefit. The telecommunications technology must be related to the skilled services being furnished, outlined on the plan of care, and tied to a specific goal indicating how such use would facilitate treatment outcomes.
This rule also proposes to implement Medicare enrollment policies for qualified home infusion therapy suppliers and proposes updates to the CY 2021 home infusion therapy services payment rates using the CY 2021 Physician Fee Schedule amounts.