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VNAA Pushes for Guidance on New Home Health CoP Timeframe

Posted on Thursday, February 9, 2017 6:00 PM

The Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) is not calling for a delay in the new home health Conditions of Participation (CoP) rule yet, but it would like to see informative guidance for the massive regulation within 60 days.

The home health provider association is sending a letter to CMS this week to push for the guidance on this timeframe, VNAA Vice President of Policy and Innovation Joy Cameron told Home Health Care News.

“It’s a necessary tool and we’d really like to see it,” Cameron said. “We need the clarification not just for us, but for state surveyors and certifiers.”

CMS has not been clear on when the guidance will come, and did not shed light on the matter during an Open Door Forum call with providers on Wednesday, she noted.

The rule includes several new requirements for agencies, including all agencies have a quality assurance and performance improvement (QAPI) program in place. The initial implementation cost is estimated at $30,000 per agency.

VNAA is concerned that “there may be some belief” that the interpretive guidance should be held up under President Donald Trump’s Jan. 24 executive order, which instituted a regulatory freeze, Cameron said.

However, interpretive guidance does not promulgate any new policies, but just explains relevant statutes and regulations so that they can be applied and people know what they need to do for compliance, she noted.

There should be “room for this work [on the guidance] to continue,” she said.

As for whether the CoP regulation itself could be under reconsideration per Trump’s Jan. 24 order or one that followed on Jan. 30, Cameron emphasized that it was vetted for a long time before CMS issued the final rule in January.

“It was at OMB [Office of Management and Budget] for, what, almost two years?” she said. “There doesn’t seem to be the need for additional delay.”

However, NAHC urged CMS earlier this week to either push back the implementation date or consider rescinding it entirely.
While VNAA is not yet echoing this position, it’s not out of the question in the future, Cameron said.

“At this time, we’re not asking for an extension on the CoP [implementation date],” she said. “We’ll revisit that, if we can’t get the interpretive guidance.”

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