CMS proposes delaying new home health regulations

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Home health agencies would have more time to meet new conditions of participation under a new proposal from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That may give hope to skilled nursing providers looking for their own extra time.

CMS published the home health agency final rule on Jan. 13, 2017, with an effective date on July 13. The new proposal, issued March 28, would extend that deadline six months.

When the home health proposed rule was published last fall, commenters asked for up to five years to implement the new regulations, but the most frequent recommendation was one year after publication of the final rule. Among those asking for a year was the American Hospital Association.

“We agreed with commenters that it was appropriate to allow additional time for HHAs to prepare for the changes being set forth in the HHA CoPs final rule,” CMS wrote Friday.

It also recommended a phase-in date for performance improvement projects. This would make the PIP requirement effective July 13, 2018.

Currently, long-term care operators are expected to meet Phase 2 requirements by Nov. 28, including those embedded in a new survey process. Long-term care leaders have said providers should have a year after CMS issues guidance on the new survey process.