The trusted source for
healthcare information and
How will bundled payments affect HHAs?
Demonstration project to study payment models
A significant change in the way home health agencies may be paid in the future is included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The health care reform law calls for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a voluntary pilot program of bundled payment models for a period of five years. The program must begin no later than January 2013 and include post-acute providers, such as home health agencies.
Although bundled payments in a hospital setting have shown promise for saving money for Medicare, members of the home health industry are concerned that inclusion of home health payments within the bundled payment controlled by hospitals will not be cost-effective or provide better care for home health patients.
The National Association for Home Care and Hospice in Washington, DC, opposes the proposal, stating that community-based home health agencies are better able to manage, care for and evaluate services provided for post-acute patients.1
"The concern is that hospitals will control access to services and community-based home health agencies will be left with fewer referrals," says Andy Carter, president and CEO of Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) in Washington, DC. "Members of VNAA typically receive about 40% of referrals from sources other than hospitals," he says. "This does mean that home health agencies may look for opportunities to partner with local hospitals to provide post-acute care to retain referrals."
1. "Ensure adequate and appropriate payment for Medicare home health services." National Association for Home Care and Hospice. Washington, DC, April 2010.