In The News

Majority of US States Again Subject to CMS Vaccine Mandate After New Court Ruling

By Andrew Donlan | December 15, 2021

On the last day of November, a nationwide injunction was issued by a federal judge in Louisiana to freeze the COVID-19 vaccine mandate from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

On Wednesday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that the injunction should not have been applied nationwide. Instead, it should have only applied to a group of 14 states that had sued over the mandate in the first place.

Those states were: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia.

In addition to those 14 states, another group of 10 states had also previously filed a lawsuit targeting the CMS vaccine mandate, leading to a seperate injunction.

In light of Wednesday’s ruling, the CMS mandate – and potentially its compliance dates – are once again live for a majority of U.S. states. The mandate remains temporarily blocked in 24 states overall, as litigation moves forward.

“The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal government defendants move to stay a district court’s nationwide, preliminary injunction that bars enforcement of one of the federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates,” the decision read. “The enjoined mandate applies to the staff of many Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, home-health agencies and hospices. We deny the motion insofar as the order applies to the 14 Plaintiff States. We grant a stay as to the order’s application to any other jurisdiction.”

The original compliance deadline for health care workers in Medicare- and Medicaid-based settings was early January. Between the multiple injunctions and Wednesday’s ruling, it is unclear whether that date will still be enforced or if the deadline will be extended.

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HHAC Statewide Members Only Webinar

Friday, December 17, 2021 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm MT

Join us to learn the latest about Home Care & Hospice in Colorado from HHAC leaders!

This FREE members only webinar will feature the HHAC lobby team Eliza Schultz, Elisabeth Rosen and Alan Morse with updates on what is happening at the Capitol, as well as Executive Director, Don Knox, with association updates. Gather your staff for this valuable update on the state of Home Care & Hospice in Colorado! 

ONLY Members in good standing with the association have access to this webinar via Zoom.

Members: click here to login and view the webinar information. 

 

Did You Miss the Annual Conference in Keystone?

No problem! You can now earn CEUs with the on-demand content from the Fall Conference! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to receive up to 25 hours of state licensure CEUs - there are 25 sessions total, and each are worth one credit hour. Recorded content is NOW AVAILABLE to watch on-demand and receive continuing competency credits, and will be available through January 31, 2022.

Individuals

Individually attended the live conference and want to purchase the add-on on-demand sessions for additional CE’s:

If you did not attend the live 2021 conference in Keystone and would like access to the on-demand content:

  • HHAC Members - $474.00
  • Non-Members - $769.00
  • Click here to individually purchase on-demand content.
Agency Packages

  • If your agency has already purchased the agency package, you do not need to purchase the on-demand sessions again. Your agency should have received an email to forward to employees with instructions to access the content.

  • Agencies who did not purchase the agency package but would like to purchase on-demand access for their entire agency may do so for: 
    • $999.00/HHAC Member Agencies
    • $1,998.00/Non-Member Agencies. 
    • *** If one or more individuals from your agency attended the live conference, we would be happy to credit the amount towards the full-agency on-demand access. Contact us at [email protected] to make arrangements. 
    • Click here to purchase agency package.
 

HHS Is Releasing $9 Billion in Provider Relief Fund Payments to Support Health Care Providers Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic

On Tuesday, Dec. 14th, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced the distribution of approximately $9 billion in Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 payments to health care providers who have experienced revenue losses and expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The average payment being announced today for small providers is $58,000, for medium providers is $289,000, and for large providers is $1.7 million. More than 69,000 providers in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and eight territories will receive Phase 4 payments. Payments will start to be made later this week.

The PRF Phase 4 payments, in addition to the $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural payments to providers and suppliers who serve rural Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Medicare beneficiaries, are part of the $25.5 billion the Biden-Harris Administration is releasing to health care providers to recruit and retain staff, purchase masks and other supplies, modernize facilities, or other activities needed to respond to COVID-19...

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View a state-by-state breakdown of the Phase 4 payments

As providers agree to the terms and conditions of Phase 4 payments, it will be reflected on the public dataset.

For additional information, visit www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief.

 

Hospices Seek Clarity on Value-Based Risk

Hospice News | By Holly Vossel

When it comes to putting value-based payment arrangements in action, regulators and payers have gaps to fill in around billing and quality measurement. Some community-based hospice providers in particular have reported “tremendous confusion” regarding risk-bearing models as they look ahead to new and growing payment model demonstrations.

The first steps came with the hospice components of the value-based insurance design (VBID) demonstration, known as the Medicare Advantage (MA) hospice carve-in, which is nearing the start of its second year. Additional models taking shape include the direct contracting program and Primary Care First, among others, as well as forthcoming, yet-to-be announced demonstrations from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).

Hospices have been preparing for a shift to more risk- or performance-based models by honing their approaches to payer partnerships, diversifying their services and implementing new processes and technology into their workflows.

Thus far, there’s a “tremendous amount of confusion, misunderstanding and just general unclearness” in the potential financial risks within value-based care models and where hospices, particularly of where community-based providers, fit into the mold, Sara Dado, senior director of clinical programs at Lightways Hospice & Serious Illness Care, told Hospice News.

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