What does CMS’s support of home health monitoring mean for EMS?
|Last week, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced proposed changes to how it reimburses home health agencies. Specifically, CMS will now allow home health providers to report the costs of remote monitoring. Like many initiatives happening at the local, state and national levels, this move by CMS appears to recognize and support efforts to keep people out of hospitals and instead provide care at home.
As you know, many EMS organizations are currently involved in efforts to do just the same. Some of our colleagues see home health as competition and a threat to our future. But others recognize the unique assets that home health and EMS each bring to caring for someone in his or her home.
By collaborating with home health, EMS systems can bring significant value to patients and providers. Opportunities abound—perhaps your communications center can help monitor the remote devices measuring patients’ blood pressures, heart rates and glucose levels. Or maybe your providers can visit patients when home health providers are not available, and have protocols to help keep them in their homes and avoid hospitalizations.
“The redesign of the home health payment system encourages value over volume and removes incentives to provide unnecessary care,” said Seema Verma, the CMS administrator.
By collaborating with home health, EMS systems can bring significant value to patients and providers.
Our profession must work with home health and other healthcare partners, test innovative models and build an evidence base—then maybe Administrator Verma and her colleagues in Washington will realize a similar redesign is needed for how they pay for EMS.
Jay Fitch, PhD
Founding Partner, Fitch & Associates