MedForms Spotlight: Regulatory Affairs

regulatory

Here at MedForms, we’re always working hard to make sure our clients receive the best product and customer service possible – and home care compliance is no exception. One of the most valued services we offer our clients is monitoring state, federal and accreditation standards and offering suggested changes based on this research during each client’s orientation booklet re-order. What’s even better is that this home care compliance service is free of charge!

MedForms’ regulatory expert is Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Cathy Green, RN. With over 30 years of home care experience, Green researches and confirms home care regulatory information on a routine basis, which allows MedForms to offer suggested changes to their booklets as regulatory rules and standards change. Green has worked as a home health and hospice nurse, director and administrator; Director of Government Affairs for the Tennessee  Association for Home Care (TAHC); past President of the Tennessee Hospice Organization (THO) and as Director of Licensure for the Tennessee Department of Health/Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities. Green joined MedForms in 2005.

Recently, Green answered some of our clients’ most frequently asked questions about home health and hospice compliance and here’s what she has to say:

Q: How often do state and federal regulations change? 

A: There aren’t any “schedules” for state or federal regulation updates.  State regulations are typically revised to coincide with any new statutes passed by state legislature; when there are unforeseen problems with current regulations that negatively impact a provider’s ability to comply with them; to align with updated federal regulations or when providers work with state regulatory bodies to revise regulations for the industry.  On the federal level, proposed regulations may be introduced based on current administration priorities or legislative directives and are posted in the Federal Register, allowing a public comment period before final rules are published.

Q: What is one piece of regulatory advice would you give clients?  

A: Make sure someone in the organization is familiar with state and federal regulations as well as accrediting standards!  They serve as a roadmap on how to conduct business while maintaining compliance with all requirements.  Compare policies and procedures with your custom orientation booklet to ensure you are providing your patients with your current practices.

Q: What, if any, major regulatory changes do you anticipate coming down the pipeline in the coming months? 

A: It is difficult to answer as new proposed regulations are introduced at the state levels almost weekly.  Proposed regulations must be monitored because they may or may not become final rules and based on public comment, they may also be revised considerably in final form.  On a federal level, CMS published proposed rules for home health this year that, if finalized as proposed, will make many changes to the Conditions of Participation (CoPs) with an emphasis on patient-centered care.  The comment period ended last month and CMS will have 3 years to post final rules.  CMS has also taken small steps in over-hauling the current hospice payment system with its 2016 Final Hospice Wage Index Rules.  The hospice industry expects to see more payment structure changes in the not-so-distant future.  There are also proposed national Emergency Preparedness rules applicable to all home care and hospice providers that have not been finalized to date.  MedForms will continue to monitor all of these up-coming changes in order to offer our clients timely suggested changes.

Q: What’s an average day look like for you? 

A: I review all federal sites applicable to home health, hospice and HME.   This also includes review of the Federal Register where new proposed federal regulations or updated federal forms (ABN, HHCCN, MNONC, etc.) are posted for public comment.  I also review state sites for posted changes, contact state licensing and/or certification bodies to obtain clarification on new rules, compare our template language to new regulatory requirements and update accordingly, provide assistance to editors when regulatory questions arise from our suggested changes or when clients send us new information they have learned about in their state.

Although MedForms does not act in the capacity as consultants, we work daily with clients whom have home health and hospice regulatory questions, providing guidance like citations on current regulations. MedForms is often-times the first call agencies make when they have questions about a new regulation and how it might impact their orientation booklet.

“MedForms is great for keeping our publication up-to-date with any Medicare or Joint Commission changes, and I really appreciate it!” Home Care Director Paula Singer at VNS of Wheeling Hospital said.

Green is a vital asset to MedForms and our clients for home care compliance information. If you’re an existing client and have questions about home health, hospice or other home care regulations, contact mail@medforms.com for more information. Interested in developing an orientation booklet of your own? Contact our development team today to get started!

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