Delta Connect Blog

Reminder of the Completion and Submission Timeframes for Hospice Item Set Records

Posted by Crystal Parks on Sep 26, 2014 12:52:57 PM

As has been previously communicated by CMS, all Medicare-certified hospices are required to complete and submit a Hospice Item Set (HIS)-Admission record and HIS-Discharge record for patient admissions on or after July 1, 2014. 

Hospices should complete and submit each record according to the timeliness criteria outlined below:

  • HIS Record Completion: The Completion Date is defined as the date all required information has been collected and recorded and staff have signed and dated that the record is complete. Hospices have 14 days from admission to complete HIS-Admission records and 7 days from discharge to complete HIS-Discharge records.
  • HIS Record Submission: The Submission Date is defined as the date on which the completed record is submitted and accepted to the QIES ASAP System. Hospices have 30 days from a patient admission or discharge to submit the appropriate HIS record for that patient to the QIES ASAP System.

Find out who to contact with questions regarding completing and submitting HIS and resources available in the NAHC Report article


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Topics: Hospice Item Set

National Home Care and Hospice State of the Industry Study – What should you do about the home care and hospice industry changes?

Posted by Crystal Parks on Sep 25, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Bob Fazzi, Ed. D, President and CEO of Fazzi Associates, your goal needs to be to position your agency to become a partner in newly emerging health systems. Home care providers need to be the most competitive agency in your area.  How are you going to do this?

  • Be in the top third of patient satisfaction
  • Be in the top third of composite Home Health Compare scores
  • Be in at least the lowest third of rehospitalizations
  • Be in the lowest third in cost

If you put the right people in charge of one of the above goals, you will find yourself in a much stronger position. These people don’t need to be in the highest positions.  They need to be people who can get excited about the goal, who can’t sleep at night because they’re coming up with ideas and someone whose colleagues will buy into the ideas.

Learn more about what you need to do by downloading the free National Home Care and Hospice State of the Industry Study.


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Topics: Healthcare IT, home care industry, hospice industry, healthcare technology, homecare industry Releases 2014 Senior Care Cost Index Report

Posted by Rachel Alden on Sep 24, 2014 11:11:40 AM

This month, released a report from its annual Usage and Attitudes Survey of family caregivers of older adults in the United States. The survey asks questions about the financial impact of caring for a loved one.

We have included a few of the survey's key findings about the cost of caregiving, and we highly recommend reviewing the report in its entirety. We hope that this information helps you market to your potential home care clients and their families.

Nearly half (46%) of family caregivers spent more than $5,000 annually in caregiving costs (e.g., medications, medical bills, in-home care and nursing homes).
One-third of family caregivers (33%) spend more than 30 hours per week on caregiving, making it almost the equivalent of a full-time job.
For 43% of family caregivers, deciding on a senior care or senior housing option took only one month.
For 21% of family caregivers, the decision process took six months or more.

Source: Caring.Com, Family Caregiver Usage & Attitudes Survey, 2014




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Topics: home care industry

National Home Care and Hospice State of the Industry Study – What do the industry changes mean for home care and hospice?

Posted by Crystal Parks on Sep 23, 2014 9:00:00 AM

At Delta’s 2014 National Customer Forum, Bob Fazzi, Ed. D, President and CEO of Fazzi Associates, talked about what the healthcare changes mean for home care and hospice.

  1. Move from specialty driven to patient driven
  2. Revenue will be linked with quality outcomes
  3. Payment will be patient centered with bundled payments give to the system (i.e., ACOs, Medical Homes)
  4. Proven, interconnected technology and use of data will be critical
  5. Move from fragmentation to collaboration / partnering will dominate

Find out more by downloading the free National Home Care and Hospice State of the Industry Study.


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Topics: Healthcare IT, home care industry, hospice industry, healthcare technology, homecare industry

Focusing Your Marketing Strategy

Posted by Rachel Alden on Sep 19, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Last week, Stephen Tweed, CEO of Leading Home Care...a Tweed Jeffries Company, presented The Virtual Private Duty Marketing Master Class™ as part of Delta Health Technologies' virtual National Customer Forum. In the full day of virtual sessions, Stephen shared many helpful tips on how to market private duty services effectively.

In one of his sessions, Stephen encouraged attendees to focus their marketing efforts by choosing to spend energy on consumer marketing OR referral marketing. "In 25 years of working with private duty home care companies, we have never seen anyone who can execute both consumer marketing and referral marketing with excellence at the same time," he shared.

As marketers who want to see our businesses grow, it can be hard to follow this wise advice. We have a tendency to want to grab all of the low-hanging fruit at once, thinking we can fit in a little bit of this and a little bit of that. When we are more focused on the day-to-day execution rather than our strategy, we become too busy to focus on results.

Stephen reminds us to target our efforts on activities that will bear fruit as part of a focused strategy. Consumers and referral sources look for private duty services in different ways so they require different marketing activities. By centering our attention on one or the other, we can be more effective than we could be if we tried to serve both.

Have you had more success when you focused your attention on either consumer or referral marketing? Share your thought with us in the comments.


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Topics: private duty home care

Rationale and Strategies for the Future from the National Home Care and Hospice State of the Industry Study

Posted by Crystal Parks on Sep 18, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Bob Fazzi, Ed. D, President and CEO of Fazzi Associates, discussed the National Home Care and Hospice State of the Industry Study at Delta’s 2014 National Customer Forum.  During his presentation Bob talked about the rapid change in the industry and what providers can do to be successful.   

During the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the industry lost 1/3 of the home care agencies and 50% of the revenue that was projected for home care.  For those that survived, how did they do it?  They did it by changing.  Now is the time that significant changes should be taking place again.

Did you know that the U.S. is ranked #1 in healthcare expenditures? Healthcare costs continue to grow and grow and the industry can’t afford this growth.  Why does the industry have these problems?  Part of the reason is the way our healthcare system is structured. 

  1. Service specialization dominates
  2. Payment is specialty and silo focused. Everyone who serves the patient gets paid.
  3. Patient is viewed as a revenue source.
  4. Quality and cost are rarely related.
  5. Health care is highly fragmented and not an integrated system.

According to Bob, the industry needs to deal with these issues and create systems that will deliver health care at lower costs with higher quality outcomes.

What are some of the issues you need to look at as you begin looking at the changes taking place? You should be looking at competitive insights on your competitors and the industry so that you can make informed decisions.  And you should be ready to respond to Strategic points.

Through a four part blog post, Delta will provide Bob’s insights for the following questions:

  1. What do the industry changes mean for you?
  2. What should you do about the changes? 
  3. What is the rest of the industry doing? 
  4. What should you do for the future? 

Delta invites you to download the free National Home Care and Hospice State of the Industry Study to have the trend and best practices you need to manage your agency.


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Topics: Healthcare IT, home care industry, hospice industry, healthcare technology, homecare industry

Update on Hospice Quality Reporting Program

Posted by Crystal Parks on Sep 16, 2014 1:51:22 PM

Earlier this year hospices submitted data to CMS on two quality measures that impacted the 2015 payment year. Specifically, hospices had to submit data on two measures – a structural measure and the NQF #209 pain measure – by April 1, 2014. The data was collected by the hospices during calendar year 2013. On August 18, 2014 CMS released the analysis of this data, Hospice Quality Reporting Program Fiscal Year 2015 Reporting Cycle Data Analysis. Approximately 3,500 hospices submitted and attested to the data for both measures.

Nearly 100% of hospices answered “yes” to the only structural measure question: “Does your QAPI program contain 3 or more patient care related quality indicators?” This is consistent with the prior year’s response.

The findings from the FY 2015 closely mirror those from FY 2014 for both the structural measure and the NQF #0209 measure. This is true despite the fact that FY 2014 was based on one quarter of data and FY 2015 was based on four quarters of data. These findings support CMS’s decision to discontinue both measures for future reporting cycles in favor of implementing patient-level data collection using the Hospice Item Set (HIS) in the HQRP to collect standardized data to calculate seven QMs (six NQF-endorsed QMs and a modification of one NQF-endorsed QM).

Read more in the NAHC Report article


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Home Care Needs Unmet for Canadians

Posted by Rachel Alden on Sep 12, 2014 2:25:45 PM

Statistics Canada released a report this week entitled Canadians with Unmet Home Care Needs. The report provides information on Canadians who need home care and report that they do not receive either enough home care or any home care.

Statistics Canada and author Martin Turcotte listed the following key points from the report:

  • In 2012, 2.2 million individuals, or 8% of Canadians 15 years of age and older, received help or care at home because of a long-term health condition, a disability, or problems related to aging.
  • In 2012, nearly half a million Canadians, or 461,000 individuals 15 years and older, needed help or care in the 12 previous months for a chronic health condition, but did not receive it. They are referred to as persons with ‘unmet’ home care needs.
  • Of the 2.2 million Canadians who received home care in 2012, 15% (331,000) did not receive all the help needed. They are referred to as persons with ‘partially met’ home care needs.
  • Home care recipients with a physical disability were more likely to have partially met needs (18%) than care receivers without a disability (10%).
  • Persons with unmet or partially met needs reported higher levels of stress and negative feelings. For example, 62% of care recipients with partially met needs experienced loneliness, compared with 31% of those whose needs were met.


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Topics: home care industry

NAHC Reports Companionship Exemption Lawsuit Progress

Posted by Rachel Alden on Sep 3, 2014 9:17:34 PM

The NAHC Report shared an update today on the companionship overtime exemption lawsuit. We have included an excerpt from that article for you. Please share your comments with us.

The lawsuit challenging the US Department of Labor (DoL) rule that effectively eliminates the application of the overtime pay exemptions for companionship and live-in domestic services is rapidly progressing in federal court in Washington, D.C. The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), along with its co-plaintiffs, filed a reply this week to the US Department of Labor’s efforts to dismiss the lawsuit that followed the plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

In its filing, the DoL argues that it has the power to reinterpret the Fair Labor Standards Act exemptions - even if those new interpretations are in complete conflict with the nearly 40 year-old standards. Those standards have been consistently applied by the DoL since 1975 - and have been defended intensely at the U.S. Supreme Court by the Department.

The DoL has attempted to convince the court that it is only interpreting an ambiguous law and that its interpretation should be accepted unless it is irrational, arbitrary, or capricious. In that regard, DoL explains that the home care industry has changed greatly since 1975 and that workers are now engaged in caregiving as a vocation, not simply helping family and friends.

NAHC and its co-plaintiffs responded with full force. Amplifying the positions taken in their original brief, NAHC and co-plaintiffs argue that the plain language of the law is very clear: Congress intended the exemptions to apply to “any employee” in the respective positions regardless of the identity of the employer. Further, NAHC argues that the law focuses on employees who provide care to persons with disabilities and infirmities, not on their employers. The consumers of care and the nature of the work by the caregivers have not changed since 1975. Its use has grown significantly since 1975, but the work itself is very much the same.  Given that the DoL itself estimates that 98 percent of companionship services workers will be outside of the overtime exemption if the new rule is allowed to stand, NAHC and its co-plaintiffs argue that DoL’s changes are irrational, arbitrary and capricious as Congress’s intended beneficiaries of the original exemption, the vulnerable and needy consumers of care, will be deprived of the intended benefit of affordable care. As such, DoL’s “changes in the industry” explanation does not fit.



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Topics: private duty home care

Free Hospice Teleconference

Posted by Crystal Parks on Aug 29, 2014 12:12:16 PM

NAHC and the Hospice Association of America will be hosting a free hospice teleconference on Thursday, September 4 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  During the "What Do the CMS' Hospice Cost Report Changes Mean to You?" teleconference, experts will discuss the significant implications of these changes for hospice. Experts include Val J. Halamandaris, NAHC President; Theresa M. Forster, NAHC Vice President for Hospice Policy & Programs; Katie Wehri, Hospice Operations; Robert J. Simione, Managing Principal, Simione Healthcare Consultants, LLC. Providers will have the ability to ask questions regarding the final version of the Hospice Cost Report changes.

The final version of the Hospice Cost Report was posted on the CMS website on Friday, August 29, 2014. As anticipated and reported previously by NAHC, CMS has made minimal changes between the version release in November 2013 and the final instructions and forms. 

To reserve your space, send an email to Cheryl Lee ( The first 300 to email will participate, members will be given priority. The call-in number is 1- 800-289-0459; the conference code will be emailed prior to the call. 


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