Netsmart continues to be a strong advocate for selected federal legislation on behalf of our clients and providers across the country.

Here are several current areas of focus, impacting post-acute care providers.

Home Health Payment Innovations Act of 2018 (S. 433)

Netsmart supports the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) advocacy for this legislation. It addresses behavioral adjustments and rate changes that would have a major impact on home health providers under the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

The bill requires the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to base payment rate adjustments under PDGM on observed evidence rather than assumptions of provider behavior. It also requires the phase-in of any necessary rate increases or decreases to be no greater than 2% per year to limit the risk of disruption in care.

Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018 (S. 3660)

Introduced late in the previous session of Congress by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), this legislation included a provision to extend Medicaid EHR incentive payments to long-term care facilities, home health agencies, rehabilitation facilities and physician assistants. The bill contains a number of other unrelated provisions. Netsmart will review/track this bill if it is introduced in the current session of Congress.

Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act (H.R. 2062) and Protecting Jessica Grubb's Legacy Act (S. 1012 )

The opioid crisis is impacting every facet of the healthcare system, including post-acute providers. Netsmart is a strong advocate for this legislation that closely aligns decades-old 42 CFR Part 2 federal privacy regulations with HIPAA. It would enable fully-informed care and increase patient safety by allowing the sharing of a person’s substance use treatment records among their care providers, including in integrated care settings like HIEs and health systems with multiple divisions.

It also increases privacy protections and levies higher penalties for information breaches. Netsmart is a key participant in the Partnership to Amend 42 CFR Part 2 in advocacy for passage of these bills.

EHR Incentive Funding for Behavioral Health and Substance Use Treatment Providers

Netsmart continues to advocate for inclusion of health IT funding for these providers in upcoming Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) financing demonstration programs.

Post-acute providers offering behavioral health and substance use treatment services that include MAT may be eligible to apply for the funding. Netsmart advocacy included meetings with CMMI Deputy Director Amy Bassano and Dr. Don Rucker, National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), and his key staff to provide information and recommendations.

EHRs and related technology, including e-prescribing and the ability to exchange clinical data with health systems, physician practices and community referral partners is essential to outcomes measurement for MAT demonstration programs. More to come as CMMI further defines the framework later in the year.

Stay informed on all legislative and public policy issues by visiting our legislative advocacy web page.