Home Health Care Attendant Care Respite Care

Home Health, Attendant Care, Respite Care Coverage, Coding and Billing

Federal Medicare Home Health Care PPS Dates to Balanced Budget Act of 1997

The 1997 Balanced Budget Act (BBA), amended by the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act (OCESAA) of 1999, provided for implementation of a prospective payment system (PPS) for home health services (HHS).

Home Health Services are is provided to Medicare patients but there are caps on total coverage.

Medicare covers up to 100 home health visits per period of illness following a hospital stay. Additional home health benefits are available under Part B. Home health visits under both Parts A and B must meet the following conditions:

  • A physician has certified you as homebound
  • Intermittent skilled nursing or therapy services are required
  • Services are provided by a Medicare-certified home health agency

The level of care is based on complex assessments, formerly billed in episodes under home health resource groupings (HHRGs) and now billed under a new Standard.   Attendant and respite care is also provided to adults, pediatric patients under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) under State Medicaid.

Respite Care is an Essential Benefit of the Affordable Care Act, but a New Supreme Court Case is Pending in November 2020 that May Change Certain Essential Health Benefit Limits

Respite care (provided that it is proven to be Medically Necessary) is substitute care. A respite caregiver is a person who takes over when the primary caregiver takes a break.  Habilitative Services: Habilitative services are one of the ten essential health benefits required under the ACA; however, states are allowed to produce their definition of what this means.[1]  Twenty-nine states have not only passed autism insurance mandates requiring private insurers to offer alternative benefit plans, including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)[2] therapy in state regulated plans, but they have also opted to mandate the benefit in Affordable Care Act plans sold on the exchange.

These states are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin (from Autism Speaks). Minnesota began to require ABA in its Affordable Care Act plans, but not until 2016.

The Supreme Court will hear a new case and is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this November in California v. Texas (known as Texas v. U.S. in the lower courts)

State Medicaid Programs for Home Health and Attendant Care

Each state administers Federal funds in Medicaid programs.  Each state Medicaid program may offer different HHS benefits. For example, in California, Ohio, Texas, and Florida, federal programs and state the programs are available.

Texas Home Health Services Provides:

  1. Institutional / Nursing Home Medicaid
  2. Medicaid Waivers / Home and Community-Based Services
  3. Regular Medicaid / Aged Blind and Disabled

In Texas,

  1. Senate Bill 7 from the 2013 Texas Legislature requires Texas Health and Human Services Commission to put a cost-effective option for attendant care[3] and habilitation services for people with disabilities who have STAR+PLUS Medicaid coverage. STAR+PLUS, which is for people who have disabilities OR who are age 65 or older.  It is designed to provide a choice of care setting at home, rather than in a nursing facility.
  2. Community First Choice, allows states to provide home and community-based attendant services/attendant care and support to Medicaid insureds with disabilities using federal funds. This option provides states with six percent more in federal matching funds. To be eligible for Community First Choice services, one must first qualify for State Medicaid, need help with daily living, and need an institutional level of care.
  3. Primary Home Care or PHC is another form of Long-Term Care for adults with a statement of medical need whose health problems limit their ability to independently complete daily living activities.

Texas Community Attendant Services – Clinical Eligibility in Summary

Texas Community Attendant Services (CAS) is available to eligible adults and children whose health conditions result in functional limitations in performing activities of daily living. An attendant provides services.  Medical necessity is determined by a licensed clinician’s statement of medical need.[4]

Texas Attendant Services – Financial Eligibility in Summary

For 2019 individuals must have ma monthly income less than $27,756 per year, and assets valued at less than $2,000.  For a household of two, the monthly income limit is $54,512 per year and purchases of less than $3,000. Assets such as a home up to a value of $585,000 may be exempt. Financial eligibility changes annually and is calculated as a percentage of the SSI income limit. There are no age restrictions for eligibility. [5]

Texas Respite Care has similar provisions, subject to medical necessity determinations.

Generally, respite care and attendant care are covered at the state level.  Federal Medicare local coverage determinations and national coverage determinations are scant.

Billing for Home Health Care Medical Coding and Medical Billing

Home Healthcare uses HHRGs, and until January 2020, reimbursement was based on the prospective payment system but is now based on PDGMSee this post, which discusses many changes in the PDGM system commencing in 2020.

Attendant Care and Respite Care Medical Coding and Medical Billing

Generally, the HCPCS coding system is used.  Examples:

S9125 – Respite care, in the home, per diem

S5125 – Attendant care services; per 15 minutes

[1] Autism Health Insurance.org http://www.autismhealthinsurance.org/health-plan/affordable-care-act#facts

[2] Behavior Analysis is the scientific study of behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the application of the principles of learning and motivation from Behavior Analysis, and the procedures and technology derived from those principles, to the solution of problems of social significance. Many decades of research have validated treatments based on ABA. Source: Center for Autism Therapy. http://www.centerforautism.com/aba-therapy.aspx

[3] According to the State of Texas, Section 4000, subpart 4121 Community First Choice Personal Assistance Services, Revision 19-1; Effective June 3, 2019

“Community First Choice (CFC) personal assistance service (PAS) provides assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) through hands-on assistance, supervision and/or cueing. Assistance is provided to a member in performing ADLs and IADLs based on a person-centered service plan. CFC PAS include:

  • Non-skilled assistance with the performance of ADLs and IADLs;
  • Household chores necessary to maintain the home in a clean, sanitary and safe environment;
  • Escort services, which consist of accompanying, but not transporting, and assisting a member to access services or activities in the community; and
  • Assistance with health-related tasks. Health-related tasks, in accordance with state law, include tasks delegated by a registered nurse (RN), health maintenance activities and extension of therapy. An extension of therapy is an activity that a speech therapist, physical therapist or occupational therapist instructs the member to do as follow-up to therapy sessions. If appropriate, the member’s attendant can assist the member in accomplishing such activities with supervision, cueing and hands-on assistance.

In the Consumer Directed Services (CDS) model, the member or legally authorized representative determines health-related tasks without a nurse assessment, in accordance with §531.051(e)  of the Texas Government Code and §225.4 of the Texas Administrative Code.

CFC PAS is the same service (i.e., attendant care) as Personal Care Services (PCS). The only difference is the level of care (LOC) requirement and how the service is billed. Information used to build a plan of care for CFC PAS may be found in the STAR Kids Screening and Assessment Instrument (SK-SAI) Personal Care Assessment Module (PCAM). The PCAM is administered if triggered by certain items on the SK-SAI (see Appendix I, MCO Business Rules for SK-SAI and SK-ISP) or if the member requests CFC services. Although the PCAM may be triggered if the member has an attendant care need, the member may only receive CFC PAS if the member meets CFC level of care criteria.”

[4] https://hhs.texas.gov/doing-business-hhs/provider-portals/long-term-care-providers/community-attendant-services-cas

[5] https://hhs.texas.gov/doing-business-hhs/provider-portals/long-term-care-providers/community-attendant-services-cas

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Michael F. Arrigo

Michael Arrigo brings four decades of experience in the software, financial services, and healthcare industries. In 2000, Mr. Arrigo founded No World Borders, a healthcare data, regulations, and economics firm with clients in the pharmaceutical, medical device, hospital, surgical center, physician group, diagnostic imaging, genetic testing, health IT, and health insurance markets. His expertise spans the federal health programs Medicare and Medicaid and private insurance. He advises Medicare Advantage Organizations who provide health insurance under Part C of the Medicare Act. Mr. Arrigo serves as an expert witness regarding medical coding and medical billing, fraud damages, as well as electronic health record software for the U.S. Department of Justice. He has valued well over $1 billion in medical billings in personal injury liens, medical malpractice, insurance fraud cases. The U.S. Court of Appeals considered Mr. Arrigo's opinion regarding loss amounts, vacating, and remanding sentencing in a fraud case. Mr. Arrigo provides expertise in the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, Medicare LCDs, anti-trust litigation, medical intellectual property and trade secrets, HIPAA privacy, health care electronic claim data Standards, physician compensation, Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark law, the Affordable Care Act, False Claims Act, and the ARRA HITECH Act. Arrigo advises investors on merger and acquisition (M&A) diligence in the healthcare industry on transactions cumulatively valued at over $1 billion. Mr. Arrigo spent over ten years in Silicon Valley software firms in roles from Product Manager to CEO. He was product manager for a leading-edge database technology joint venture that became commercialized as Microsoft SQL Server, Vice President of Marketing for a software company when it grew from under $2 million in revenue to a $50 million acquisition by a company now merged into Cincom Systems, hired by private equity investors to serve as Vice President of Marketing for a secure email software company until its acquisition and multi $million investor exit by a company now merged into Axway Software SA (Euronext: AXW.PA), and CEO of one of the first cloud-based billing software companies, licensing its technology to Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS). Later, before entering the healthcare industry, he joined Fortune 500 company Fidelity National Financial (NYSE: FNF) as a Vice President, overseeing eCommerce solutions for the mortgage banking industry. While serving as a Vice President at Fortune 500 company First American Financial (NYSE: FAF), he oversaw eCommerce and regulatory compliance technology initiatives for top ten mortgage banks and led the Sarbanes Oxley Act Section 302 internal controls IT audit for the company, supporting Section 404 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act. Mr. Arrigo earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California. Before that, he studied computer science, statistics, and economics at the University of California, Irvine. His post-graduate studies include biomedical ethics at Harvard Medical School, biomedical informatics at Stanford Medical School, blockchain and crypto economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and training as a Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA). Mr. Arrigo is qualified to serve as a director due to his experience in healthcare data, regulations, and economics, his leadership roles in software and financial services public companies, and his healthcare M&A diligence and public company regulatory experience. Mr. Arrigo is quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, Kaiser Health News, Consumer Affairs, National Public Radio (NPR), NBC News Houston, USA Today / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Medical Economics, Capitol ForumThe Daily Beast, the Lund Report, Inside Higher Ed, New England Psychologist, and other press and media outlets. He authored a peer-reviewed article regarding clinical documentation quality to support accurate medical coding, billing, and good patient care, published by Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and is published in Healthcare IT News.

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