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Spotlight and Announcements

About this Page

The page provides recent news and updates pertinent to the Home Health Quality Program. On this page you will find announcements about posting of resource guides and fact sheets, the availability of Q&A documents, information about Home Health Compare, among other notifications. Questions about home health quality measures, including the Quality of Patient Care star ratings, can be sent to HomeHealthQualityQuestions@cms.hhs.gov. For any other questions, please see the Home Health Quality Reporting Program Help Desks page to identify the correct contact email and/or phone number.

Updates

August 23, 2019

Post-Training Materials Available – Home Health Quality Reporting Program: Achieving a Full APU/Market Basket Increase Webinar

Available on the Home Health Quality Reporting Training webpage.

August 06, 2019

Posting of the Home Health Quality Reporting Program Measures Calculations and Reporting User’s Manual – Version 1.0 Effective August 2019

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Home Health (HH) Quality Reporting Program (QRP) has posted the first version of the of the HH QRP Measures Calculations and Reporting User’s Manual. This manual presents the methods used to calculate the quality measures (QMs) that are included in the HH QRP and reported on the Home Health Compare website. It comprises detailed information for each QM, including definitions, inclusion and exclusion criteria, and QM calculation specifications. A complete version of the HH QRP QM User’s Manual may be found on the HH QRP Quality Measures page.

August 02, 2019

SUBJECT: Register for an iQIES Account - Action Required

Dear Home Health Agency (HHA):

The Quality Improvement and Evaluation System (QIES), which providers and vendors use to submit assessment data, is being upgraded to make the system more reliable, scalable, secure, and accessible. The enhancements will occur in phases (by provider type) and began with Long- Term Care Hospitals (LTCHs) in March 2019, to be followed by Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs) in October 2019 and Home Health Agencies (HHAs) in January 2020. The enhanced system is referred to as the Internet Quality Improvement and Evaluation System (iQIES).

The initial rollout of iQIES will not change how providers or vendors submit data. However, iQIES will require a new user management system because virtual private network (VPN) and CMSNet are no longer needed to access this system. All users will have to create an account and establish credentials in the Healthcare Quality Information System (HCQIS) Access, Roles and Profile system (HARP). HARP is a secure identity management portal that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides.

Through HARP, the level of access for iQIES will be similar to the roles that exist in QIES but with the addition of a Provider Security Official (PSO). The individual designated as the PSO will be responsible for approving or rejecting iQIES user access requests for their respective organizations, including vendors.

For your organization to receive access to iQIES, your organization must first complete the steps below according to the following schedule:

  1. Identify an individual who will be the Provider Security Official (PSO).
  2. Register the PSO in the Healthcare Quality Information System (HCQIS) Access Roles and Profile (HARP) system at: https://harp.qualitynet.org/register/profile-info.
  3. After your MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) is complete, choose the iQIES application presented to you to request your Security Official role. Alternatively, you can access iQIES at the following URL: https://iqies.cms.gov/ to complete your role request.

For assistance with HARP onboarding, users can call the QTSO Helpdesk at (800) 339-9313 or e-mail help@qtso.com. If you have any questions related to iQIES, please send them to iQIES_Broadcast@cms.hhs.gov.

Onboarding Start Date

Home Health Provider’s State

08/01/2019

CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT

08/01/2019

DC, DE, MD, PA, VA, WV

09/01/2019

IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI

Onboarding Start Date

Home Health Provider’s State

09/01/2019

AR, LA, NM, OK, TX

10/02/2019

AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN

10/02/2019

IA, KS, MO, NE

10/02/2019

CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, WY

10/02/2019

AK, ID, OR, WA

11/01/2019

NJ, NY, PR, VI

11/01/2019

AZ, CA, GU, HI, MP, NV

Please note that at this time, only certified Home Health Agencies will be onboarded to iQIES. For questions, please contact our service desk at: help@qtso.com or by phone: 800-339-9313 with any questions.

***Although onboarding for HHAs will begin in August, iQIES assessment submission functionality for HHAs will not be available until January 1, 2020. Although this functionality will not be available immediately, we encourage HHA security officials to request access to iQIES as soon as onboarding for your organization’s state has begun. CMS advises that HHAs register two security officials, if possible, as doing so will allow for a smoother transition prior to the January go live date. Upon receiving access, security officials will have access to ‘My Profile’ and ‘Help’ in iQIES.

To comply with federal security mandates, CMS is initiating new security requirements for access control to CMS Quality Systems through Remote Identify Proofing (RIDP) via HARP. Users will need to create an account in HARP to gain access to the iQIES system. CMS has prepared a fact sheet with more information about this process. To view the fact sheet, visit: https://qtso.cms.gov/news-and-updates/remote-identify-proofing-requirements-internet-quality-improvement-evaluation-0

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to HARP can be accessed using the following link: https://harp.qualitynet.org/login/help

 July 30, 2019

CUTPOINTS UPDATED Star Rating Preview Reports for the October 2019 Refresh Available in CASPER

The Quality of Patient Care (QoPC) Star Rating Preview Reports for the October 2019 refresh have been updated to contain corrected cutpoints for the QoPC Star Rating determination. No HHAs’ measure scores or ratings have changed in this correction. This updated QoPC Star Ratings Provider Preview Reports replace those posted on July 12th. The deadline for submitting a request for suppression remains August 12th.

These revised reports will be available to providers for 90 days only. Providers are encouraged to save a copy of their preview reports for later reference.

JULY 16, 2019

NOW AVAILABLE- Updated Quarterly OASIS Q&As

July 2019 OASIS Q&A's are available in the OASIS Quarterly Q&As section of the CMS QTSO webpage, https://qtso.cms.gov/providers/home-health-agency-hha-providers/reference-manuals .

July 15, 2019

UPDATED Corrected Provider Preview Reports for the October 2019 Refresh  Available in CASPER

The Provider Preview Reports posted on July for the October 2019 refresh have been corrected due to an error affecting the reporting of the claims-based "Acute Care Hospitalization" and "Emergency Department Use without Hospitalization" measures. No changes have made to the other measures shown on the report.

July 12, 2019

UPDATED Star Rating Preview Reports for the October 2019 Refresh Available in CASPER

Providers can now download updated Quality of Patient Care (QoPC) Star Rating Preview Reports from CASPER. These reports have been revised to include some previously missing data and correctly preview data that will be displayed in the Home Health Compare website beginning around October 30, 2019. The revised QoPC Star Ratings Provider Preview Reports replace those posted on July 3. To accommodate the revisions, CMS is extending the deadline for submitting a request for suppression until August 12th. Some providers may see a slight change up or down in their QoPC star rating as a result of the revisions.

These revised reports will be available to providers for 90 days only. Providers are encouraged to save a copy of their preview reports for later reference.

 

July 11, 2019

Specifications for the quality measures and standardized patient assessment data elements proposed for the HH QRP through the CY 2020 HH PPS Proposed Rule are now posted. The specifications document provides detailed information on the proposed new and updated measures: Transfer of Health Information to Provider–Post-Acute Care (PAC), Transfer of Health Information to Patient–Post-Acute Care (PAC), and Discharge to Community–Post-Acute Care (PAC) HH QRP. The standardized patient assessment data elements and evidence of support for these data elements are also detailed in the specifications document. The new and modified sections of the OASIS, along with a change table, effective January 1, 2021 for the measures and standardized patient assessment data elements proposed for the HH QRP in the CY 2020 HH PPS Proposed Rule are also posted. The specifications, mockups and change table can be found in the Downloads section of the HH Quality Measures webpage.

The CY 2020 HH PPS Proposed Rule will be available at https://www.federalregister.gov/.

July 3, 2019

NOW AVAILABLE IN CASPER - Preview Reports and Star Rating Preview Reports for the October 2019 Refresh

Providers can now download the latest Provider Preview Reports and the Quality of Patient Care Star Rating Preview Reports from CASPER. These reports preview data that will be displayed in the Home Health Compare website beginning around October 30, 2019. The HHC Provider Preview Reports remain in the CASPER folders and are available to providers for 60 days only. The QoPC Star Ratings Provider Preview Reports remain in the CASPER folders and are available to providers for 90 days only. Providers are encouraged to save a copy of their preview reports for later reference.

Learn more about the Home Health QRP data submission deadlines here and about the Home Health Star Ratings here.

June 27, 2019

Enhanced Assessment Submission & Processing System/User Tool for Home Health Providers for January 1, 2020

In March 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began delivering a series of enhancements to the Quality Improvement and Evaluation System (QIES). The upgraded system, called the Internet Quality Improvement and Evaluation System (iQIES), is an Internet facing, cloud-based system that is more reliable, intuitive, secure, and accessible. iQIES will be rolled out to post-acute care providers using a phased approach that began with Long Term Care Hospitals (LTCHs), to be followed by Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs) in October 2019. Home Health Agencies (HHAs) will be able to receive access to iQIES starting in July 2019 as part of the upcoming release on January 1, 2020. In January 2020, HHAs will have access to a new patient assessment upload and reporting interface that will replace the current Assessment Submission & Processing (ASAP) and the Certification and Survey Provider Enhanced Reports (CASPER) submission and reporting systems. This release will also include the ability for HHA providers and vendors to create assessments in iQIES, replacing the jHAVEN user tool. In addition, this release will include survey and certification functionality for HHAs.

What to Expect/Future Communications For additional information about the release of iQIES for HHAs, the following communications will be made available in coming weeks and in the next several months:

- iQIES Provider Security Official Request Letter – Instructions on how your organization can assign a “Provider Security Official” and begin the account creation process. A Provider Security Official will need to obtain this access in iQIES in order to approve access requests for your organization. We expect to start onboarding HHA Security officials in July 2019; onboarding for HHAs will continue for several months and will follow a schedule according to your organization’s state (details will be included in these instructions, to be sent in coming weeks).

- iQIES Training Video Announcement – Resources for how to navigate the iQIES system and how to utilize the improved functionality.

- iQIES XML Upload/Assessment Tool Release Announcement- Announcement of January 1, 2020 GoLive date for HHAs

- iQIES FAQs – Frequently asked questions that will be updated periodically based on end-user feedback to improve the overall experience.

***Although onboarding for HHAs will begin in July, iQIES assessment submission functionality will not be available until January 1, 2020. Although this functionality will not be available immediately, we encourage HHA security officials to request access to iQIES as soon as onboarding for your organization’s state has begun. Upon receiving access, security officials will have access to ‘My Profile’ and ‘Help’ in iQIES.

For More Information

Visit the http://qtso.cms.gov website, or contact our service desk at: help@qtso.com or by phone: 800- 339-9313 with any questions.

June 26, 2019

NEW TRAINING EVENT — Updated Section GG Web-based Training Course

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is offering a web-based training course on how to properly code of Section GG. This 45-minute course is intended for providers in the following care settings: Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), Long-Term Care Hospitals (LTCHs), Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs), and Home Health Agencies (HHAs); and is designed to be used on demand anywhere you can access a browser. The course is divided into the following four lessons and includes interactive exercises that allow you to test your knowledge in real life scenarios:

• Lesson 1: Importance of Section GG for Post-Acute Care

• Lesson 2: Section GG Assessment and Coding Principles

• Lesson 3: Coding GG0130.Self-Care Items

• Lesson 4: Coding GG0170.Mobility Items

Click here to access the training.

If you have technical questions or feedback regarding the training, please email the PAC Training mailbox. Content-related questions should be submitted to the Quality Reporting Program Help Desk for your care setting.

June 24, 2019

DELAY IN POSTING: Preview Reports and Star Rating Preview Reports for the October 2019 Refresh

Preview Reports and Star Rating Preview Reports for the October 2019 Home Health Compare Refresh will be delayed until early July 2019. This delay is the result of our efforts to align the display of two Home Health Quality Reporting Program measures with the display in the compare sites for other postacute care settings. As of October 2019, the measures Discharge to Community and Potentially Preventable Readmissions will include point estimates and confidence intervals, in addition to categorical data. CMS will keep the home health agency community informed with updates on the timeline for the release of the review reports.

June 17, 2019

Pre-Training Materials Available for the Home Health Quality Reporting Program: Achieving a Full APU/Market Basket Increase Webinar

Available under the Downloads section of the Home Health Quality Reporting Training webpage.

June 07, 2019

REGISTRATION OPEN – Home Health Quality Reporting Program: Achieving a Full APU/Market Basket Increase Webinar on June 19, 2019 The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be hosting a webinar on Achieving a Full Annual Payment Update (APU)/Market Basket Increase for home health providers on Wednesday, June 19, 2019. See the Home Health Quality Reporting Training webpage for details.

June 07, 2019

On April 30th, 2019, CMS announced a new policy for the submission of patient assessment records. Home health agencies will have 24 months from the assessment target date to submit and/or correct records. This policy was originally announced with an effective date of October 1, 2019. The effective date of the policy has been revised to January 1, 2020. To provide home health agencies with more information about this policy, a fact sheet is now available for home health agencies in the downloads section of the Home Health Quality Reporting Requirements page.

June 07, 2019

Video Tutorials Available to Assist with Coding Specific Section GG Items

Accessible from the following webpages:

Home Health QRP Training webpage

Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility QRP Training webpage

Long-Term Care Hospital QRP Training webpage

Skilled Nursing Facility QRP webpage

May 30, 2019

Publication of Potentially Preventable Readmission Measures for the Post-Acute Care Quality Reporting Programs (QRPs)

Beginning fall 2019, CMS will publicly display measure results on the Home Health Compare website for the Potentially Preventable 30-Day Post-Discharge Readmissions measure adopted for the Home Health (HH) Quality Reporting Program (QRP). For more information, please visit the Home Health Quality Measures webpage.

May 24, 2019

A specifications document providing technical details for OASIS-D1, effective January 1, 2020, is now available in the Downloads section of the OASIS Data Specifications webpage at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/OASIS/DataSpecifications.html. These specifications supplement the information provided in the OASIS-D1 Update memorandum revised and posted May 2019 at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/HomeHealthQualityInits/HHQIOASISUserManual.html.

Final technical specifications for OASIS-D1 will be posted once they are available.

May 17, 2019

Home Health Compare Quarterly Refresh – May 17, 2019

The April 2019 quarterly Home Health (HH) Compare refresh is now available on the Home Health Compare website. Please visit to view the new and updated quality data.

 

May 14, 2019

NOW AVAILABLE:

  • A revised version of the memorandum containing details about the changes to OASIS, effective January 1, 2020

The memorandum containing details about the changes to OASIS effective January 1, 2020 was updated to include detail addressing the transition to the Patient-Driven Groupings Model. This revised version is available on the OASIS User Manuals webpage, in the Downloads section.

May 14, 2019

Post-Training Materials Available – March 2019 Home Health QRP Provider Training

Available on the Home Health Quality Reporting Training webpage.

May 07, 2019

Home Health Compare is undergoing a series of software updates. The April 2019 database refresh that was scheduled to coincide with the software changes will take place as soon as the final software performance tests are completed. When the Home Health Compare refresh is available, an announcement will be posted on https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/HomeHealthQualityInits/Spotlight-and-Announcements.html

Thank you for your patience, and please check back for updates.

 

April 30, 2019

Policy Change for Assessment Submission Timeframe

The current CMS policy for submission of patient assessment records allows providers to submit records for up to 36 months from the assessment target date.  Effective October 1, 2019, the CMS policy for patient assessment submission will be changed to 24 months from the assessment target date.  The policy change applies to new, modified, and inactivated records. 

April 16, 2019

NOW AVAILABLE- Updated Quarterly OASIS Q&As

April 2019 OASIS Q&A’s are available in the OASIS Quarterly Q&As section of the CMS QTSO webpage, https://qtso.cms.gov/providers/home-health-agency-hha-providers/reference-manuals.

April 5, 2019

NOW AVAILABLE:

  • OASIS-D All Items instrument, effective January 1, 2020
  • OASIS-D Follow-up (FU) time point instrument, effective January 1, 2020
  • A memorandum containing details about the changes to OASIS, effective January 1, 2020

Revised versions of the OASIS-D All Items instrument and the Follow-up (FU) time point instrument are available. The original OASIS-D versions for all other time points remain in effect as of January 1, 2020. The revised All Items and Follow-Up instruments with the remaining OASIS-D time point versions are available together in a zip file in the Download section on the OASIS Data Sets webpage.

The memorandum containing details about the changes to OASIS effective January 1, 2020 is available on the OASIS User Manuals webpage, in the Downloads section.

March 22, 2019

NOW AVAILABLE IN CASPER - Preview Reports and Star Rating Preview Reports for the July 2019 Refresh

You can download the latest Provider Preview Reports and the Quality of Patient Care Star Rating Preview Reports from CASPER. These reports preview data that will be displayed in the Home Health Compare website beginning July 24, 2019. The HHC Provider Preview Reports remain in the CASPER folders and are available to providers for 60 days only. The QoPC Star Ratings Provider Preview Reports remain in the CASPER folders and are available to providers for 90 days only. Providers are encouraged to save a copy of their preview reports for later reference.

Learn more about the Home Health QRP data submission deadlines here and about the Home Health Star Ratings here.

March 15, 2019

OASIS-D Q+A is Available  

A question and answer (Q+A) document related to the OASIS-D is now available. See the Home Health Quality Reporting Training webpage for details. 

March 05, 2019

CMS is updating the Quality Improvement and Evaluation System

Starting in March, the Quality Improvement and Evaluation System (QIES), Certification and Survey Provider Enhanced Reports (CASPER) and Automated Survey Processing Environment (ASPEN) will undergo a series of modernizing enhancements. Once updated, the system will be called the Internet Quality Improvement and Evaluation System (iQIES). The iQIES system will not change how providers currently submit data to CMS.

The new enhancements in iQIES are based on user research and testing and feature a human-centered design and agile development practices. CMS is phasing in the iQIES system beginning with Long Term Care Hospitals (LTCH). Several updates to the QIES- Assessment Submission and Processing (ASAP) system are also planned. The Cloud-based solutions will also make it easier for users to receive support and use the system.

iQIES Details:

  • Users will no longer need a virtual private network (VPN) or CMSNet to access the system. iQIES is Internet-facing and maintains the latest system architecture and security standards.
  • System enhancements support flexible and user-friendly data reports for providers, allowing them to use real-time data for care planning as well as quality monitoring and improvement.
  • Users can access important information for work anywhere, at any time, on mobile devices, laptops, and tablets.

CMS will be sharing more information about iQIES such as onboarding, stakeholder engagement opportunities, training, and general updates soon!

If you have questions, please contact our service desk at: help@qtso.com or by phone: 800-339-9313.

March 05, 2019

Understanding OASIS Function Coding Fact Sheet is now available

This Fact Sheet clarifies that the response codes for the OASIS M1800 series function items, and the Section GG function items are not intended to be duplicative, or ‘match’. There are differences between items that have the same or similar names, so coding may be different. Examples are provided to illustrate this. Each OASIS item should be considered individually and coded based on guidance specific to that item. Please see the HH Quality Reporting Training webpage for details.

March 01, 2019

Pre-Training Materials Available for the March 2019 Home Health QRP Provider In-Person Training Event

Available under the Downloads section of the Home Health Quality Reporting Training webpage.

February 20, 2019 

Post-Acute Care Quality Reporting Program Quarter 3 Data Submission Deadline Extension 

CMS is aware of the issue with CMSNet that impacted post-acute care (PAC) providers’ ability to submit assessment data for the quality reporting programs (QRP) to the QIES-ASAP system on the Quarter 3 data submission deadline of February 15, 2019. We have extended the data submission deadline, and we will be accepting QRP assessment data submissions through, Thursday, February 21, 2019. Providers can also apply for an extension following the instructions listed on the PAC QRP Reconsiderations and Exception & Extension webpages if they are unable to meet this extension deadline. 

February 08, 2019

HH Compare Quarterly Refresh – January 2019

The January 2019 quarterly Home Health (HH) Compare refresh, including new quality measure results based on data submitted to CMS, is now available on the HH Compare Site. In addition to the HH QRP measures that have displayed on Home Health Compare previously, the following four new quality measures are newly reported on HH Compare: 

Assessment-based measures:

  1. Percent of Residents or Patients with a Pressure Ulcers that Are New or Worsened (Short Stay) (NQF#0678)
  2. Drug Regimen Review Conducted with Follow-Up for identified Issues

Claims-based measures:

  1. Medicare Spending Per Beneficiary-PAC HH QRP
  2. Discharge to Community-PAC HH QRP

CMS has decided not to publish a 5th quality measure, Potentially Preventable 30-Day Post-Discharge Readmissions, at this time.   Additional time would allow for more testing to determine if there are modifications that may be needed both to the measure and to the method for displaying the measure. The additional testing will ensure that the future publicly reported measure is thoroughly evaluated so that Compare users can depend upon an accurate picture of provider quality.   While we conduct this additional testing, CMS will not post reportable data for this measure, including each agency’s performance, as well as the national rate.

Please visit the Home Health Compare website to view the new and updated quality data. 

January 29, 2019

REGISTRATION OPEN – Home Health QRP Provider In-Person Training Event, March 5 and 6, 2019

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be hosting a 2-day Home Health (HH) Quality Reporting Program (QRP) in-person 'Train the Trainer' event for providers on March 5 and 6, 2019, in Baltimore, MD. See the Home Health Quality Reporting Training webpage for details.

January 25, 2019

Section GG Decision Tree Training Document Now Available

A decision tree training document to help with coding Section GG self-care and mobility data elements is now available. This document provides an overview of the 6 codes and coding instructions for admission/discharge. Please see the HH Quality Reporting Training webpage for details.

January 25, 2019

An OASIS-D Guidance Manual Errata, updated 01-25-2019, is available on the CMS OASIS User Manuals website, in the Downloads section. This Errata document includes corrections to the final version of the OASIS-D Guidance Manual, posted 12/20/2018 on the CMS OASIS User Manuals webpage.

January 16, 2019

NOW AVAILABLE- Updated Quarterly OASIS Q&As

January OASIS Q&A’s are available in the OASIS Quarterly Q&As section of the CMS QTSO webpage, https://qtso.cms.gov/providers/home-health-agency-hha-providers/reference-manuals .

January 4, 2019

You can now download the Quality of Patient Care star rating preview reports for the April 2019 Home Health Compare refresh from CASPER.  These reports show how we updated the calculation algorithm described on the October 3, 2018 Medicare Learning Network call. We took the “Drug Education on all Medications Provided to Patient/Caregiver” process measure out of the calculation and replaced it with the Improvement in Management of Oral Medications” outcome measure. You can learn more.

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