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AMA Pushes for Time to Comply with New Home Health Face-to-Face Visits

The AMA with assistance of ACP was able to secure a three-month extension of the January 1 enforcement date for new requirements that call for physicians to have a face-to-face visit within 90 days prior or 30 days after the start of home health services. Last November, CMS announced the new policy in the Final Physician Fee Schedule Rule, allowing little time to notify physicians. Furthermore, the documentation requirements associated with the new mandate were unclear, causing confusion among physicians and home health agencies. The AMA has advocated for reducing the paperwork burden associated with this new requirement. As a result, CMS recently announced that physicians will not be required to use a specific form when they conduct the required face-to-face encounter. The only requirement will be documentation that supports the patient's need for home health services, which can be cut and pasted from the medical record or discharge summary and attached to the certification for home health.

A new FAQ has been posted to the CMS Web site that addresses this issue. The AMA continues to push for extending the compliance date to July 1.

Page updated: 03/31/11

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