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Statement from the Executive Director

Greetings DC Home Health Association Members,

The past seven months we have seen a heightened level of engagement with the Department of Health Care Finance. The Proposed State Plan Amendment on the Nursing Rates Increase has occupied the majority of our time with the In-Home Supports Working Group falling closely behind. With respect to the SPA, DHCF has finally published the proposed rule in March 2017. DCHHA was very aggressive in demanding that a copy of the SPA be circulated before it was finalized. DHCF chose to publish the rule and DCHHA has responded with comments and recommendations for changes during the comment period. As it stands at the moment, DCHHA is still not fully satisfied with the proposed SPA but has been able to secure significant amendments towards a workable resolution. DCHHA would prefer that in the future the details of the SPA be shared with Industry partners during the development period, because once submitted to the public for comment, changes are difficult to be made.

With respect to the In-Home Supports Working Group, DCHHA representatives attended meetings and two Hearing Sessions of the Working Group. One Listen Session was arranged by DCHHA. It was well attended. A Technical Assistance Team from CMS also was invited by DHCF to meet with the Working Group to share in their knowledge and expertise on implementing In-Home Supports. In attendance were DHCF senior staff, DDA representatives, a member of the DC Ombudsman Office, SEIU 1199 representative, HHA representatives, etc. Subsequent TA sessions will take place in the near future.

The Cost Report Analysis activities have now began. A template of the Cost Report was initially provided to the DCHHA Price Setting Team. The template seems to be better developed this go-around. The Team sort and received some clarification on a few matters that we believe made better the final product. An initial TA meeting was facilitated by DCHHA for all HHAs. As a further safeguard, DCHHA had invited at least two consulting firms to submit a proposal to assist with preparation of the 2016 Cost Reports. Only one responded, and we have asked all DCHHA individual HHAs to consider engaging RIMA Health Care Management Consultants in order to provide a uniform document to DHCF. DCHHA also requested that a global extension to the submission of the Cost Report be provided to HHAs. While DHCF denied the global extension, it allowed for an extension on a case-by-case basis. DCHHA was happy to facilitate those requests.

DCHHA continues to remain quite active in launching its recruitment drive for HHAs eligible to join the Association. At least two additional agencies have expressed interest. The application was provided to them, and we are waiting for their response. In closing, the outlook for District of Columbia is great. We remain vigilant in our endeavor to expand on our membership. The value of having a valued business league comprised of Home Health Agencies has made the industry even more viable in the scheme of things. Elected officials in the District now reach out to DCHHA on all matters pertaining to Home Health Services. We must now do even better in making this working environment even better.

Eric Walcott
Eric Walcott
Executive Director