The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) today posted the 2015 RAND study Home Health Care for California’s Injured Workers – Options for Implementing a Fee Schedule. California
The Medicare fee schedule for home health services covers only home health services provided when a homebound individual needs intermittent or part-time skilled care. To date, DWC has not implemented a Medicare-based fee schedule for home health services. Section 74 of Senate Bill 863 added Labor Code §5307.8, which requires that DWC adopt a fee schedule for home health services not covered by Medicare. This fee schedule must establish fees and service provider requirements based on the rules used by the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, a MediCal-funded program that provides supportive services necessary to enable elderly and disabled individuals to remain safely within their homes. The DWC asked RAND to provide technical assistance in developing the fee schedule and related coverage policies for home health services.
The 130 page RAND study found that neither the Medicare fee schedule nor the IHSS fee schedule would be sufficient to cover the full range of potential home care services provided to injured workers. Nonetheless the DWC, the fee schedule should build on existing fee schedules policies, coding system and payment amounts. This is the approach that has been taken with respect to other components of the OMFS. Given the SB 863 requirements, priority should be given to adapting the IHSS fee schedules as needed for the WC patient population. There should be standardized codes describing the type and volume of services provided to the injured worker. To the extent feasible, the codes should draw on existing code sets. The payment rates should be adequate to cover the estimated costs (including a fair return on investment) of providing the services efficiently, and the payment incentives should be structured to safeguard against the under- or over provision of care. One of the more controversial RAND recommendations might be their suggestion that “To balance worker choice with safety and cost considerations, family members should be allowed to provide attendant care services when they have the training to do so and there is appropriate financial accountability and oversight.”
The DWC will hold a public meeting to discuss issues related to the home health services fee schedule on Tuesday, March 3, from 10:00 a.m. to Noon at the Elihu Harris State Office Building Auditorium located at 1515 Clay Street in Oakland. The purpose of the meeting is to hear input from the public regarding issues including assessing the need for home health services, service provider requirements, fee amounts, and billing codes.