What home health agencies need to know about OASIS-D changes

What home health agencies need to know about OASIS-D changes


Last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced proposed changes to the Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS). Though the official interpretive guidance manual won’t be finalized until November, the changes are scheduled to go into effect in January 2019.

Home health agencies must plan for these changes in advance, or risk financial penalty. Here’s what every HHA should know about the proposed changes:

Proposed changes could impact reimbursements

According to CMS, the overhaul to OASIS-D would affect 33 items, resulting in the collection of 235 fewer data elements within a home health episode. The proposal may also new items to support interoperability for the IMPACT ACT. Once these changes go into effect, agencies will need to ensure that staff enter data correctly or risk missing out on reimbursements.

Failure to fill out a field – or filling it out incorrectly – could result in a denial from CMS. HHA stakeholders should consider updating their policies and practices to ensure no mistakes are made when filling out OASIS forms. Policies may include provisions for training staff members on how best to collect information relevant to OASIS-D data elements. Incomplete or inaccurate assessments could leave money on the table. HHA’s can protect their financial health by preparing for these changes well in advance.

Staff may require additional training

Any time changes are made to OASIS, HHA staff members need to be trained on the new measures. This year’s proposed changes are extensive, but even a small adjustment would require additional training hours to ensure full compliance.

NDoc software includes a training module to help staff members become familiar with the new fields. Because the module is built into the existing platform, staff members should have little trouble accessing and engaging with the training session. Plus, individuals can review the materials at their convenience.

Because CMS won’t implement the new rules until November, it doesn’t leave much time for training. HHAs that already work with NDoc software will have the advantage of possessing a pre-existing solution so they can get up and on track as soon as possible.

A nurse bandaging a patient's leg. Home health care providers will need additional training.

Compliance is a big concern

As with any new regulatory change, compliance should be top of mind for all HHA stakeholders. Not only could noncompliance put your organization at financial risk, but it could also place the company in legal peril. Again, NDoc software can help stakeholders understand what it takes to be compliant and work toward that goal.

NDoc doesn’t rely on static fields, but actually uses a logic-based system for comprehensive results.

As an added failsafe, NDoc not only contains compliance alerts that ask care providers to fill in certain fields, but also performs internal checks to ensure providers actually filled them in.

Interoperability will become easier

One of the major goals of the OASIS-D overhaul is to make the interoperability of data easier than ever. Essentially, the new system will pave the way for standardization among all providers, not only those within the acute care field.

For example, if a patient gets his or her hip replaced and is discharged into rehab facility and then to a home health agency, his or her data will seamlessly transfer between electronic record keeping systems. This allows for easier patient movement throughout the continuum of care.

Award winning NDoc software can help your organization stay compliant and improve operations. HHAs should consider investing in a comprehensive solution before the Jan. 1 deadline. To learn more, schedule a free demo today.