Home Health Care
- Physicians (does not apply to Cal MediConnect)
- Participating Physician Groups (PPG)
(does not apply to HSP)
Intermittent home health care is defined as those medical services customarily provided to members in their place of residence. Members affiliated with a participating physician group (PPG) must use a Health Net participating home health care agency.
Home Health Care Services
Home health care services in the member's home are provided by a registered nurse (RN); licensed vocational nurse (LVN); tech nurse, pediatric RN; licensed physical, occupational or speech therapist; MSW; or home health aid. These services may include, but are not limited to, skilled nursing services, medical social services, rehabilitation therapy (including physical, speech and occupational), and cardiac rehabilitation therapy. These services are subject to the conditions and limitations in the member's Evidence of Coverage (EOC) or Cal MediConnect Member Handbook.
The following are additional components of home health care:
- Home health aid services - Coverage for medically necessary home health care provided by a home health aid is authorized only in conjunction with skilled nursing services provided by a certified licensed RN, LVN, tech nurse, pediatric RN, physical or speech therapist, or MSW. The home health aid provides personal care to the member. Custodial care is not covered.
- Medical supplies - Routine supplies, because of their specific therapeutic or diagnostic characteristics, are essential in enabling home health care staff to provide effective care. Home health care covers the medical supplies and services needed to provide the skilled care.
Home health care services are in place of continued hospitalization, confinement in a skilled nursing facility, or outpatient services provided outside of the member's home.
Home health care services that can be safely and effectively performed or self-administered by the average, unlicensed, non-medical person without direct supervision of a licensed nurse are not skilled nursing services, even though a licensed nurse may provide the service.
Once authorized by Health Net or the delegated participating physician group (PPG), primary care physicians (PCPs) may refer members for home health services through Health Net's directly-contracting home health providers.
Medicare Advantage (MA) Violet PPO plan members may use an in-network or out-of-network provider depending upon the desired level of coverage.
Providers must reference the Division of Financial Responsibility (DOFR) for the agreement governing the relationship to ensure services are directed to the appropriate providers.
A member is considered homebound if the following criteria are met:
- The member must either, because of illness or injury, need the aid of supportive devices, such as crutches, canes, wheelchairs, and walkers; the use of special transportation; or the assistance of another person in order to leave their place of residence; or have a condition that makes leaving their home medically contraindicated.
If the member meets any of the above criteria, then they must also meet both requirements as follows:
- Inability to leave home, and leaving home requires a considerable and taxing effort.
If the member does leave home, they are considered homebound if the absences from the home are infrequent or for periods of relatively short duration, or are attributable to the need to receive health care treatment. Absences attributable to the need to receive health care treatment include, but are not limited to:
- attendance at adult day centers to receive medical care.
- ongoing outpatient kidney dialysis.
- outpatient chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
The physician requesting the home health services determines the homebound criteria. Obstetric (OB) criteria do not qualify as homebound. Women and newborns in the immediate postpartum phase may require skilled observation and evaluation. The following selection criteria apply:
- Members who have had a caesarean section and were discharged from the hospital within 96 hours after delivery are eligible for one home health care visit at the attending physician's request. Authorization is not required. Requests for visits to members discharged after 96 hours are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
- Members who delivered vaginally and were discharged from the hospital within 48 hours after delivery are eligible for one home health visit at the attending physician's request. Authorization is not required. Requests for visits for members discharged after 48 hours are evaluated on a case-by-case basis for medical necessity.
Additionally, to receive home health care services, skilled nursing care must be appropriate for the medical treatment of a condition, illness, disease, or injury, or home health care services are part-time and intermittent in nature; for example, a visit lasts up to four hours in duration every 24 hours.
Occasional absences from the home to attend, for example, a family reunion, funeral, graduation, or other infrequent or unique event do not necessitate a determination that the member is not homebound if:
- absences are infrequent.
- absences are of relatively short duration.
- absences do not indicate that the member has the capacity to obtain the health care provided outside rather than in the home.
Exclusions and Limitations
The following are not covered:
- food, housing, homemaker services, and home-delivered meals.
- supportive environmental equipment, such as handrails, ramps, and similar appliances and devices (not an exclusion for Cal MediConnect members).
- services not deemed to be medically necessary by the PPG, PCP or Health Net.
- exercise equipment, gravitonic devices, treadmills, room air purifiers, air conditioners, and similar devices.
- any other equipment that is not considered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to be durable medical equipment (DME).
The participating provider prescribes treatment and the home health agency then proposes, develops and submits a treatment plan, signed by the physician, to the participating physician group (PPG) (for members affiliated with a PPG) or Health Net (for members not affiliated with a PPG) for review and approval. For members affiliated with a PPG, the PPG is required to complete the Authorization for Treatment form for the member. The treatment plan summarizes the services provided, the member's progress, the member's response to treatment, and recommendations for continued service. The participating provider reviews the treatment plan at least every 60 days and signs it to verify that the services provided are medically necessary.
When determining the appropriateness of home health services the following factors are considered:
- mental status of member
- types of services and equipment required (including frequency, duration, dressings, injections, and treatments)
- frequency of visits
- rehabilitation potential
- activities performed
- nutritional requirements
- medications and treatments (including amount, frequency and duration)
- homebound status
- any safety measures to protect against injury
- instructions for timely discharge or referral
- any other relevant items
Providers should initiate arrangements for home health services upon finalizing a hospitalized member's discharge plan.
Providers must use the Urgent Request for Continuing Home Health Services (PDF) form for HMO/POS, PPO, EPO, and Medicare Advantage members continuing home health services. Completed forms must be faxed to the Health Net Prior Authorization Department.
Medicare Part A, Part B and Part C (Medicare Managed Care) and Medi-Cal requires physician certification for home health services. A physician must certify that the medical and other covered health services provided by the home health agency were medically required. If the member's underlying condition or complication requires a registered nurse to ensure that essential non-skilled care is achieving its purpose and necessitates a registered nurse be involved in the development, management and evaluation of a patient's care plan, the physician must include a brief narrative describing the clinical justification of this need. This certification needs to be made only once where the member may require over a period of time the furnishing of the same item or service related to one diagnosis.
Additionally, at the end of a 60-day period, a decision must be made whether or not to recertify the member for a subsequent 60-day period. An eligible member who qualifies for a subsequent 60-day episode of care would start the subsequent 60-day period on day 61. The plan of care must be reviewed and signed by the physician every 60 days unless the member transfers to another home health agency or is discharged and returns to the same home health agency during the 60-day period.
Participating providers initiate home health care services as follows:
- The participating provider or designee contacts the home health or home medical equipment/respiratory provider with orders for continuation of therapy and additional needs.
- The ancillary provider's staff communicates with the ordering physician about changes in the member's condition and questions regarding care or the need for extension or termination of services.
- The ancillary provider's staff cannot deny a service as being not covered without consulting the participating physician group's (PPG's) Utilization Management (UM) Department or a Health Net regional medical director. The participating provider communicates all denials to the ordering physician and the PPG's UM Department or a Health Net regional medical director. The PPG's UM Department or Health Net issues any denial letter to the member.
- The participating provider contacts the ordering physician to discuss ongoing care before authorized services come to an end.
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