HCAF Testifies Before U.S. Small Business Administration Against CMS Face-to-Face Encounter Requirement

At the 2011 National Regulatory Fairness Hearing for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Office of the National Ombudsman held on Tuesday, May 24, Welcome Homecare’s Scott Lara testified on behalf of the Home Care Association’s of Home Care (HCAF)’s 670 members against the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) face-to-face encounter requirement.

The National Ombudsman assists small businesses with unfair and excessive regulatory enforcement by federal agencies, such as CMS, by acting as a “troubleshooter” between small businesses and federal agencies. CMS was one of nearly 40 federal agencies that were represented in this hearing. Some of the testimonies were offered in person and some via conference call.

Mr. Scott Lara, Director of Governmental Affairs for Welcome Homecare, traveled from Jacksonville, Florida to Columbia, Maryland to provide his passionate and robust testimony in-person.  Monica Smith, HCAF’s Deputy Director, provided on-site representation as well. Members of the SBA appeared engaged and followed along with the forms attached as exhibits demonstrating the duplicate paperwork requirements involved for a physician to complete both a Home Health Certification and Plan of Care (Form 485) as well as the verification documentation of a face-to-face encounter form.

Scott Lara testifies before the U.S. Small Business Administration on behalf of HCAF

As part of his compelling testimony, Mr. Lara appealed on behalf of all the stakeholders by stating, “It is clear that home health agencies and physicians want to provide high quality care to our patients. It is also clear that CMS refuses to work with home health agencies to modify the Face-to-Face requirement so that agencies can be paid for services rendered in good faith. CMS has not required physicians to complete the form, but is requiring home health agencies to obtain the form to get reimbursed, and frankly, that is just plain unrealistic.”

He asked the SBA to contact Secretary Kathleen Sebelius directly and ask her to direct Director Jonathan Blum to halt the face-to-face documentation requirement indefinitely until congressional oversight hearings can be held on this issue, or for the SBA to contact U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to intervene on behalf of the home health industry, physicians and our patients by calling for immediate hearings on the F2F requirement and issue an immediate halt to the requirement. Mr. Lara also pointed out that 57 members of the U.S. Senate are reaching out to CMS in support of this issue as well and pleaded for the SBA’s support. Mr. Scott’s complete testimony can be found here.

HCAF Deputy Director Monica Smith and Welcome Homecare's Scott Lara appear at the 2011 National Regulatory Fairness Hearing for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Office of the National Ombudsman held on March 24, in Columbia, Maryland

Mr. Lara’s testimony was sorely needed in light of the increasing regulations at the federal and state levels, and it’s worth nothing that these burdens are much greater for small businesses than they are for those with 500 employees or more.  Across all industries:

  • The cost of federal regulations totals $1.1 trillion.
  • Small businesses with fewer than 20 employees spend $7,647 per year per employee, 45% more than larger firms, to comply with federal regulations.
  • Small businesses spend 4.5 times as much per employee to comply with environmental regulations.
  • Small businesses spend 67% more per employee on tax compliance.

For more information on small businesses, go to www.sba.gov.

%d bloggers like this: