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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 05-330



Notice of Comments Issued

[35 Pa.B. 1396]

   Section 5(g) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5(g)) provides that the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (Commission) may issue comments within 30 days of the close of the public comment period. The Commission comments are based upon the criteria contained in section 5.2 of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5b).

   The Commission has issued comments on the following proposed regulations. The agency must consider these comments in preparing the final-form regulation. The final-form regulation must be submitted within 2 years of the close of the public comment period or it will be deemed withdrawn.

Reg. No. Agency/Title Close of the Public Comment PeriodIRRC Comments
14-491 Department of Public Welfare
Home Health Agency Services
34 Pa.B. 6544 (December 11, 2004)

Department of Public Welfare Regulation #14-491 (IRRC # 2452)

Home Health Agency Services

February 9, 2005

   We submit for your consideration the following comments that include references to the criteria in the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5b) which have not been met. The Department of Public Welfare (Department) must respond to these comments when it submits the final-form regulation. The public comment period for this regulation closed on January 10, 2005. If the final-form regulation is not delivered within two years of the close of the public comment period, the regulation will be deemed withdrawn.

1.  General--Consistency with other regulations; Clarity.

   The Preamble to this regulation states that all references to the term ''homebound'' must be deleted from the regulation to bring the Department's policies into compliance with federal regulations. Accordingly, The Department has deleted the definition of and references to the term ''homebound'' in Sections 1249.2, 1249.42(1)(ii), 1249.52 and 1249.57(b) of the proposed regulation. However, Section 1249.2a in existing regulation contains a statement of policy by the Department outlining conditions which may render a Medical Assistance recipient ''homebound.''

   We understand the Department will be rescinding Section 1249.2a and replacing it with a statement of policy that is consistent with the proposed changes to this regulation. We recommend the Department publish the final-form version of this regulation and the updated statement of policy concurrently to avoid inconsistencies in Chapter 1249.

2.  Section 1249.52. Payment conditions for various services.--Reasonableness.

   Subsection (a) reads:

   (a)  Home health agencies are reimbursed for services furnished to MA recipients within the MA Program Fee Schedule limits if the following conditions are met:

*      *      *      *      *

   (2)  The attending physician certifies that the recipient requires care in the home and either of the following conditions exist:
   (i)  The only alternative to home health agency services is hospitalization. (Emphasis added.)

   Subsection (a)(2)(i) states ''hospitalization'' is the only alternative to HHA services. It is our understanding that all recipients of MA can qualify for home health care services if they are residing or are eligible to reside in nursing homes, rehabilitative facilities or mental institutions. Therefore, the term ''hospitalization'' should be replaced with a broader term that encompasses all institutional care settings.


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 05-330. Filed for public inspection February 18, 2005, 9:00 a.m.]

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