Home Health & Hospice

Good Advice Starts with a Strong Regulatory Foundation

Homecare Insider, May 11, 2009

Advice: an opinion or recommendation offered as a guide to action, conduct.

Dr. Phil and Dear Abby are famous givers of advice on relationships. Steve Forbes and Suzy Orman are two of the many who advise on finances. And then, there is the cast of hundreds who provide advice on homecare regulations and compliance.

That cast, of course, includes the Beacon Insistute. For the last 10 years, the Institute has been providing guidance on compliance issues for Medicare-certified home health agencies. In response, we get feedback from Beacon Institute members, asking why we said that or the source behind it. In many cases, we also get questions about other people’s advice. A director attends a seminar and hears something that doesn’t make sense. She sends her concern to us. Or, an intermediary answers a question and the administrator questions the validity.

The one thing that separates the Beacon Institute from many of the other advice-givers in homecare is this: connection to the source. In some cases, it is a rule or interpretation that forms the basis of the advice. Unfortunately, because the rules are not specific or able to address every situation, many questions do not connect directly to a regulatory source.

Then it’s necessary to build a bridge from a credible source to the answer. Compliance in homecare is not a "one size fits all." A strong regulatory foundation is a must.

Because everyone can’t know everything, they need help and seek advice. Misleading, bad, or downright wrong advice can create big problems for an agency? What can you do to protect yourself and ensure that you act only on good advice?

• Always ask the advisor for a source. Then check it out. If still unclear, ask more questions, dig deeper for information.

• Be wary of advice that is too brief. There are so many "ya buts" in home health care, it often takes more words to explain a correct approach.

• Follow the course that makes the most sense for you. And, be prepared to explain or defend if necessary.

• When the guidance is obviously flawed, consider the advice of G. K. Chesterton, an English critic and poet. He would listen respectfully "and then go away and do the exact opposite."

Ten years and the Beacon Institute is going strong, helping hundreds of homecare providers to survive today’s challenges. Learn more about how this membership oragnization can help your agency — Click Here.