- » Home Health & Hospice Main Page
Beacon Institute Resources
- CMS updates Conditions of Participation for HHAs
For the first time in some twenty years, CMS has updated its Conditions of Participation (CoP) for home health agencies, citing a desire to improve the quality of services provided to its five million beneficiaries who receive home health services from about 12,600 agencies across the country.
CMS said the changes, announced on January 9,are also aimed at strengthening patient rights.
“Our priority is to ensure that Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries who receive health services at home get the highest level of patient-centered care from home health agencies,” said Kate Goodrich, MD, CMS chief medical officer and director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality for CMS in a written release. “Today’s announcement is the first update in many years to Medicare and Medicaid home health agency rules and reflects current best practices for in-home care, based on recommendations from stakeholders and medical evidence.”
- Help new nurses by establishing a strong onboarding program
Hiring nurses is a challenge for any organization, including home health agencies. You want good candidates to stay so you don’t have to struggle through the hiring process again and again. You also want to make sure your new nurses know how to do their job and will be high-quality representatives for your organization.
- Tip: Teach your nurses prioritization for administrative tasks
Nurses new to home health struggle with the completion of documentation related to patient care. Helping nurses understand the documentation system (either electronic or paper) is essential to success. Supports must be in place for the nurse to ask questions to obtain clarification of the medical record system. Nurses need to have guidance and support regarding completion of documentation in a timely and efficient manner. One method is to teach and reinforce with nurses how to complete documentation in the patient home at the end of the visit and not wait until the end of the day.
- MedPAC seeks 5% cut in new vote
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has submitted a vote that recommends an additional five percent cut in the next annual Medicare payment rates for home health agencies. Legislative action would need to be taken to put this recommendation into effect.
- Ask the expert: Are home health agencies putting enough focus on quality and performance improvement?
In the new year, it’s clear with new finalized Conditions of Participation that CMS will continue its focus on quality and performance improvement, especially with the advent of the new star ratings. But it’s difficult to achieve a high star rating without having an organizationwide performance improvement and quality plan. Facilities must not only focus on clinical issues, but also organizational efficiency to ensure they’re meeting identified goals.
Shifting from a reactive approach to a formalized and proactive quality and performance initiative takes time and money. So, we wondered, are home health agencies doing enough in these areas? We asked Kelea Nardini, RN, MSN, director of Homecare for Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, Colorado, to weigh in on where the industry stands—and what it can do to improve. Below is a summary of our questions and her responses.
- What is exactly is the role of preceptors in home health? How can creating this role help with new nurse orientation?
As new hires transition through the orientation process, their assigned preceptors will be key to the application of critical thinking in the clinical practice area. Regardless of experience level, new hires will look to their preceptors as role models for critical-thinking skills.