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Home Health & Hospice

Information, education, and guidance on complex topics such as Medicare compliance, agency management, coding and documentation, billing, aide training, and clinical management to help home health and hospice clinical staff, coders, staff educators, and administrators break down confusing regulations into easy-to-understand processes and procedures.

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  • Homecare DIRECTION, April 2016

    The CMS hospice Conditions of Participation (CoP) provide some guidance regarding spiritual care, but defining what constitutes “good” spiritual care, and measuring it, can be difficult. It could get easier soon. In February, the Health Care Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) launched the first evidence-based quality indicators for professional healthcare chaplaincy.

  • What experience and training do you need to require of an aide for hire?

    As a Medicare-certified homecare agency, I historically hired aides that have completed the CNA/HHA course at a college of some sort. I am in need to hire, and it is difficult. I have an applicant that was working at an agency that closed. That agency was also Medicare-certified, but it appears this person had the CNA piece only and they did their own HHA competency. I checked with the state registry, and this person is on there, but there is no reference to HHA certification. She has taken courses relating to homecare for an agency she is currently working for, but what she sent appears to be primarily “orientation to homecare”-type things. I want to remain Medicare compliant and also want to hire this person. Are there competencies I can have her do, then send to the state to be included on the registry?
    In the past, I had chosen not to hire only aides that have the HHA piece, but now I am in a situation where I need to rethink that.

  • What is the best way to comply with the new Medicare regulation that took effect on August 11, 2015, which is the recertification attestation by MDs?

    What is the best way to comply with the new Medicare regulation that took effect on August 11, 2015, which is the recertification attestation by MDs?
    Can we just insert it in the recertification order? Or do we really need a separate form for the MDs to sign?
     

  • Is our agency required to provide dressing supplies for the ulcer care if we are not providing the care for the ulcer and it is not included in written plan of care?

    We are seeing a Medicare patient for monthly skilled nursing visits to change her Foley catheter. This patient has a private caregiver who provides all other care, including dressing changes for a chronic pressure ulcer. Is our agency required to provide dressing supplies for the ulcer care if we are not providing the care for the ulcer and it is not included in written plan of care?

  • Patient Survey rating has agencies seeing more stars on Home Health Compare

    In January, CMS posted the first Patient Survey Star Rating information on the Home Health Compare website. The new rating is based on data from the Medicare Home Health Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HHCAHPS) survey. Now is the time for home health agencies (HHA) to reach for more stars, according to industry experts. At the very least, agencies should keep an eye on it, because it's getting attention from other agencies, patients, and stakeholders.

  • 'Value' is the key word in CMS' Home Health Value-Based Purchasing program

    For years, CMS has discussed putting home health providers on a pay-for-performance system, but the logistics could never be worked out—until now. Starting this year, nine states are test-driving the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing (HHVBP) model, and all home health agencies (HHA) in these states will be required to participate.

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