Home Health & Hospice

Homecare Op-Ed: A Good Thing Coming to an End

Homecare Insider, September 27, 2010

On March 17, 1987, Richard and I started Beacon Health.  We had an idea for one product, the Beacon Guide to Medicare Documentation.  Since the publication of that manual, Beacon Health has delivered hundreds of newsletter issues, dozens of video educational programs, and many manuals, white papers, and books.  On September 30, we will retire from Beacon Health.  In honor of that occasion, we’ve put together a top-seven list of our 23 years.

CMS’ best acronym:  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) must have a subcommittee to develop acronyms like SCIC, HAVEN, ROVER, CERT, RAC, and MAC.  My favorite is the newest one, PECOS (Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System).  This is also a river in Texas pronounced, “pay-cuss.”  How fitting is that.  Providers and physicians alike are cussing about pay.

CMS’ worst acronym:  OASIS (Outcome and Assessment Information Set) is supposed to be a haven, a retreat; instead those who deal with it sometimes feel ready for an asylum.

Most devastating event:  It was the Interim Payment System (IPS) of 1997.  IPS created widespread devastation with thousands of agencies going out of business, even more on extended repayment plans, and the loss of services for too many patients.

Most prophetic comment:  It was not ours but a seminar participant’s response to a group discussion.  Some were questioning the choice of topics.  “We’ve never had a problem with that.”  One nurse jumped up and said, “Just because we never had a problem doesn’t mean we won’t in the future.”  This happened in 1997, the year Operation Restore Trust arrived on the scene and all kinds of new problems came into being.

Best advice:  For many years, the best advice was “Know the rules.”  Now it’s, “Let others know you know the rules.”  So many non-rules, such as the OASIS-C process measures, burden providers.  Agencies don’t have to do all this and they need to let others know what they must and do not have to do. 

Best part of our jobs:  Without a doubt that’s the seminars.  They could be challenging and grueling but they got us together with our customers.  The interaction and feedback helped keep us on the right track. 

Proudest accomplishment:  That would have to be the quality and consistency of the advice.  Over the last year, we have heard from so many who “grew up” with Beacon Health.  What they learned at their first seminar holds true today and they have continued to build on that.  They are surviving and thriving.  Because they value education, we know they can continue to do that in the future.

Loyal Beacon Institute members, subscribers, customers, and friends – here’s wishing you brighter outcomes in home health care.