Home Health & Hospice

Inside the CoP: Patient rights standards

Homecare Insider, March 4, 2013

Throughout the process of providing services for homecare patients, the home health agency (HHA) must actively promote and protect patient rights, as required by the Medicare Conditions of Participation (CoP) §484.10.

There are six standards that guide care delivery under §484.10:

  1. The HHA must provide the patient with a written notice of his or her rights. This must be done in advance of furnishing care to the patient or during the initial evaluation visit before the start of treatment. The HHA must also maintain documentation showing that this requirement was met.
  2. The patient has a right to exercise his or her rights as a patient. If the patient is judged incompetent, the patient’s family or guardian may exercise the patient’s rights. The patient has the right to have his or her property treated with respect. The patient has the right to voice complaints about his or her treatment or care, including any lack of respect demonstrated by caregivers, and cannot be discriminated against or punished for doing so. The HHA must investigate any patient complaints and resolve them.
  3. The patient has the right to be informed of and participate in the planning of care and treatment. The patient must be told, in advance, about any care that is being furnished or any changes in that care. The HHA must have policies and procedures in place regarding advance directives (i.e., a living will or other written directive in which the patient states his or her wishes regarding medical treatment in the event of mental incompetency or an inability to communicate), and must inform the patient of these policies and procedures, including state law regarding advance directives.
  4. The patient has the right to confidentiality of his or her clinical records, and the HHA must inform the patient of its policy regarding disclosure of this information.
  5. The patient has the right to be advised, before care is started, of who will be paying for the services and any charges the patient may have to pay for. If that information changes, the patient must receive 30 days’ notice of the upcoming changes.
  6. The patient has the right to be advised of the toll-free HHA hotline maintained by the state. The HHA must give the patient the hotline’s phone number and hours of operation, and let the patient know that the purpose of the hotline is to receive complaints or questions about HHAs.

This is an excerpt from the February issue of Beacon Health’s flagship newsletter Homecare Direction. Learn more about how to sign up for this newsletter here.