What Home Care Services are Allowed by Medicare?
Your Medicare Home Health Care business can provide services in the patient’s home
that includes a broad range of care and support services.
The services offered by Home Care Agencies can include, but are not limited to the following:
Home Health Care Patient Resources
The two most common resources for Home Health Care Patients are those who are recovering from a hospital stay or discharged form a rehabilitation facility. Most are disabled, chronically or terminally ill, and need medical, nursing, social, or therapeutic treatment and/or assistance with the essential activities of daily living.
Who can provide home care services?
Home Health Care services are typically provided by Medicare-certified home health care agencies; hospices; area agencies on aging, homemaker agencies; staff, and private duty nursing agencies. Durable medical equipment companies may be utilized to deliver products such as medical equipment and supplies.
Patients of all ages are cared for by home health care agencies. Patients’ ages range from infants to the elderly.
What type of patients need Home Health Care Services?
Patients who return home after surgery, and need care, supervision, or assistance. Patients who have health problems, but who want to maintain their independence in their homes with the support of a professional caregiver. Patients who have complex treatments that require the use of medical equipment and/or medication monitoring. Mothers and newborns, home from the hospital after 24 or 48 hours who are in need of further education, support, and clinical assessment skills of a trained nurse. Young adults, recovering from accidents or injuries, who can manage on their own – if they know an experienced healthcare worker will be there when needed. Mentally ill adults need support to remain in the mainstream of their community. Adults who want their parents to have quality care at home and millions of Americans with chronic diseases and disabilities, like Alzheimer’s, heart failure, kidney disease, or diabetes, who need careful monitoring but do not want or need to enter a nursing home or skilled care facility.
Selecting a Home Health Care Agency
Being prepared to answer the many questions that potential patients and patient resource will ask in their Home Health Care Agency selection process will give you an advantage in a very competitive market place.
Your patient is only interested in making the right choice. To win their confidence you must understand their needs and be able to provide these type of services.
Most of the questions that potential patients and patient resource will ask during your initial meeting are listed below.
- How many years has the agency been serving your community?
- Does the agency offer printed material describing its services and costs?
- Is the agency an approved Medicare provider?
- Is the agency accredited? In other words, has their quality of care been surveyed and approved by an outside accrediting organization (such as CHAP, JCAHO or Medicare)?
- Is the agency licensed by your state (if required)?
- Does the agency provide patients with a “Bill of Rights” that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the agency, patient, and caregiver alike?
- Is there a written plan of care for the patient’s treatment that the patient, physician and family participate in developing?
- Is this plan updated over the course of the treatment?
- Does the patient get a copy of the plan?
- Does the agency staff educate the family members on the care being administered to the patient and ways they can assist?
- Is the patient’s course of treatment documented, detailing the specific tasks to be carried out by each professional? (i.e. medicines, exercises, daily activities)
- Are supervisors assigned to oversee care to ensure that the patient receive quality treatment?
- Are agency caregivers available seven days a week?
- Does the agency have a nursing supervisor on call and available 24 hours a day?
- Does the agency ensure patient confidentiality? How?
- How are agency employees hired and trained?
- Does the agency require criminal record background checks and communicable disease screens for its employees?
- What is the procedure for resolving issues that may arise between the patient/family and home healthcare staff?
- Who can you call with questions or complaints regarding patient care, caretaker issues or general questions?
- What happens if a staff member fails to make a scheduled visit?
- What should the patient do in this situation?
- Who does the agency call if the agency caretaker cannot come when scheduled? (i.e. patient or family member)
- What is the agency caretaker required to do? (i.e. inform patient, reschedule)
- How does the agency handle billing? (i.e., will I be billed for services?)
- Will the agency provide a list of references?