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Medicare begins rating home health agencies

Written by Diane Archer

Much like surgeons, home health agencies are not created equal. To help people better compare Medicare-certified home health agencies, Medicare just launched Home Health Compare. It’s a web site that helps you see some quality differences among home health agencies in your community rates.

There are a lot of factors that go into whether a home health agency is good, bad or great. So, you should talk to your doctor and other people you know and trust about home health agencies in your area as well as look at Home Health Compare. The Informed Patient Institute provides good information about health care quality, patient safety and health care costs as well as the usefulness of report cards.

Right now, Medicare is rating agencies for the quality of their patient care based on nine of 27 process and outcomes measures.

  • Process measures include how quickly the patient received needed care, whether the patient got a needed flu shot and whether the agency educated the patient about his or her medications.
  • Outcomes measures include whether the patient got better at walking, bathing, and getting into and out of bed, as well as whether the patient experienced less pain and shortness of breath.

Some home health agencies may not offer the full range of Medicare-covered services you need. On Home Health Compare, you can find out which services different agencies provide, including nursing care, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, social services, home health aide services.

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