Sunday, February 17, 2008

Clarifying "Home Care" terminology

Here's an excerpt from an article recently published on the Oklahoman newspaper web site:

By Gary A. Brown
Vintage Visions

To most people, the terms "home care” and "home health care” are synonymous. Yet, in reality, they are different services addressing different needs and often provided by different agencies.This understandable confusion is compounded when seniors look for services in the Yellow Pages. "Home Care” and "Home Health” are both listed under "Home Health Services.”

Here's an easy way to remember the difference: Home health is medically oriented, and home care is nonmedical and functionally oriented.

Unfortunately, Mr. Brown himself is perpetuating the terminology problem. He's right about home health. However, "Home Care" means more than non-medical home care. By our definition, "Home Care" includes a range of services for patients and clients in their homes, including "home health," Hospice, Home Medical Equipment, Home Infusion, and Non-medical or Private Duty Home Care.

It seems like the non-medical home care sector is trying to own the term, "Home Care." But they do so without a full understanding of our industry.

What do you think? What terms do you use? How can we clarify this for our patients, clients, physicians, and referral sources?

Make your comment below:

PA Home Care Associatin Seeks Increase in State Budget

The Pennsylvania Homecare Association is seeking a $10 million increase in the state's 2008-09 budget allocation to increase the Medicaid reimbursement to $100 per visit for skilled services. The increase will help offset the cost of nursing care, rising gasoline prices, and workers' compensation premiums for home health agencies. Last year alone, Pennsylvania home health agencies traveled more than 210 million miles and spent an additional $6.7 million in 2007 to help cover the rising gasoline costs.

"A raise in the reimbursement rate will help us bring in more nurses, and also provide more people with the comfort of being treated in their own home," said Vicki Hoak, Pennsylvania Homecare Association executive director. "People who use home health care have a lower readmission rate to the hospital, and it costs less to provide home health care than to have a person remain in an inpatient facility."

What is your state home care association doing to help you increase reimbursement for Medicaid patients? Are you actively involved with your association? If not, it's time to get involved.

Fire Destroys Home Care Office - Are you Ready for DIsaster?

The fire that devastated the Antietam Village Shopping Center in Frederick, Maryland nearly one year ago destroyed more than building materials.

For Adla Simms, a manager at Maxim Healthcare Services, the blaze took medical records.

"We even had to do all the employees screenings again, starting from scratch," she said. "We lost the medical records for more than 30 home care patients, as well as all the other documents," she said.

The 100 or so employees at the company had to start from application through background checks and more just to get back to work, she said.

What about you?

Are you ready for a disaster in your home health care office? How quickly can you put your disaster plan into action?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Connecticut Home Health and Hospice Associations Merge

WALLINGFORD--The Connecticut Association for Home Care and the Connecticut Council for Hospice and Palliative Care have merged to create a new organization called the Connecticut Association for Home Care and Hospice (CAHCH).

"This new organizational structure creates a forum for advancing mutually beneficial ideas, not to mention the increased efficiencies in serving members," said Brian D. Ellsworth, president and chief exectutive officer of CAHCH. This merger also reinforces the continuum of care that exists in Connecticut."

The two groups share in the prevention of avoidable hospitalization and institutional placement; maximized patient autonomy and choice, inclusion of loved ones in care for the patient, and participation with third party programs, such as Medicare, Medicaide, private insurance and Veterans Administration.

CACH's members include home health agencies, hospices, homemaker companion agencies and other providers of home care and services. CAHCH supports its members in the delivery of quality and accessible home care and hospice services.