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Seniors Get New Help to Compare Services of Home Health Care Agencies

CMS adds report on patient experiences with Medicare-certified home health care agencies to Home Health Compare

April 19, 2012 - Senior citizens just got another helpful informational tool from Medicare. Home Health Compare, an online tool for checking the performance of home health care agencies, has added survey results on what patients say about the care they have received from these agencies.

Results from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) national survey that asks patients about their experiences with Medicare-certified home health agencies are now available on the agency’s Quality Care Finder ( website.

It is another helpful decision-making aide for seniors or their caregivers needing to make decisions about their care providers. It is a part of the growing number of services at Medicare’s Quality Care Finder website.


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The new tool offering prospective patients, their families and caregivers the chance to compare home health agencies by looking at patient survey results was announced today by Marilyn Travenner, CMS Acting Administrator.

“Now there’s an objective and meaningful way to compare other patients’ actual experiences with home health agencies and services - the Home Health Care Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HHCAHPS) Survey – and we’ve just released the first set of survey results on our Home Health Compare page,” she said.

“People with Medicare that are getting home health services fill out this short survey that asks about the care they got from the home health agency in the last 2 months, how they’d rate the care, and how strongly they’d recommend that agency.

“The initial survey results cover the period from October 2010 to September 2011. Most people who got home health care from Medicare-certified home health agencies during that time said they got the care they needed.

“In fact:

   ● 84% of patients gave their home health agency a rating of 9 or 10 on a scale from 0 (lowest) to 10 (highest).

   ● 80% of patients said “yes, they would definitely recommend the home health agency to friends.”

   ● 87% of patients said their home health team provided care in a professional way.

   ● 86% said their home health team communicated well with them.

   ● 83% said their home health team discussed medicines, pain, and home safety.

“By making the results public, we help keep home health agencies openly accountable and continuously working to improve their quality of care.”

Above is a sample of using the Home Health Compare tool to look at information in the national patient survey. Here we compare three agencies and their results are automatically compared with national and state (Tx) averages

This is a sample of comparing three agencies using the Quality of Patient Care scores.

The Home Health Care Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HHCAHPS) Survey, which will be updated every four months with new survey data, will complement the clinical measures already available on the agency’s “Home Health Compare” website.

The HHCAHPS is a survey that collects feedback on topics that patients have identified as important to them in determining which home health agencies provide high-quality care. For example, the survey asks patients about the care they received from their home health agency, including such topics as overall care; provider communication skills; whether care was provided in a courteous and respectful way; and whether the agency discussed medicines, pain, and home safety.

A prospective patient or caregiver will be able to review and compare feedback from other patients about Medicare-certified home health agencies’ care of patients, communication between providers and patients, as well as the specific care issues identified on the survey. Ratings include an overall rating of home health care and a patient’s willingness to recommend the agency to someone else.

The survey results are designed to create incentives for home health agencies to improve quality of care, as well as to give patients additional information so they are aware of the types of care they will receive from a particular agency. Additionally, public reporting enhances accountability in health care by increasing transparency.

For more information on the survey, visit

To access the survey data, visit the Quality Care Finder tool in and click on Home Health Compare at


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