Medicare & Medicaid News for Senior Citizens

Medicare & Medicaid News

Home health agencies latest to be rated by seniors on CMS site

See links to all five Medicare-Medicaid ratings of health services

five gold starsFeb. 1, 2016 – Senior citizens have long been outspoken when asked about how they want to spend their final years. They want to stay in their homes! For a number of reasons, however, the industry needed to make this possible – a quality system of Medicare-Medicaid supported agencies to provide the care – was slow to develop. Now it is up and rolling and the first ratings of their services by patients has been released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services.

The star ratings – one through five – can be found at Home Health Compare. The star ratings evaluate patients’ experiences with home health agencies.

It has been assigned the clumsy name of Home Health Care Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HHCAHPS) Survey.

The HHCAHPS Survey star ratings report patients’ experiences of care ranging from one star to five stars using data from patients (or the family or friends of patients) that have been treated by the agency. Five stars is the highest rating and reflects the best patient experience. There are over 11,000 agencies with data on Home Health Compare, and about 6,000 of them now have patient care experience star ratings.

 

Previously, patients could select multiple agencies at a time on Home Health Compare to compare agency performance on individual HHCAHPS items, such as how often the home health team delivered care in a professional way.

In addition, patients have also had access to summary Quality of Patient Care star ratings for each agency. These star ratings summarize home health agencies’ performance on nine quality measures that indicate how well they assist their patients in regaining or maintaining important functional abilities and how frequently they adhere to evidence-based processes of care.

Now, patients and their family members can go one step further: they can compare information on patients’ experiences of home health care at these agencies through the HHCAHPS Survey star ratings.

Now, an individual is able to view the following five HHCAHPS Survey star ratings for each home health agency listed on the website:

         Care of Patients

         Communication Between Providers and Patients

         Specific Care Issues

         Overall Rating of Care Provided by the Home Health Agency

         Survey Summary star rating

Some home health agencies do not have enough data right now to calculate and display star ratings. However, CMS continually updates Home Health Compare, and all of its Compare websites, so those home health agencies that do not currently have patient experience star ratings may have star ratings in the future.

“Having the HHCAHPS Survey star ratings on Home Health Compare helps patients and their families make more informed health care decisions and encourages home health agencies to strive for higher levels of quality and patient experience,” said CMS Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway, M.D., MSc.

“We hope patients and their families find this information helpful and visit our other provider comparison websites.”

The CMS news release says, “This announcement on Home Health Compare is the latest example of how CMS is committed to transparency and helping patients and their family members make informed health care decisions through an initiative to simplify the quality of care information across all CMS Compare websites.

“It also supports the larger effort across the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to build a health care system that delivers better care, spends health care dollars more wisely, and results in healthier people.”

Below are links to the CMS websites for the available “Compare” surveys.

         Nursing Home Compare

         Physician Compare

         Dialysis Compare

         Hospital Compare

         Home Health Compare

>> Fact sheet with more on information on today’s announcement.

>> More information about the HHCAHPS Survey, visit the official HHCAHPS Web site.,

 

Related Medicare & Medicaid News - Senior Journal Archives

Medicare releases use, payment data for Home Health Agencies

Information on home health agencies costs and services - Jan. 7, 2016

Medicare Physician Compare and Hospital Compare updated

Updates provide more for health care professionals and group practices - Dec. 10, 2015

More at Medicare & Medicaid Section Page

 

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