Home Health Compare – A Star Ratings Tool for Patient Outcomes and Satisfaction

Home Health Compare has been in place since 2003, measuring outcomes of patient care for an episode of home health. These outcomes came from the Home Health OASIS assessment. Then in the fall of 2009 the first surveys regarding the experience of care for patients were implemented to focus on patient satisfaction. The patient satisfaction portion is now in Home Health Compare – it is a compilation of survey results provided by “Medicare-certified” home health agencies located throughout the nation. The latest version of Home Health Compare was published on July 16, 2016 for the data gathered from January 2015 through December 2015. This information is updated quarterly on the Home Health Compare website maintained by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Star Rating System

The Star Rating system has now been initiated from the data CMS has gathered for patient outcomes and satisfaction! In addition to identifying how a particular agency is performing and comparing it to selected agencies, agencies in the state, and across the nation, now a star rating is given to each agency. Five being the best and 1 being the worst of agencies.

This rating system is key for agencies as anyone that goes to cms.gov and looks at home health compare can view their star rating. Although, it is a new rating system, already agencies that have seen referral sources have stop giving referrals to any agency that has under a certain Star Rating.

Agencies must improve selected patient outcomes and satisfaction questions in order to improve their Star Rating.

Information Included

Home Health Compare is a tool that can be used to choose the best Medicare-certified home health agency to meet a patient’s needs. Besides general identification information such as an agency’s name, address, and services, etc., the Home Health Compare includes key quality information such as:

  • Its Star Ratings, which summarize selected information about the performance of each home health agency compared to other agencies,
  • The frequency an agency used best practices when caring for its patients and whether patients improved in certain key areas of care, and
  • What other patients said about their recent home health experience.
  • How many patients improved in clinical areas, such as pain, shortness of breath and medication management, as well as activities of daily living as bathing, and ambulation.

If potential patients or their family/friend caregivers mention the Home Health Compare report as part of their evaluation process you should advise them that it is a critical point of reference, but other activities should be conducted in addition to it. Before making a decision about a home health agency, they should also gather other information on their own as well as speak with their health care provider about the Home Health Compare data.

Recent Results

According to the latest findings, the quality of home health care is improving yet patients are not necessarily impressed by their caregivers. Home health agencies are judged on the Five Star Rating System mentioned above. This system is based on nine quality measures. Per the recent Home Health Compare, the national average still remained at three stars. Below are the areas, in particular, where home health agencies still need to improve upon:

  • How often the home health team made sure that their patients have received a flu shot for the current flu season. – 69.4%
  • How often patients’ breathing improved. – 69.2%
  • How often patients got better at walking or moving around. – 66.4%
  • How often patients got better at getting in and out of bed. – 62.3%
  • How often patients got better at taking their drugs correctly by mouth. – 56.1%

On the other hand, home health agencies scored especially high on the areas below:

  • How often the home health team checked patients’ risk of falling. – 99.1%
  • How often the home health team checked patients for pain. – 98.9%
  • How often the home health team treated their patients’ pain. – 98.9%
  • How often the home health team checked patients for the risk of developing pressure sores (bed sores). – 98.5%
  • How often the home health team included treatments to prevent pressure sores (bed sores) in the plan of care. – 98.3%

Be an Outlier

5 Star Consultants can help ensure that your home health agency is an outlier, rising above the industry average. We are experts in assisting agencies to improve their Star Ratings! We have been helping agencies since Home Health Compare began in 2003 and continue to do so. By utilizing the CASPER Outcome reports from CMS, that include ALL outcomes captured from the OASIS assessment tool, we analyze the data, trend it, and identify areas in which the agency needs to improve. Then we develop action plans to assist the agency in this. We also review the agency’s CAHPS data (the actual patient satisfaction results from the agency’s vendor) and identify what areas to focus on in order to improve patient satisfaction, and help them do so. We have been extremely effective in assisting agencies to improve their outcomes and CAHPS scores over the years, and now in increasing their Star Ratings! Contact us today so we can help you implement processes that boost your ratings before the next Home Health Compare is published.

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Website

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