Medicare Announces Inclusion of Patient Survey Data in Home Health Compare Tool

Home Health Agency Intake Interview - Medicare's Home Health Compare Tool will now include Patient Survey Data on Home Health Care AgenciesThe U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on April 19 that the results of its ongoing survey of patients regarding their experiences with and ratings of Medicare-certified home health agencies, will now be available to consumers as part of Medicare’s online Quality Care Finder, Home Health Compare tool.

The Medicare Quality Care Finder is an online tool to help consumers find and evaluate multiple different types of care resources, and includes a Home Health Compare tool, which helps consumers find, compare and evaluate Medicare-certified home health care agencies in their areas.

A prospective patient or caregiver using the tool, will now “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 [Home Health Care Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HHCAHPS)] Survey,” which is being conducted by Medicare for all Medicare-certified home health care agencies, and will be updated every four months with new survey data, CMS announced in a press release issued on April 19, 2012.

The survey data included in the Medicare Compare tool will include patient ratings for each home health care agency, including an overall rating of the home health care provided and the patient’s willingness to recommend the agency to someone else, according to the CMS release.

“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,” CMS said in its news release.

“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,” CMS explained.

The CMS Press Release

Following is the press release issued by CMS on April 19, 2012, in its entirety:

For Immediate Release:                                                               Contact: CMS Media Affairs

April 19, 2012                                                                                                        202-690-6145

Consumers can now compare results from home health agencies’ patient surveys

CMS to publicly report on consumer experiences with Medicare-certified home health 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 (www.medicare.gov/quality-care-finder) website.

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

“CMS is doing all it can to help consumers make better, educated choices, and help them find the home health agency that best meets their needs,” Acting Administrator Tavenner said.  “The survey is the first national assessment tool for collecting information on patient experience and will enable valid comparisons among all home health agencies.”

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 HomeHealthCahps.org.

To access the survey data, visit the Quality Care Finder tool in Medicare.gov and click on Home Health Compare at http://www.medicare.gov/quality-care-finder/index.html.

More Information

For more information about home health care, see the HelpingYouCare™ resource page on Information About Home Health Care.

For more tools to help you find home health care providers and other senior care resources, see CareHelpFinder™, the HelpingYouCare™ senior-care resource locator tools, which help you:

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Copyright © 2012 Care-Help LLC, publisher of HelpingYouCare™. All rights reserved.

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