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Home Health Agency Quality Data Now Available Nationwide

  • November 4th, 2003

The federal government has launched a database that will help Americans compare the quality of home health agencies.

The database compares the quality of Medicare-certified home health agencies in 11 categories, including whether patients showed improvement in their ability to get around and to meet their basic daily needs, such as dressing, bathing and taking oral medicines correctly. The database includes information collected between May 2002 and May 2003, and will be updated quarterly.

Home health care agencies send professionals to a patient's home to provide nursing care, physical and occupational therapy, speech language therapy and medical social services. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) hopes the data not only will allow consumers to make more informed choices of home health care providers, but that it will prompt providers to improve the quality of their care.

The consumer quality data, along with other information about individual home health agencies, are available at Medicare's consumer Web site, www.medicare.gov (then click on Home Health Compare), and through Medicare's help line, 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

In addition, CMS is publishing advertisements in 69 newspapers across the country on November 4 that will include a sampling of the quality data.

The national launch of the database follows the release of a preliminary version of the database in May that compared the quality of home health agencies in eight states -- Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin. See ElderLawAnswers news article, "Quality Data Now Available on Home Health Care Agencies," May 4, 2003.

A similar quality initiative was launched nationally last November for nursing homes. See ElderLawAnswers news article, "Report Cards on 17,000 Nursing Homes Released," Nov. 14, 2002.

For an ABC News article on the home health care quality database, go to: http://www.katu.com/news/story.asp?ID=62129

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Jeffrey Hammond

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Margaret A. O'Reilly, PC
Herndon, VA


Last Modified: 11/04/2003

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