Home Health Quality Initiative

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Home Health Services Home health is a covered service under the Part A Medicare benefit. It consists of part-time, medically necessary skilled care (nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language therapy) that is ordered by a physician.

In 2010, there were over 10,800 Medicare certified home health agencies throughout the United States. In 2010, 3,446,057 beneficiaries were served, and 122,578,603 visits made.

Home Health Quality Goals

Quality health care for people with Medicare is a high priority for the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

CMS has adopted the mission of The Institute of Medicine (IOM) which has defined quality as having the following properties or domains:

Effectiveness Relates to providing care processes and achieving outcomes as supported by scientific evidence.

Efficiency Relates to maximizing the quality of a comparable unit of health care delivered or unit of health benefit achieved for a given unit of health care resources used.

Equity Relates to providing health care of equal quality to those who may differ in personal characteristics other than their clinical condition or preferences for care.

Patient Centeredness Relates to meeting patients’ needs and preferences and providing education and support.

Safety Relates to actual or potential bodily harm.

Timeliness Relates to obtaining needed care while minimizing delays.

Reporting Home Health Quality using OASIS Data

The instrument/data collection tool used to collect and report performance data by home health agencies is called the Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS). Since 1999, CMS has required Medicare-certified home health agencies to collect and transmit OASIS data for all adult patients whose care is reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid with the exception of patients receiving pre- or postnatal services only. OASIS data are used for multiple purposes including calculating several types of quality reports which are provided to home health agencies to help guide quality and performance improvement efforts.

Beginning in January 2010, home health agencies have been required to collect a revised version of the OASIS data set (OASIS-C). OASIS-C includes data items supporting measurement of rates for use of specific evidence-based care processes. From a national policy perspective, CMS anticipates that these process measures will promote the use of best practices across the home health industry.

Quality Reporting on the Home Health Compare Website

Since fall 2003, CMS has posted a subset of OASIS-based quality performance information on the Medicare.gov website “Home Health Compare” (see link below). These publicly-reported measures include outcome measures which indicate how well home health agencies assist their patients in regaining or maintaining their ability to function and process measures which evaluate the rate of home health agency use of specific evidence-based processes of care.

Lists of all home health quality measures and designation of which are publicly reported can be found on the Quality Measures page accessed from the list on the left of this page.

  • Page last Modified: 04/05/2012 11:51 AM
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