Ratings wars aren’t just for TV anymore. Watch Medicare Home Health for a while and you will quickly see a ratings war of a different sort – one that pits your agency against another for patients and families.

The Medicare Home Health Compare website allows patients and families to search for home health agencies in their area. They are able to view how an agency compares against other agencies in their community, their state and the nation.  These results are garnered from your OASIS forms and patient surveys. Both of these markers can be influenced by the caliber of care delivered by your home health clinicians.

OASIS admission and discharge forms are based on a team effort. Many times the patient has been visited by multiple home health professionals from your agency. After the Admission document is completed, each home health clinician clarifies the doctor’s orders and prepares the patient’s plan of care. The plan of care is communicated to all team members caring for that patient.  This makes documentation and communication skills critical to ensuring excellent coordination of care and ultimately a successful discharge. Coordinate well and you’re not only providing quality care but you’ll likely be looking at a great Medicare score.

Patient survey results (filled out by the patients) are also quite important. While OASIS results are comprehensive, patient surveys consist of only five questions. The scores are posted online next to state and national scores.

How do home health agencies improve these scores?  Education. Take a hard look at your team and see where your weaknesses lay. How good is everyone at transition of care?  Is there an issue with customer service? Setting expectations? Utilizing best practices? Accurate documentation of patient care provided?

Education can take your staff from good to great. Great teams have better patient outcomes, more recommendations from patients and better OASIS scores  reported by Medicare.

Check out how you compare at:

http://www.medicare.gov/homehealthcompare/