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Can You Rate High in Home Health Star Rating Using Right Homecare Software?

New York -- September 12, 2017

Homecare software

New CMS patient satisfaction ratings is a part of its bigger effort to increase healthcare transparency.

They are determined by patients’ answers on the Home Health Care Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Performance Score (HHCAHPS) Survey.

Two Types of Star Ratings

1.The Quality of Patient Care Star Rating is based on OASIS assessments and Medicare claims data.

2.Patient Survey Star Ratings. Stakeholders proposed that the patient experience of care measures, based on the HHCAHPS survey data, be reflected in the star ratings.

As per In the vast majority of cases, the star ratings awarded for Patient Satisfaction do not coincide with the ratings awarded for Quality of Care. In general, most agencies received higher Patient Satisfaction ratings than Quality of Care ratings — except when it came to 5-star agencies.

Of the 286 agencies that received five-star quality ratings, only 31 also received 5 stars in Patient Satisfaction. These discrepancies have the potential to create confusion among consumers, but they also highlight an ongoing problem in the delivery of home health care: a lack of standardization in reporting on measures. Not surprisingly these top agencies were the ones who relied on home care software.

How It’s Measured

The 9 measures selected based on these criteria are:

Process Measures:

1. Timely Initiation of Care
2. Drug Education on all Medications Provided to Patient/Caregiver
3. Influenza Immunization Received for Current Flu Season

Outcome measures:

4. Improvement in Ambulation
5. Improvement in Bed Transferring
6. Improvement in Bathing
7. Improvement in Pain Interfering With Activity
8. Improvement in Shortness of Breath
9. Acute Care Hospitalization

It all comes down to very basic customer service and being organized.

Top Ten Complains

As per Home Care Pulse the top ten complains are:

1. Confusion in Communication Due to Multiple Caregivers for One Person

Clients like having the stability of one caregiver and one point of contact. Having a “point man” ensures responsibility is taken and assures clients that nothing will be lost in communication.

2. Caregivers Lack of Punctuality

Home care clients commonly report that caregivers come late or leave early. Some clients are on a strict schedule, and having a caregiver show up late means they could be left unattended. It can be a huge inconvenience for family members who have to stay longer while missing out on those extra 10-20 minutes they’re paying for.

3. Quality of Care is Inconsistent

Some caregivers are better at their job than others, but it can be really frustrating for a client when one caregiver is exceptional, then the next performs only basic tasks. Read our posts on recruiting, retaining and training quality caregivers to ensure your level of care is always reliable.

4. Caregivers Texting/Calling/Surfing the Web

Clients get really irritated when caregivers are on the clock and wasting time on their phones, neglecting the client. Enforce strict rules about cell phone usage, set a standard penalty for those who break the rules, and hold your caregivers accountable.

5. Lack of Caregiver Training

Clients are sometimes upset when caregivers can’t perform basic cooking and cleaning requests. One woman we interviewed said when she asked her caregiver for a grilled cheese sandwich, the young woman stuck cheese on a piece of bread then dropped it in the toaster, creating a huge mess. Some caregivers may benefit from basic cooking instructions or recipes.

6. Cultural Differences/Language Barriers

Many cultures have different standards for cooking and hygiene. If you hire someone from another country, teach them about our customs and basic words in English before they start working. Language barriers and cleanliness differences can be very troubling and frustrating for your clients.

7. No Discounted Rates for 12+ Hour Shifts

Clients who have a greater need for help will pay much more than those with only basic help needed.  If your budget allows, try to take off a dollar or two for those long visits. This could be more difficult with the recent changes to caregiver exemptions, but clients will appreciate whatever effort you can make.

8. Pay Schedule is Inconvenient

Some companies send out a weekly bill, but some clients prefer monthly billing since it’s easier to keeping track of payments. Keep clients in mind when planning your billing schedule.

9.Being charged time and a half

Clients complain of being charged time and a half on holidays, which equals to about $30/hour. They feel that’s too steep and care shouldn’t cost that much. If you’re able to make adjustments, do so. At the very least, provide information for clients, so they understand why this policy is in place.

10. Not Being Told When Caregivers Call in Sick

It’s not uncommon for caregivers to call in sick to the office, but the office doesn’t call the clients or send a replacement. This is a communication problem that could cause astronomical problems for your clients and your home care business.


Bottom Line

It all comes down to very basic customer service and being organized.  Your agency needs to focus on implementing standardized data measures, as well as developing more comprehensive plans that align with patient goals, needs, and preferences and improving follow-up with patients by deploying the right management with a right homecare software. By doing that, you’ll be positioning your home care agency to comply with the standards imposed by IMPACT — and improve your quality ratings in the process.


Carecenta, Inc.  2016