A home care agency provides personal support services to patients in the comfort of their homes. These services may include assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), medical care, or companionship and socialization. They also provide transportation to appointments and errands.
The role of a home care agency is evolving to accommodate the changing health care environment and to support the aging population in the United States. Medicare skilled home health agencies, in particular, are increasingly needed to manage the continuum of care and to take on a greater risk-bearing role.
They are becoming a linchpin in the transition to value-based care visit vitality home care agency Walsall Website because they are well-positioned to cover a broad range of patients and to provide a higher level of care and a longer duration of care for some patients than is possible within the hospital system.
New Capabilities and Partnering to Promote Value-Based Care
As the Medicare home health system transitions from payment through fee-for-service to payment based on value, home health agencies will need to develop new capabilities to meet these changes. They will need to reshape their business models, develop new technologies, and engage in more collaborative relationships with upstream referral partners.
These new capabilities and partnerships will improve patient experience and outcomes, reduce readmissions, and reduce costs. They will also help to control fraud and abuse in the industry by reining in home care agencies that are delivering care in excess of what is needed.
New Roles for Medicare Home Health Agencies
To better understand the future role of Medicare home health agencies, we interviewed providers and other stakeholders representing patients and caregivers to explore their perspectives on the Medicare home health system and the changing healthcare environment. They identified four pillars of characteristics and three critical roles that home health agencies would need to fulfill in order to fully participate in the Medicare program, as depicted in Figure 6.
The first pillar is a strong focus on patient experience and engagement. This pillar includes the agency’s ability to deliver excellent care, engage with patients and their families, provide timely feedback and communication about the patient’s progress, and work with other providers to ensure that all aspects of the home health episode are delivered to high standards.
Another pillar is the agency’s commitment to quality and safety. This pillar includes the ability to conduct thorough background checks on employees, and adhere to strict standards in the delivery of care.
Finally, the agency’s leadership and management team must be committed to promoting value-based care. This pillar includes the ability to communicate effectively and sensitively, to manage financial performance, and to establish effective internal controls.
The agency’s ability to meet these requirements will be an important determinant of whether it can thrive in a changing health care environment. It will be necessary to invest in the right people, training and equipment to ensure that the agency can be successful in meeting these new demands.
The agency must also be able to provide care to patients across multiple settings and over a larger geography, if possible. In addition, the agency must be able to support patients with higher acuity and to prevent readmissions.