Top Four Fall Priorities for Home Health Agencies

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Where is your home health agency’s focus this fall?
Smart home health agencies are focusing their efforts on housekeeping,  trying to shore up bottom lines by rectifying errors and inconsistencies that result in costly claims denials, and scheduling crucial training for all agency staff.
The four cornerstones for success in today’s home care market are  training, internal reviews and audits , preparation and streamlining operations, according to Home Health Solutions owner and president J’non Griffin.
If your agency isn’t working on at least one of these areas right now,  it’s losing ground in the effort to stay abreast of industry regulations and maintain clinical and financial success.

Training

Did you know home health agencies lose, on average, $200 to $300 per episode to coding and OASIS errors?
The money agencies spend on staff training is more than recouped in improved performance of its employees. Home Health Solutions provides convenient online training courses available through our online store for continuing education credits.
But we realize not every agency has the same training needs, so we also work with agencies to provide customized training and education.
Our goal is to provide the solutions your agency needs. Contact us today to talk about how we can help you.

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Self audits and review

The goblins and gremlins may not getcha  this Halloween season, but the glitches sure will.  Errors and inconsistencies are the hobgoblins of the home health field, resulting in costly claims denials , Survey issues and more.
Smart home health agencies are conducting self reviews and analysis on every level to find glitches before surveyors do.  But there’s only so much time in a day — and it’s often hard to be objective about self evaluation.
Our Mock Audits are the resource agencies need to experience firsthand the same thorough investigation a real Survey would bring, allowing agencies to clean up errors before there are costly consequences.  Click here for details about the value of a Mock Audit.

Preparation

When CMS suspended rollouts of pre-claim reviews after a disastrous initial experience in Illinois, home heath agencies breathed a collective sigh of relief.
But the reprieve is only temporary, and smart agencies are using the extra time to get prepared.
From Value-Based Purchasing to pre-claim reviews,  a new way of doing business is on the horizon for home health agencies, and meeting the new requirements is going to take a strong commitment to adequate preparation.
Here’s an easy and inexpensive first step for agencies looking ahead to pre-claim reviews:
Order our DIY Pre-Claim Review Preparation Kit for just $25.  It’s the compass your agency needs to get started on the road to preparation.

Outsourcing

Compliance is costly.
It takes time, manpower and relentless commitment on the part of home health agencies to stay up-to-date on current regulations — and it can’t come at the expense of an agency’s primary focus on patient care.
More and more agencies are determining that the most cost-effective means of doing business is to outsource all or some portion of operations.  And we’re not just talking about coding, OASIS or billing.  Some agencies need help with specific aspects such as developing POCs, handling ADRs or service specific probe reviews.
We can help.
No matter what your need is, we have the solution.
Give us a call today at 888-418-6970 and see what we can do for you.

The value of a Mock Audit: Why home health agencies need to do this


It may be the season for goblins and gremlins, but in an era of unprecedented regulatory scrutiny for the home health field, it’s the glitches home health agencies really need to worry about.
solutions-october-main-artErrors, oversights, and inconsistencies are the hobgoblins of the home health industry, carrying high price tags in the form of claims denials – or, even more frightening, fraud investigations and hefty fines.
And, to frame things in the spirit of the season, the  scary shadow of scrutiny is looming larger.
The future of home health is filled with quality improvement requirements that have not yet been fully determined to be either tricks or treats, but home health professionals know they’re coming, sooner or later. From value-based purchasing to pre-claim reviews and a proposed new Condition of Participation for Medicare, agencies are feeling the squeeze to reduce errors and improve performance.
There’s pressure to become faster as well as better. While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has temporarily delayed rollouts of pre-claim reviews to give agencies more time to prepare, home health experts agree, by and large, that the eventual implementation will force agencies to speed up as well as fine-tune their processes.

Let’s go glitch hunting

This season, Home Health Solutions owner and president J’non Griffin recommends agencies who are serious about success take a broom, figuratively speaking, to the cobwebs and shine a light into every dark nook and cranny, to ferret out the vulnerabilities in the operation and take corrective action.
“Smart agencies are doing everything they can right now to mitigate risk,” J’non says. “They’re honing in on the quality of their documentation, reviewing clinical notes made by nurses and therapists, prioritizing internal audits and quality reviews, and following up with extra training measures to address any shortfalls.”
Done well, self-assessment takes extra time, and for an agency already struggling under clinical and operational demands, creating the time for self-evaluation can seem like an overwhelming task. It’s hard to remain objective and easy to overlook crucial details that surveyors won’t miss.
Many agencies are finding the solution is to rely on outside firms to provide the thorough and objective assessment needed to identify compliance risks and provide a plan of remedy.

What does a Mock Audit entail?

From identifying expired items in an agency’s supply closet to revealing inaccuracies in its personnel files, a Mock Audit can be a comprehensive tool for determining exactly where an agency is headed for trouble.
It’s conducted exactly as surveyors would conduct the real thing; once scheduled, there’s no advance notice given to staff.
A team spends 1-3 days on site, depending on the size of the agency being audited, with some team members remaining in the office to audit charts and personnel files while other team members conduct home visits in all disciplines.
An exit interview concludes the process, and the findings are shared with the administrator along with recommendations for improvement so that a plan of correction may be implemented. Education tailored to address specific deficiencies can be arranged.
“A Mock Audit gives the agency staff an opportunity to practice for the real thing so that they will have an idea of the survey process, whether it be state Survey or advanced accreditation,” says Heather Calhoun, Director of Special Appeals and Project Management at HHS.
She recommends agencies schedule an annual Mock Audit to help control compliance risks.
“There’s no better way for an agency to determine areas of weakness and potential risk,” Heather says.
Jason Lewallen, Director of Sales and Marketing at HHS, agrees.
“With the rapid pace of regulatory change, agencies face an uphill battle when preparing for a survey,” Jason says. “This industry is fortunate that there are programs in place that can minimize the risk of penalty before the surveyor arrives.”
Findings can result in financial gain to agencies, because audits often identify specific areas of improper documentation that result in claims denials.
“Mock Audits offer agencies the opportunity to fix errors before the organization is negatively affected by claims denials as well as accreditation or state Survey,” Jason says.
The cost of the audit, like its duration, depends on the size of the agency and a few other variables.  Give HHS a call today to discuss how a Mock Audit can help shore up your operation, and put your agency on the road to success this fall.