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Authoritative Report on Home Health Care Experiences Released by Press Ganey

Posted Oct 16 2009 10:03pm
Guidance, Best Practices Highlighted as CMS-mandated Home Health Agency Satisfaction Reporting Set to Begin

Home health care providers serve many chronically ill patients in the country, and a new report released today finds an upward trend in overall home care patient satisfaction. Press Ganey Associates, Inc., the leading provider of healthcare improvement solutions, has announced the results of the annual 2009 Home Care Pulse Report: Patient Perspectives on American Health Care. While patient satisfaction remains high, lower ratings for administrative procedures were reported, highlighting an important area of improvement for these organizations as they are about to begin reporting satisfaction data to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) through a required, approved vendor, such as Press Ganey.

"Press Ganey has worked with home care agencies on patient satisfaction and improvement for years and while patient satisfaction within the industry is slowly improving, there are many challenges on the horizon," says Lisa Cone-Swartz, vice president of home care at Press Ganey Associates. "Home care agencies have no choice but to focus on continuous improvement in light of proposed health care reform that may include home care and hospice in pay-for-performance, also known as value-based purchasing."

More than 105,000 patients treated by almost 900 agencies nationwide provided perspectives on their care for the annual Home Care Pulse Report. Additional findings from the 2009 report include:
  • Occupational therapists surpassed nurses as the highest-rated home care provider.
  • Satisfaction levels peak in the first 3 months of using home care and are at the lowest levels beyond 12 months of care.
  • Patients with Medicaid and private pay arrangements were less satisfied, which could directly impact the profitability of the home care agency if reform laws are passed.
  • Patients are notably more satisfied when their nurses visited in the morning, between 6:00-10:00 a.m., versus in the afternoon, especially after 4:00 p.m.
Home care in the U.S. includes 17,000 providers caring for nearly eight million people with acute illness, long-term health conditions, permanent disability or terminal illnesses. The annual cost of these services is $60 billion. Continuous improvement is vital as competition and quality initiatives play a larger role in home care. The 2009 Home Care Pulse Report offers key findings and insights for home care agencies, including:
  • Improve the care experience for longer-term (12 month+) patients. Patients who received services for the shortest amount of time (0-3 months) tended to be more satisfied than long-term patients.
  • Improve staff responsiveness and communication. Patients seek information about their rights, want notification of schedule changes, and expect efficient and timely resolution to complaints.
  • Improve billing and scheduling processes, which received the lowest satisfaction rating.
"Home care providers who work to continually improve the patients experience find strong correlations with favorable clinical outcomes and financial results," said Cone-Swartz. "Committed providers can make a meaningful difference in their patients' lives and improve the financial health of their organizations."



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