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Accreditation & Licensing

Do You Want To Start-Up Your Home Care Agency With Accreditation? Here Is What You Need To Know To Start Off On The Right Foot.

Well, you may be at the stage of your home care start-up where you have an NPI and Tax ID. Now, you decide whether you want a home care agency with accreditation or not. Let’s look at why agencies often do choose to accredit. 

Advantages Of A Home Care Agency With Accreditation: 

There are many reasons an owner would choose to start a home care agency with accreditation. Let’s look at 3 reasons this is a great way to go. 

  • Quality: This is a big one. With accreditation, you adhere to Medicare Conditions of Participation as well as additional standards of care. The quality measures lead to a higher standard of care. 
  • Timing: As a start-up, accreditation leads to a quicker timeframe for survey. When the state completes the start-up survey, agencies can wait for extended periods of time. Considering the agency is incurring costs providing care without reimbursement waiting for survey, this can be very expensive. 
  • Education/ Resources: Although there are costs associated with accreditation, there is additional education and account experts available for you to use as resources. It is a big deal starting an agency. Having experts to call to help you wade through regulation is a big plus. 

How To Choose The Accrediting Body: 

Accrediting can come from CHAP, JCO, or ACHC. Ultimately, it will be your choice which agency makes the most sense for you. The industry currently sees Joint Commission in home health agencies that are part of hospital or nursing home based systems that already use JCO. If you are free-standing, the standards from CHAP or ACHC apply specifically to home health. If you are unsure, then look at the standards for each to help you decide.

Let Us Help You Through The Process: 

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we can help you through the start-up process from beginning to end. This means we help you understand the regulations and get you through the accreditation process by helping from A to Z. We include start-up packages that include mock surveys to get you ready for the real thing. If you need some help, then call us at 206-721-5091 or contact us online for your free 30-minute consultation with a senior consultant who can help you succeed.

You Want To Start A Homecare Agency. Sounds Great! What Next?

start a homecare agencyHomecare is a complex industry. Those in it know it all too well. If you want to start a homecare agency, then do your homework first. In addition, having help to navigate the playing field can make your journey a whole lot easier.

What Kind Of “Homecare” Do You Want:

Homecare tends to be the cookie cutter term for providing care within the home.  However, there are multiple types of service lines. The type of service you want to provide determines your road map to start.

  • Private Duty/ Homecare Services: These services are generally considered non-skilled. These are private pay services as well as those covered by certain contracts. Your local Area on Aging as well as the VA will provide home and community based services that are more for custodial care or maintenance care. Payment for services is normally an hourly or per-unit rate
  • Skilled Home Health: These services are provided when a patient has recently been hospitalized or has had an exacerbation of illness. The patient requires the skill of professional services such as skilled nursing or physical/occupational therapy. A home health aide can provide personal care during this time, but skilled care is generally short-term. If your agency wants to bill Medicare for services, then you will need to become certified to do so. Payment for services is by episode of care or a per visit rate.
  • Hospice: If your mission is the terminally ill, then hospice may be the type of homecare you want to provide. Payment for services is an all-inclusive daily rate. This is different than other homecare services.

You Know What Kind, But Don’t Know What Next:

This is where it can be really beneficial to invest in consultant services. You may need state licensure. You may not. And, you also need to adhere to both state and federal regulations. When you jump into a whole new realm like homecare, having someone who has done it all before can make each step of the way a whole lot easier.  Consultants can get you through all your steps leading up to and through your survey and accreditation process. You need to hire and train staff, develop policy and procedures, admit and manage patient care. The thing is, you don’t need to start a homecare agency alone.

Let Us Help:

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we have senior consultants who can help you start a homecare agency successfully. Call us at 206-721-5091 or contact us online for your free 30 minute consultation.

Top 5 Reasons Home Health & Hospice Agencies Need Accreditation

As our industry continues towards a pay-for-performance model, success and survival is dependant on quality patient care.

Importance of AccreditationAccreditation

Regardless of the focus of your agency, whether home health or hospice, here are the top 5 reasons to begin accreditation.

1. Shifting Payment Models

This industry is shifting to a pay-for-performance models of payment. This means patient outcomes and patient satisfaction become crucial for reimbursement.

Accreditation helps you improve quality measures which increases payment for services.

2. Insurance Contracts

Many insurance providers refuse contracting to Medicare home health agencies without accreditation. Accreditation proves to payers your agency is serious about quality patient care.

Think of it this way: Payers for services expect to pay less for emergency and hospital care with provision of quality home care. It’s in their best interest—and yours—to focus on care quality.

3. Stricter Measures

Accreditation requires a higher level of quality standards than being a medicare provider only.

Accreditation requires implementation and evaluation of quality measures in provision of clinical care. The process allows agencies to meet and exceed quality standards of care.

4. Improved Culture

Accreditation requires organizational assessment which determine strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Agencies engaged in this process promote team approach and atmosphere for employees.

Additionally, agency evaluation to maintain accreditation allows the collaborative environment within your agency is ongoing.

5. Agency Growth

When you focus on improving patient care, employee participation, clinical outcomes, and patient satisfaction; growth is a natural result.

Satisfied patients are more likely to recommend services to others and use services from you in the future. Satisfied Payers refer to agencies providing quality outcomes that saves money.

How Kenyon HomeCare Consulting Helps

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, we’ve been there, done that when it comes to accreditation. No matter your agency type, we guide you toward accreditation.

Our experts provide professional, effective organizational assessments that give you guidance to successful accreditation. Reach out today for your free consultation.

Homecare Manuals: 8 Reasons Purchasing Is Superior To Doing It Yourself

Running a homecare organization is no easy task. It involves mounds and mounds of paperwork, legalities, and guidelines. Failing to do things correctly or completely can lead to penalties, fines, or serious consequences disturbing the flow of business and possibly causing long-term damage. However, accurate and up-to-date customizable homecare manuals are a simple way to safeguard your agency’s future.

These manuals provide a resource for staff to access whenever questions arise and they need guidance regarding client care or appropriate behavior. Comprehensive tools ensure your organization remains compliant and that you hire and effectively train only the best employees.

How Purchasing Homecare Manuals Benefits Your Organizationhomecare manuals

Writing your own homecare manuals is a huge headache! Finding time to fit this task into your schedule is difficult, to say the least. But, trusting an inexperienced employee to get it done right isn’t always the best idea either. The solution? Purchasing homecare manuals written by industry experts.

Here are eight ways acquiring homecare manuals from a pro is better than attempting to “do it yourself” and creating them on your own.

Professionalism

First of all, if you want a well-written, perfectly designed manual with the best layout, then forget about producing one yourself. Instead, consider purchasing what you need from someone with years of industry experience writing compliant manuals.

Cost

At first glance, purchasing homecare manuals from a reputable company may appear to be outside your budget. However, breaking down the costs of attempting to create your own manuals, you quickly realize that the former is less expensive.

First, add up all the time you or your employees spend on the researching and writing- about 300 hours on average. Also, don’t forget the cost of materials, and the cost of updating on a regular basis. Now, you’ve got quite an expense on your hands!

Time

This one is a no-brainer, but it’s important. Your time is limited!  Caring for clients, growing your agency and not pouring over documents is a better use of your valuable time.

Compliance

The homecare industry is constantly evolving and failing to comply with regulations leads to serious repercussions. It’s vital to keep your manuals in check. Professionals who are in the know create manuals that are complete and meet regulations, keeping you in compliance.

Customization

In addition, there are several different types of homecare organizations, and each is subject to different regulations. Homecare experts have the knowledge to customize your manuals to meet specific Medicare home health, hospice or non-skilled care needs.

Accreditation

Meeting ACHC and CHAP standards when seeking accreditation is difficult and requires additions and tweaks to many policies and procedures. So, when purchasing professional manuals, be sure the contents meet these standards allowing for an easier agency accreditation process.

Convenience

As a business owner, you welcome and appreciate anything that makes your life easier. With customized homecare manuals, you don’t have to worry if the information is up to date. Leave that to the professionals!

Accessibility

What good is a comprehensive, well-written manual if no one is able to use it? With customized electronic homecare manuals, documents are easily accessible online by all team members. Therefore, preventing issues while caregivers are in the field and helping to keep things moving smoothly.

Kenyon HomeCare Consulting and Homecare Manuals

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, we offer several different manuals in our marketplace to best meet your needs based on agency type. We also provide consultants available to help you insert state specific standards into your manuals. We can help get your agency ready for accreditation, help revamp organizational processes, or help set up new processes. Give us a call today to learn more!

5 Tools Everyone In The Homecare Industry Should Be Using

Resources are the foundation of any homecare organization. Whether it’s a policy and procedure manual, an employee handbook or a competency test for aides, the tools you use in your agency are crucial to running a smooth operation. These “must haves” ease the stress of day to day activities, provide reference points for any crises and make succeeding in the homecare industry possible.

Homecare Industry Tools for Success

Every industry needs specific tools to get the job done. Doctors require stethoscopes, mechanics need wrenches, and accountants need calculators. Without these instruments, work would be much less effective and take significantly longer. This is also true of the homecare industry.Business competition, Leadership and Key To Success Concept

While devices needed for homecare include physical apparatuses, they also include intellectual means. Here are five must-have tools for every organization in the homecare industry.

1. General Policy and Procedure Manuals

A policy and procedure manual is essential for any homecare organization. The items required for a compliant manual depend largely on what type of agency you run. For example, non-skilled agencies have different regulations and follow different requirements than does hospice or Medicare home health.

The four major categories of homecare industry policy and procedure manuals are: non-skilled homecare, licensed home health, Medicare home health, and hospice. The good news is that there are numerous pre-written, electronic, customizable manuals on the market. They meet government requirements, help you remain compliance, and save time and money when compared with writing policy and procedure manuals from scratch.

2. Specialized Policy and Procedure Manuals

Similar to the general policy and procedure manual, a specialized manual incorporates accreditation standards and state requirements, making passing surveys simpler. An additional benefit of purchasing this manual is the assistance you can receive from an expert consultant who helps you prepare for accreditation survey. This is accomplished through a mock survey and staff education prior to the actual survey.

Additionally, the purchase of a specialized manual allows consultants or your staff to incorporate state standards and customize the manual to fit your existing internal processes. If your processes aren’t where they need to be to meet accreditation or state requirements, a knowledgeable consultant will work with you to improve your systems in preparation for survey.

3. Aide Competency Testing Kit

Hiring employees who aren’t truly qualified for their positions is a bitter disappointment and a waste of valuable time. When the work you do involves clients’ health, it’s vital that the aides you employ are the best possible. For that reason, with the aide competency testing kit, find out before you hire if the employee is competent to provide the care you expect.

Once you’ve taken full advantage of this kit, be sure to continue creating an elite staff by providing advanced education. Chronic disease education for aides is a simple and effective way to improve client care and increase employee retention. With the ever increasing rise of chronic disease in the U.S., this training is essential for your organization’s growth.

4. Employee Handbook

This customizable resource includes everything you need to efficiently manage your team. Important HR considerations incorporated in complete employee handbooks include:

  • Equal employment opportunity
  • Employment policies
  • Timekeeping and payroll
  • Job specific matters
  • Employee health and safety
  • Client care policies

Using a customizable employee handbook has several benefits, including more efficient training, better HR compliance, improved client satisfaction, and increased employee retention.

5. Non-Skilled/Skilled Home Care Forms

This category is comprised of a comprehensive set of personnel, client, and miscellaneous forms benefiting both new and existing agencies in the homecare industry. Here are just a few examples of the 49 documents included in the Kenyon forms package:

  • Application for employment
  • Disclosure statement
  • Employee complaint form
  • Employee warning notice
  • Sexual harassment policy
  • Case orientation log
  • Client bill of rights
  • Discharge information
  • Evacuation plan
  • Accident/incident report form
  • Infection control log
  • Marketing information sheets

Working with the Best in the Homecare Industry

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, the tools we provide are completely customizable and benefit all aspects of your organization. Purchasing resources from us allows you to ensure thoroughness and competency while saving your agency time and money. Reach out to an experienced consultant today to get started.

Why Are So Many Home Health Care Terms Necessary?

Home Health

When we hear the term home health or home healthcare, we generally  think of a 60 day service provided by nurses to help a person recover after a hospitalization. Home health is comprised of  skilled services including nursing, social work and physical, occupational, or speech therapy.  Industry insiders call this type of care Medicare Certified Home Health which requires the use of an OASIS form to document the need for care.  The Visiting Nurses organizations are examples of home health providers (although there are many home health providers who are not affiliated with the visiting nurses organization).home health

Home Care 

Home care is the most commonly used generic term for our entire industry.  So it’s typical for people to say “home care” they might mean nursing, or caregiving or even durable medical equipment (DME).  We generally associate the term home care with non-medical in-home care services.  Synonyms include Companion Care, Home Maker Care, Home Health Aides, and Private Duty Care.

Healthcare at Home

Healthcare at home is in some sense a movement.  Although the phrase has been used before, there was a landmark speech at a recent conference of the National Association of Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) where home care veteran Bob Fazzi  introduced the concept. He stated that we should all start thinking of health care as having three key providers: 1) hospitals, 2) physicians practices, and 3) healthcare at home.  In his speech, Bob pointed out that we have the most expensive patients with the least expensive care providers providing outstanding care, and that we should leverage that to transform healthcare.  Since then, noteworthy publication such as Tim Rowan’s Home Care Technology Report have been promoting the healthcare at home terminology branding.

How Does All of This Impact the Future of Healthcare?

At Ankota, our prediction is that the lines between home health and home care are blurring and will continue to do so.  The best organizations I’ve seen are looking for the best care provider, practicing at the top of their license, to delivery the needed care.  They are also using call centers to drive adherence and behavior change, and using technology (like Foresight Care), to get early warning signs and prevent hospitalizations.

Ankota was co-founded by Ken Accardi and provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota’s primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. 

This article was posted by Ken Accardi and first appeared as “Home Health vs. Home Care vs Healthcare at Home” on March 22, 2016 via the Ankota blog.

Benefits of Private Insurance Contracting: Non-Medicare vs Medicare Home Health

Question MarkAs a home health agency, one of your most important jobs is helping clients figure out the right payment options. While you want to provide the best care possible, you also need to be properly reimbursed for your services. This article will discuss three reimbursement options: private health insurance, Medicare, and long-term care insurance.

Private Health Insurance

Many of your clients may assume that the health insurance plans they’re currently enrolled in through their employers will cover any services required if they were to become homebound. However, that’s not necessarily the case. Private health insurance will pay for some home health services, but not all – and only for a limited period of time. Here’s what your clients can expect from their private insurance plans:

  • Coverage for skilled nursing services
  • Available coverage only for short-term, medically necessary services
  • Limited or no coverage for personal care services
  • Varying premium costs based on individual policies
  • Possible deductible, coinsurance, or copay responsibility.

If you have clients who require home care due to illness or a temporary condition, and they don’t meet Medicare’s requirements, then need to research what their private health insurance will cover. Clients need to consider their total out-of-pocket costs, and you should discuss with them all the services you’ll provide in order to avoid any surprise expenses.

Medicare

Anyone 65 or older is eligible for Original Medicare. Like private health insurance, Medicare will only cover certain home health services. Medicare will pay for qualified skilled services when the client is homebound and services are ordered by a physician. A multitude of personal or homemaker services are not covered by Medicare. Here’s what your clients need to know about Medicare and home health:

  • Services NOT covered include:
    • 24/7 in-home care
    • Meal delivery
    • Personal care
    • Homemaker activities
  • Only part-time, intermittent care is allowed
  • Skilled nursing, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, and continued occupational therapy are covered if ordered by a physician
  • Services must be deemed medically necessary
  • Home care agency providing services must be Medicare-certified
  • No copays for Medicare-approved services

Medicare is a good option for older adults who only need temporary care, like following a hospitalization and who are able to manage most daily activities independently.

If more care is needed and a client has Medicare, he or she can choose to purchase a supplemental health insurance plan – called Medigap – to help fill in the coverage gaps. This is something that, unlike Medicare, the client will need to pay for, both through a monthly premium and through copays or coinsurance. They should also keep in mind that Medigap plans are designed to allow for superior temporary care; they still won’t allow for long-term care.

Long-term Care Insurance

For those clients who suffer from chronic illnesses, can no longer function on their own, or simply need more help than either of the above options provide, long-term care insurance is the way to go. Through this type of policy, your client can feel confident they will receive the care they need without worrying about cost, and you can rest assured that you’ll be reimbursed appropriately.

Long-term care insurance is designed to pay for in-home medical services, as well as personal care (such as bathing) and homemaker activities (like meal preparation). While clients are required to purchase these plans, there are a variety of options that can be catered to meet individual needs.

No matter how you’re reimbursed for the care you provide, Kenyon Homecare Consulting can help you manage it. We offer ICD-9 coding and other services to help you increase your reimbursement percentages. Contact us today for more information!

How to Prevent Homecare and Hospice Medical Identity Theft

ID Theft

Our guest writer this week is Linda Vincent, R.N., P.I., who is not only a colleague of mine, but an identity theft and healthcare fraud prevention expert specializing in medical consulting and investigations.

As more and more baby boomers reach their golden years, more and more of them need the services of homecare and hospice agencies. This rapid influx is good for the industry, but homecare and hospice agencies need to be as vigilant as ever in their hiring practices of caregivers.

Why? Because medical identity theft is on the rise, and homecare and hospice agencies are easy targets. You need to take immediate action to safeguard your agency, reputation, and clients from the growing threat of medical identity theft.

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What’s New in Employment Law in 2013?

Our guest writer this week is Margaret Jacoby, SPHR, of MJ Management Solutions, whom has tailored human resources consulting services to small business clients since 1999.

Stack of notebooksThe Department of Labor (DOL) enforces more than 180 employment laws and regulations, and the specific laws that apply to a particular business depend upon its number of employees, the nature of its business, and numerous other factors.

While it is difficult to keep up with the changes in both the federal and state regulations, it is essential that you do so for your home care/health care agencyFailure to comply with even one of the myriad of regulations can land you in serious trouble and impact your bottom line significantly.

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The Times They Are A-Changing

Come gather ’round people, wherever you roam, and admit that the waters, around you have grown!

Just like the Dylan song said, The Times They Are A-Changing in private duty home care. What are the issues that will impact how we conduct our business of home care over the next 5 years and what strategies will serve us as we await clarification on those issues? The home care industry is likely to be significantly affected by Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (PPACA), changes to the Companionship Exemption and the introduction of licensure in states that have not had licensure in the past.

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