Star Awards Shine Spotlight on Home Care’s Best

Last month, the Alliance recognized six outstanding individuals as our 2019 Home Care Stars. These are their stories.

Last month, the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts gathered the industry at Granite Links in Quincy to honor six amazing individuals who represent the best of home care.

(L-R: Nicole Geddes, Me McBride, Vinette Tyme, Gerry Sanderson, Robin Pelletier, Sandy Hurley)

Since 1989, this fantastic event has celebrated the hard work of individuals and organizations who exemplify home care’s best values. More importantly, awardees are nominated by their colleagues and supervisors; winners are then selected by the Alliance’s Membership Committee.

Here’s a look at this year’s awardees, with excerpts from their nominations:

Me McBride, South Shore VNA, Aide of the Year

Imagine being the family member of a once-strong, determined man whose mind has been crippled by Alzheimer’s. You pray for help, and your prayers are answered in the form of an “earthly angel” named Me McBride.

She enters your home and takes charge with compassion and experience but — most of all — with respect for your loved one. For Me, the patient always comes first.

Vinette Tyme, HouseWorks, Aide of the Year

Vinette is a passionate home health aide, often described by colleagues and clients alike as “a dream” to work with, due to her dedication and exceptional skillset. She has an innate ability to anticipate clients’ needs and form personalized and effective strategies that work for them.

No task is too big or too small for her.

Gerry Sanderson, RN CDP, NVNA and Hospice, Clinician of the Year
Gerry Sanderson, RN CDP

Gerry has cared for hundreds of patients and families in the South Shore and her devotion to her patients is second to none.

Her approachable and positive demeanor is reflected in the way her patients interact with her, creating a safe and nurturing environment for all involved.

Nicole Geddes, LPN, Aberdeen Home Care, Clinician of the Year

Nicole delivers care, no matter what. If there is a need, she is there. She’s a roll-up-your-sleeves nurse, willing to jump-in and help an aide when needed or to manage a crisis in the middle of the night, on a weekend, or on Christmas Day.

She knows what to do and does it with tremendous skill.

Robin Pelletier, RN BSN, Southcoast VNA, Manager of the Year

Robin has successfully led Southcoast VNA’s Supportive Care Center since October 2016, where she guides an interdisciplinary team of 75 people. Her greatest accomplishment has been the extraordinary growth and quality of hospice services, doubling Southcoast’s average daily census and average length of stay.

Sandy Hurley, Commonwealth Clinical Services, Home Care Champion

Sandy embodies everything we value about nursing in the community. She is best known for “doing what needs to be done” from home visits, to setting up clinics, to teaching high school students about healthcare, to playing the piano at just about any function.

This year, Sandy extended her professional talents and skills to the mountains of the Dominican Republic, helping provide over 100 patients a day with health assessments, medications, and critical supplies.

As 2019 comes to a close and the industry prepares for a historic year of changes, the Star Awards allows us to pause and remember the dedicated workforce that makes home care such a success.

Congratulations and thank you to the 2019 Star Award Winners.

OASIS-D1 Guidance from Qualidigm

Changes to the OASIS data set will be incorporated into OASIS-D1 effective January 1, 2020. To help home health agencies understand these changes, Qualidigm has itemized the list of data set changes in a one-page document and four 90-second videos.

A number of changes to the OASIS data set have been made and will be incorporated into OASIS-D1 effective January 1, 2020 (click here for data submission specifications). These changes align with the new Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM). Under this new model, OASIS accuracy will continue to be important with Functional Impairment Level derived directly from OASIS items.

To help home health agencies understand these changes, Qualidigm has itemized the list of data set changes outlined in this one-page document.  Additionally, Qualidigm recently released its Quality Quick Minute video series focused on the OASIS-D1 changes. The videos series is comprised of four brief, 90-second information videos outlining these changes to assist with preparation in anticipation of the January 1 effective date.

The OASIS-D1 Quality Quick Minute video series includes the following:

  1. OASIS-D1 Changes Overview
  2. Optional Items
  3. Follow-Up Timepoint Items
  4. M0090 Date Assessment Completed

All four videos can also be accessed from the home health section of the Qualidigm website at www.qualidigm.org/our-services/home-healthcare-consulting/.

Marissa Moncata
Senior Business Analyst, Consulting Services
Qualidigm
MMoncata@qualidigm.org

2019 Our Time to Shine Winners Announced

The Home Care Alliance of MA will honor excellence in home care when we present the 2019 Innovations Showcase and Star Awards at the “Our Time to Shine” celebration on Tuesday, November 19, at the Granite Hills Golf Club, Quincy.

The Home Care Alliance of MA will honor excellence in home care when we present the 2019 Innovations Showcase and Star Awards at the “Our Time to Shine” celebration on Tuesday, November 19, at the Granite Hills Golf Club, Quincy. 

What a better way to show your staff appreciation during home care month then treating them to an afternoon of celebration, food and a special inspiration keynote by Tim Cunningham, an intrepid survivor and best-selling author.

Together, we can celebrate our people and our pioneers by recognizing how they make life better for thousands of patients and their families. In celebrating individual achievement, we shine a light on our collective accomplishments.  

2019 Star Award winners are:  
Champion
Sandy Hurley, President/Administrator, Commonwealth Clinical Services, Winthrop  

Clinicians of the Year:
Nicole Geddes, LPN, Aberdeen Home Care, Danvers
Gerry Sanderson, RN CDP, NVNA and Hospice, Norwell  

Manager of the Year:
Robin Pelletier, Director of Supportive Care Services, Southcoast VNA, Fairhaven  

Aides of the Year:
Me McBride, CHHA Team Leader, South Shore VNA, Rockland
Vinette Tyme, Care Coordinator, HouseWorks, Newton  

Innovation award winners:  
Connected Home Care
, Concord:  Oz Documentation System
O’Connell Care at Home, South Hadley: Advanced Internal In-Service Training
Maxim HealthCare Services, Plymouth: Novice Nurse Program  

Join your peers on November 19 as we celebrate these honorees! Learn more at http://www.thinkhomecare.org/shine

Tickets are just $40 or $275 for a table of 8!

2019 Financial Management Conference Announced!

Join us on Tuesday, December 10th at the Beechwood Hotel in Worcester, MA for our Annual Financial Management Conference. Take a deep dive into the current trends and issues happening in the Home Health industry as you prepare for 2020.

Join us on Tuesday, December 10th at the Beechwood Hotel in Worcester, MA for our Annual Financial Management Conference. Take a deep dive into the current trends and issues happening in the Home Health industry as you prepare for 2020. This is the perfect conference for CFOs, CEOs, and Clinical Directors!
 
The 2019 Agenda Includes:
Hindsight is 2020: Hone into Home Health & Hospice Payment Compliance in the New Decade, Kathleen Hessler, Simione Healthcare Consultants
The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) continues its intense oversight and scrutiny of the Medicare home health and hospice programs by analyzing the rich sources of data available to them. With increase in survey and audit activity —including Targeted Probe and Educate (TPE), UPIC and SMRC audits, learn what your agencies need to do to ensure payment compliance in the new decade. The session will cover types of government audits, recommendations for internal-self monitoring, as well as what to do if your agency identifies an overpayment.

HHVBP Trends & Data, Chris Attaya, SHP Data
As we close out year 2 of the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing
Demonstration, Chris Attaya will take a deep dive and identify the latest updates and trends in HHVBP and Star Rating measure scores. Attaya will also discuss data points specific for Massachusetts state agencies.

PDGM Check Point, Mike Carr, Axxess
PDGM is almost here, now is the time to ensure you are ready for the changes. This session will review where you should be, and how to get there if you’re not. Carr will provide a high level overview of PDGM as well as understanding how past performance will be impacted by PDGM. Other elements to be discussed include technology challenges, therapy impact, and measures for survival.

Making Home the Center of Care: Opportunities & Challenges of Public Priorities, Mike Canter, Carecentrix & Reactor Panel
Recent public policy trends focus on cost containment, integrated care, and quality outcomes. Home care is in a unique position to thrive in this emerging environment. Is your agency poised to seize the opportunity?

Register Here

HCA Has Got You Covered with PDGM

PDGM is coming January 1, 2020 – HCA has numerous education opportunities to help you prepare and progress!

Blueprint for OASIS Training & Certification, November 4-6
Training, Devens, MA

Experience the comprehensive and nationally acclaimed two-day Blueprint for OASIS Accuracy workshop and learn to confidently teach, audit, and collect OASIS-D items accurately. Through guided, expert instruction, and participation in problem-solving discussions and application scenarios, achieve mastery of the OASIS items, conventions, and the latest data collection rules.
Rather than provide opinions, assumptions, or unfounded interpretations, the “Blueprint” presenters will model reliance on CMS guidance documents and provide and demonstrate strategies for how to find defendable answers to your OASIS questions.

REGISTRATION
HCA Members: $429/Person
Non-Members: $549/Person

PDGM Comittee Meeting, November 18
Networking Meeting, 10:00-12:00, Milford, MA

Clinical Leadership Development and Care Coordination Under PDGM

PDGM introduces complex challenges and heightens the importance of efficient discipline utilization while maintaining quality care outcomes. The role that the clinical manager plays in this care management process can make or break success under the new model. This session will cover strategies for effective collaboration of care and agency leadership development in order to maintain focus on patient-centered quality care delivery.

Registration: FREE
HCA MEMBERS ONLY!!

PDGM Clinical Episode Management Webinar, November 21
Online Webinar, 2:00-3:30PM

Clinical episode management takes on an even more critical role under PDGM. This session will describe how effective clinical episode management is the foundation for improving both patient and agency
outcomes as well as improving regulatory compliance. We will review tactics for management of the 30 day payment period and explain the new LUPA thresholds and show that effective clinical episode management will be key to ensure patients are receiving appropriate, cost-effective, quality care. We will discuss strategic planning for implementation of clinical episode management best practices within the agency, and strategies to enhance communication and collaboration between all disciplines.

REGISTRATION
HCA Members: $79/Line
Non-Members: $159/Line

PDGM Billing Series, December 2, 3, 4, & 5
Online Webinar Series, 11:00AM-12:30PM

PDGM is fast approaching and a lot of changes are coming with it. HCA has partnered with Melinda Gabourey, CEO of Healthcare Provider Solutions, to put on a 4-part webinar series, each 90-minutes long! The series will run daily from 11:00AM-12:30PM.
Sessions include:
• PDGM Structure & Financial Impact
• PDGM Coding & OASIS Integrity
• PDGM Operational Decision Necessities
• PDGM Revenue Cycle Changes

REGISTRATION
HCA Members: $79/Line per Webinar -OR – $299/Line for Full Series
Non-Members: $149/Line per Webinar -OR – $549/Line for Full Series

2019 Financial Management Conference, December 10
Conference, Worcester, MA, 9:00AM-4:00PM

This years financial conference will cover topics on PDGM, VBP, Billing Compliance, and Managed Care. The following PDGM session will be by Mike Care of Axxess:
PDGM is almost here, now is the time to ensure you are ready for the changes. This session will review where you should be, and how to get there if you’re not. Carr will provide a high level overview of PDGM as well as understanding how past performance will be impacted by PDGM. Other elements to be discussed include technology challenges, therapy impact, and measures for survival.

REGISTRATION
HCA Members: $149/Person
Non-Members: $299/Person

2020 Leadership Summit Pre-Conference, January 28
Conference, Boston, MA, 1:00-4:30PM

Vision Quest: Refining Your Personal Leadership Style for Success Under PDGM and After
We will start the summit with an interactive exploration of what industry and leadership issues you are hear to work on! After breaking it all down, we will engage in some self reflection on your leadership journey to date and how that has or has not got your prepared to meet today’s challenges. The session will continue with an instructional tutorial that will help to make you a better more confident and ultimately successful leader. Put it all together with a set of top industry experts on the journey to PDGM success.

REGISTRATION
Go to http://www.nehomehealthsummit.com for more information!

PDGM Impact on Therapy Practice, March 5
Online Webinar, 1:00-2:30PM

CMS has changed the PPS case mix system “to rely on patient characteristics to set payment for therapy and non-therapy services and should no longer use the number of therapy visits as a payment factor.” The practice patterns and therapy compensation creep associated with the PPS methodology up until 2020 will fit poorly with a case mix system not relying on a therapy visit number. However, practice pattern changes do not occur as abruptly as payment changes.
This session will review the new Patient Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) and how therapy can and should impact the groupings within their own agency. We will then apply reasonable and necessary plans of care to typical home health conditions and link them to the outcomes agencies strive to achieve. Participants will learn to prepare changes in practice and to demonstrate the value therapy services can bring to the home health agency.

REGISTRATION
HCA Members: $79/Line
Non-Members: $159/Line

Journey to PDGM Success Seminar by Axxess, November 5

HCA of MA Members receive a $50 discount on their registration.
Use code: HCAMA2020 at check-out!

For the most up to date information on all upcoming events:
www.thinkhomecare.org/education

Haunted by TPE? Don’t Let It Frighten You!

Many home health care agencies have contacted me over the past few weeks with questions about the Targeted Probe and Educate (TPE). Here are answers to many common questions.

Many home health care agencies (HHAs) have contacted me over the past few weeks with questions about the Targeted Probe and Educate (TPE), so I thought I would review the rules because I am sure others have the same questions. NGS has contacted HCA to let us know that there are new TPE audits in Massachusetts: high therapy utilization, long lengths of stay, documentation supporting homebound for Heart Failure, COPD, Diabetes and Dementia, and medical necessity.

How Will the HHA Be Notified:  Agencies will receive a letter from NGS stating the focus of the targeted probe. Expect to receive between 20–40 ADRs, although every agency targeted so far has received a request for the 40 records. If you are currently in a TPE audit you will not be chosen for another. If for some reason you receive another TPE please contact Colleen Bayard because agencies should only be under one targeted probe and educate for home health at a time.

Additional Documentation Request: The Medicare system will generate ADRs and you have a total of 45 days to respond with the requested medical records. Note: It is best to send in at least 30 -35 days, as NGS considers their time to acknowledge receipt of the documentation into their system as part of the 45-day timeframe. If your ADR is one day late it is considered “no response” and counts as an error.

Calculation: NGS calculates the Percent Error Rate (PER) by taking the dollars Medicare would have paid the HHA versus the dollars denied obtaining a percentage. The PER must be 15 percent or below for the HHA to be released from the next round of TPE.

Results Letter: At the conclusion of a round of review, you will receive a letter outlining the TPE process, the reason for denials including the Medicare regulations, denial rates (PER), release or retention from medical review and offer for one-on-one education information.

Education: Agencies will be notified of one-on-one education between NGS medical reviewers and the provider. It is very important to accept the education from NGS at the end of the audit; accepting the education demonstrates that you are trying to improve documentation and will help with the second round of TPE.

Combating Loneliness, Making a Difference

In home care, we see how debilitating loneliness can be to patients and clients. One local organization, FriendshipWorks, is looking to light candles in the darkness of social isolation.

So much of what we are about in home care is connecting those who might otherwise go without it to the care they need. Every home care nurse, therapist, or aide has been in a home where she/he might be the only person that patient/client has seen in days. We see loneliness, and we see how debilitating it can be.

Many studies have proven what a home care nurse knows from first-hand observation: Loneliness can be bad for someone’s health. On a national level, AARP has recognized what its  medical director, Dr. Charlotte Yeh, calls the “power and presence of loneliness” in its Connect2Affect campaign.

Through some of our home care colleagues, I have recently been introduced to one local organization looking to light candles in the darkness of social isolation. For 35 years, FriendshipWorks has been training volunteers to provide companionship and emotional support to older adults across Greater Boston. They provide what more than one study has called “The Healing Power of Presence.”

Considering how the organization’s volunteers accompany their older friends to critical medical appointments, FriendshipWorks is a vital resource for many of Boston’s academic medical centers.

Matt Fishman, Vice President for Community Health at Partners HealthCare, sees the difference FriendshipWorks volunteers make. “While it may be less quantifiable than some of our other metrics impacting patient outcomes and healing, we can see the reduced anxiety associated with having someone to take you and be there with you for a medical appointment, especially when you might be receiving a difficult diagnosis or set of instructions,” Matt says. That a less-anxious patient is definitely a patient more able to engage and have a quality experience, is central to the work of Christine Dempsey in “The Antidote to Suffering.”

Experienced home care executives, Andrea Cohen, Founder and CEO of HouseWorks, and Denise McQuaide, President and COO of Benchmark Wellness Management (formerly, president of Care Group Parmenter Home Care & Hospice), are co-hosting a 35th anniversary event on Nov. 21 to support FriendshipWorks. If you would like to get on board this important cause and enjoy the great entertainer Darlene Love in an intimate setting, you can get all the info you need here.

Any ideas or experiences about the interest of loneliness and health and healing, send them along to me. Happy to continue to share.