Home Care Agency Advantage Video Series: Agency Services & Benefits

The Alliance is proud to announce its Agency Advantage Video Series. In each video, families, clients, & caregivers describe how agencies provide superior service where it’s most wanted: In the home. This first video describes agency services & benefits.

Why work with a home care agency rather than hire a nurse or aide directly? Agencies provide significant benefits and fewer risks over competitors in the areas that matter the most to those receiving care.

The Alliance’s Agency Advantage Video Series offers a more complete answer from people with first-hand experience. In each video, families, clients, caregivers, and agency managers describe how home care agencies provide superior service where clients want it the most: In their own homes.

Agency Services & Benefits

Home care agencies provide the expertise, flexibility, and security families want. Why hire a single aide when you could hire a whole home care team for your loved ones?

We need your help to spread the word about The Agency Advantage. Please use the buttons above to share this video on social media. To learn more about the entire series and how to easily include these videos on your website, visit the Agency Advantage Distribution page.

Three More Agencies Earn Accreditation

Three more agencies earn accreditation from the Alliance, bringing the total of accredited agencies to 59.

HCA Accreditation Logo

Congratulations to Acti-Kare (Middleboro), Kind Senior Care (North Andover), and Northeast Clinical Services (Danvers) for achieving Home Care Alliance Accreditation!

There are currently 59 agencies that have earned accreditation by demonstrating their compliance with each of the 15 standards of our Accreditation Program.

Since Massachusetts does not license private pay home care agencies, the Alliance created a Home Care Agency Accreditation Program in 2010 to establish operational and quality standards equivalent to licensure in most other states.

The program includes fifteen standards relating to: Client rights, privacy, and complaint procedures; Protections against abuse; Fair employment practices; Caregiver background screening; Competency, training and supervision; Insurance coverage; and Compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws. Accreditation is only awarded to agencies that meet or exceed all fifteen standards.

The Accreditation Program allows agencies to demonstrate that they meet high standards of quality. It shows clients and families that they are protected because the agency directly employs its workers and carries workers’ compensation, liability insurance, and an employee dishonesty bond. Accreditation demonstrates that an agency’s caregivers receive background checks, screening, and proper training for their jobs. Accreditation also provides a competitive edge in the marketplace, contributes to securing new business, and enhances staff recruitment by showing a commitment to fair labor standards.

Accredited agencies can use the Alliance’s Accreditation Logo to show their commitment to quality on their websites, brochures, and stationery. The Alliance lists all accredited agencies on its website, gives them special designation in its print directories and in the online Find an Agency function.

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.

Members Flock to HCA’s Quality Improvement Meeting

Lots of member interest in HCA’s July QI meeting to discuss medical record audits and upcoming proposed rule changes.

With the sundry of regulation changes in the home health industry over the past few months, the July 24th Quality Improvement (QI) meeting had over 45 members participating in-person and by phone. The numerous medical record audits plaguing the industry dominated the meeting’s discussion.

Multiple agencies have received letters from C2C Innovation Solutions informing them that some claims under appeal have been selected for potential reopening as part of the Medicare Appeals Demonstration. The C2C auditors are conducting the analysis of claims previously adjudicated unfavorably by the Qualified Independent Contractor (QIC), that are currently pending at the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) and may be resolved favorably by the QIC.

Other audits that agencies are experiencing are new Targeted Probe and Educate (TPE) audits. These medical record requests are for 5-7 visits and lengths of stay greater than 90 days. No agency is in the third round of the Face-to Face TPE.

One agency reported at the meeting that they are facing three audits simultaneously; a hospice General Inpatient care (GIP) Targeted Probe from NGS, a home health PERM request for Face-to-Face (awaiting ALJ) and eight GIP Post Payment Review by Noridian.

During the meeting there was a lot of member engagement related the 2020 Proposed Rule; the proposal to require OASIS for all payors and the 8% behavioral adjustment. Agencies also discussed strategies for management with PDGM and the process for completing OASIS B-1 for January 1st episodes. PDGM will be a standing QI agenda item.

The HCA is planning to host a PDGM Networking Meeting to help our members with the transition to this new payment model. We are hoping to begin the meetings in September and have a guest speakers and consultants to assist with planning for this historic payment change. Stay tune for further details.

Don’t forget to check out our PDGM Bootcamp on September 24th!

New England Conference Heads to RI for 2020

The 2019 New England Home Care & Hospice conference was a resounding success!

That only makes us more excited about the 2020 NEHCC, which will be at Gurney’s Newport Resort in beautiful Newport, RI May 13-15, 2020.

Nearly 300 registrants and over 75 vendors (over 450 total attendees) made the 2019 New England Home Care & Hospice Conference and Trade Show one of the biggest and best ever. The Sea Crest Beach Hotel in Falmouth, MA hosted two pre-conference intensives, four keynotes, and 24 break-out sessions over three days. Attendees left happy and with their brains full of innovative ideas to bring back to their agencies. The NEHCC committee is thankful to all whom attended and look forward to seeing everyone back next year.

2020-gurneys-newport

 

Be sure to save the date for the 10th Annual Conference, scheduled for May 13-15, 2020 at the Gurney’s Newport Resort in beautiful Newport, RI.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

 

Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) System Resource Page Now Available for HCA Members!

The Home Care Alliance of MA is happy to announce a resource page completely dedicated to keeping Home Health Care Providers informed for the upcoming Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) Mandate. You can access this page by going to www.thinkhomecare.org/EVV

Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs is moving forward with “deliberate speed” to implement the federal EVV mandate.  Massachusetts is developing a hybrid model for EVV, allowing agencies to use their current EVV vendor or choose any vendor that can collect and transmit the required data elements.  For those agencies without an EVV vendor, Massachusetts has contracted with Optum to design a free EVV system.  The current schedule would require personal care agencies that participate in the MA Home Care program that currently have an EVV system in place to begin testing in late 2018. Personal care agencies that don’t currently have an EVV system in place will have additional time to either go live with the Optum system or select and implement an EVV system from another vendor.

According to data collected by EOEA, well over half of the EOEA home care provider agencies in MA do not currently have an EVV vendor.  These agencies will have to make important purchasing decisions within the next year. This page is created to provide the must up to date information on EVV including important resources, vendor information and more.

EVV Vendor Webinar Series

Along with access to to important documents, websites, and contact information – HCA of MA has developed a monthly webinar series that allows EVV Vendors a one hour webinar to demonstrate their platform to our members for FREE! The webinars are typically held the 2nd Tuesday of every month and are recorded in the case you cannot listen to the series live.

The current schedule is as follows:

March 19th – Agency Workforce Management (Recording Available)

April 9th – HHAeXchange (Recording Available)

April 23rd – CellTrak

May 14th – Homecare GPS

June 11th – HomeCareIT

July 9th – Sandata

August 13th – 4Tellus

September 10th – ClearCare

REGISTER ONLINE

*Registering online gains you access to all webinars currently scheduled and any future webinars that may be scheduled

 

EVV Implementation: One Agency’s Experience

One additional resource webinar will be a one hour program with an agency member: HebrewSenior Life. Members of the HSL Leadership Team as they share their experience with implementing an EVV platform.  They will offer product highlights and the benefit and impact experience for clients, workforce, operations, and finances. They will also share their approach to the establishment of policies, procedures, and timelines for success with onboarding for caregivers and leaders.

This webinar will be held on Wednesday, April 24 at 1:00PM. This is also FREE to members!

REGISTER HERE

Access the EVV Resource page at: http://www.thinkhomecare.org/EVV

HCA and Northeastern University Partner on Nurse Symposium in June

These days, it seems like every week a new report is published sounding the alarm of a rapidly aging population across the United States and a shortage of workers prepared to care for this barreling silver tsunami. So much of the media coverage and research is focused on the paraprofessional workforce.

See for example, these reports/publications:

However, the Home Care Alliance member surveys indicate that the problem is broader than just a shortage of home health aides. The availability of a trained nursing workforce to meet a growing home-based health care delivery system is also emerging as an issue. Compounding challenges are impacting our ability as an industry to attract nursing students into home and community-based settings after nursing school.  That is why, on June 7th the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts and Northeastern’s School of Nursing are hosting a symposium on the very topic of building a home care nursing workforce at Northeastern University from 9AM – 3PM.

The event, titled: Nursing Call to Action: Building a Nursing Workforce to Deliver Complex Care at Home, will bring together more than 25 nursing schools and 25 home health providers for a day-long session. The program will kick-start a dialogue brainstorming new approaches for preparing and exposing Massachusetts nursing students for an increasingly intensive health delivery system in the home.

This event will look past the issue of reimbursement rates or ever-changing reforms at CMS, and instead will focus on four key areas:

  1. Identifying knowledge and skills gaps for LPN/RN new-grads and what changes can be made to address the gaps and develop competencies in executing highly complex services
  2. Elevating the visibility to nursing schools of the growing demand for home-based services and the need to expose students to possible careers in home care nursing
  3. Identifying strategies on recruitment as new-grads and experienced nurses prepare for possible careers in home care nursing
  4. Identifying barriers and strategies to get home health agencies more involved in clinical placements for nursing students

If you would like more information on this event, please reach out to Jake Krilovich. Please note: There is limited space for this event!

The “Agency Advantage,” Explained

Many families ask why they should work with a home care agency rather than hiring a nurse or aide themselves. Re-designed to better answer that question, The Agency Advantage is a one-page flier that describes the benefits of contracting with an agency compared to a direct hire. Best of all, blocks of up to 50 are available at no charge to members.

In addition to describing the benefits of working with an agency, it also shows the advantages as a checklist:

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Alliance Statement on NAHC President Val Halamandaris’ Passing

The Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts is deeply saddened by the passing of Val J. Halamandaris, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC).

Val dedicated most of his professional life to public service, and transformed the home care industry over the last five decades by fighting for elderly, disabled, and dying Americans. For 20 years, he served as counsel to the Senate and House Committees on Aging before founding NAHC and serving as its president for the last 30 years.

When Val started at NAHC, home care wasn’t what it is today. Institutionalization of the elderly was the standard, and Val sought to change the United States’ policy on this fundamental issue.

“The home care industry suffered an enormous loss this week. Val Halamandaris’ dedication to fighting for Americans’ rights to age in their homes and receive the care that they deserve was unprecedented.We all mourn this loss, but celebrate his 50 years of commitment to our most vulnerable,” said Alliance Board Chair, Holly Chaffee.

Val is survived by his wife, Kathleen, three sons, their wives, six grandchildren, and his brother. A funeral mass will be held for him at 10:00 am on Saturday at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Caring Institute.

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Everything You Want to Know About eLearning Partnership with Corridor Group in One Place

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The Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts has partnered with the Corridor Group to provide an exciting new membership benefit. Corridor Campus eLearning is an online program that provides orientation and ongoing education for all levels of staff, allowing you to streamline training across your organization while providing Continuing Education Credits. Topics of the 150+ courses offered include ICD-10, Sexual Harassment, Alzheimer’s, HIPAA, Infection Control, and much more!

Home Care Alliance member agencies receive a discounted rate on Corridor Campus, paying the lowest per user fee they offer. Along with this great offer, our members will also have the opportunity to receive a 15% discount on any other Corridor products they purchase.

After the partnership was announce this summer, the Home Care Alliance held an informative webinar that introduced the software and did a brief demo. All information about this partnership including the recording of the webinar is available at www.thinkhomecare.org/Corridor. Take a look at this great opportunity to save your agency money while receiving great education for your staff!

If you have any questions about this partnership you can contact Megan Fournier at mfournier@thinkhomecare.org

Click Here to go to eLearning Partnership Page to Learn More!