Celebrate Your Stars! Nominations are Now Open for Our Time to Shine Innovation & Star Awards!

Celebrate Home Care Month by nominating your best and brightest staff members for the Innovation and Star Awards!

Join us during Home Care Month for the Alliance’s annual celebration of innovation and excellence which will return to the Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy on November 19, 2019.

Nominate your innovative programs and star employees to be recognized during this celebration of the BEST in home care in Massachusetts!

Innovations Awards

The Innovations Awards recognize programs, products, or operational changes that enhance the quality or outcomes of patient care, improve community well-being; drive efficiency in operations within the agency or the health care system; or enhance staff productivity or satisfaction.

Star Awards

The Star Awards celebrate the exceptional accomplishments of the everyday heroes in our midst who make incredible differences in the lives of their patients/clients and their families. A STAR award brings well-deserved recognition for both the agency and the individual.

Nominations are due September 27, 2019!

Thank you for all you do to celebrate excellence at your agency!

Annual Report – Message from our President

Annual Report: Message from the President of HCA of MA

Last month HCA of MA published our Annual Report to members.  Below is the opening message from our President.

To the Members:

“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.”

This year HCA of MA is celebrating 50 years as a membership driven trade association advocating with and on behalf of home care agencies, and home care patients.

It is very humbling to be Board Chair during such a milestone year. As many Board chairs before me have done, I have learned from the example set by those that have come before me, that includes both my immediate predecessors, such as Holly Chaffee and Wayne Regan, and those that came before them.  They all instinctively knew that you can’t ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself and that waiting around for somebody else to do it is a sure way to assure that nobody does it.

As I look back at the year as laid out in this report, I see so much that we can be proud of as a member dedicated organization.  As President for a second term, I will work hard to make sure that continues. As our diverse members – each in their own way – struggles with the human resource, funding, marketing/image and regulatory issues, I want us not to lose site of some very big picture indisputable facts, including:

  • The demographics of our aging population will continue to demand new and more creative approaches to chronic care, serious illness and population health management and home care is the industry to provide these,
  • Home Care is where the professional and paraprofessional health care jobs will be increasingly moving to, and
  • All indications are that patients and families want and are satisfied with the services our member agencies provide.

When we lead by example and build on these certainties, we cannot help but be successful.

Thank you for your confidence.

Maureen Bannan
President

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.

 

A New Version of OASIS is Coming!

Is your staff just getting used to completing OASIS-D?  Surprise,   CMS recently announced there will be a new version for 2020!

It was a surprise to many when CMS declared during the April 3rd, Open Door Forum, that effective January 1, 2020 there would be a new version of OASIS. I know I was thinking at first that the presenter misread the effective date, but apparently this update is needed to support the Patient Driven Grouping Model (PDGM).  One more thing for HHA to deal with. But, HCA of MA will be here for you.  (See link at end to out Fall 2019 OASIS training.)  

Thankfully though, after reviewing the  CMS Memorandum,   I realize that there are only a few minor changes.

Quick synopsis:   Two items will be added to the Follow-Up assessment:  M1033-Risk for Hospitalization and M1800-Grooming. These items should pose no problem since staff is familiar with answering these items at SOC/ROC. Surprisingly, the other change involves the “option” to no longer answer 23 items!  Rather than leaving the items blank,  the clinician will be required, however,  to respond by using the equal sign (=).

Here are the “optional” items for your convenience.

Start of Care/Resumption of Care (SOC/ROC)

• M1910 Fall risk Assessment

Transfer (TRN) and Discharge (DC)

• M2401a Intervention Synopsis: Diabetic Foot Care

• M1051 Pneumococcal Vaccine

• M1056 Reason Pneumococcal Vaccine not received

Follow-Up (FU)

• M1021 Primary Diagnosis

• M1023 Other Diagnoses

• M1030 Therapies

• M1200 Vision

• M1242 Frequency of Pain Interfering with Activity

• M1311 Current Number of Unhealed Pressure Ulcers at Each Stage

• M1322 Current Number of Stage 1 Pressure Injuries

• M1324 Stage of Most Problematic Unhealed Pressure Ulcer that is Stageable

• M1330 Does this patient have a Stasis Ulcer

• M1332 Current Number of Stasis Ulcers that are Observable

• M1334 Status of Most Problematic Stasis Ulcer that is Observable

• M1340 Does this patient have a Surgical Wound

• M1342 Status of the Most Problematic Surgical Wound that is Observable

• M1400 Short of Breath

• M1610 Urinary Incontinence or Urinary Catheter Presence

• M1620 Bowel Incontinence Frequency

• M1630 Ostomy for Bowel Elimination

• M2030 Management of Injectable Medications

• M2200 Therapy Need

HCA of MA next Blueprint for OASIS Accuracy will be held on November 4th and 5th. Option to take the certification exam will be on the 6th.

You can register for the course here.

Blog post by:  Colleen Bayard.

Home Health, EHRs and Data Interoperability

In 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services launched the “Meaningful Use (MU) initiative to incentivize certain sectors in the US health care system to move toward electronic health records (EHR) that would be used in a meaningful manner that allows for the electronic exchange of information to improve continuity and quality of care. Significant financial incentives were provided to “eligible providers” – essentially defined as hospitals and physician practices. More than $20 billion was spent and more that 600,000 eligible providers were enrolled. Home health, behavioral health and skilled nursing facilities were not eligible.

Now, it seems there is some limited acknowledgement that it may be time to rethink that. In a proposed rule relative to interoperability just published in the Federal Register, CMS is including – as a Request for Information – an ask for any feedback as to how to improve data interoperability for providers that have as yet received any incentives for using electronic health records.

“Transitions across care settings have been characterized as common, complicated, costly, and potentially hazardous for individuals with complex health needs. Yet despite the need for functionality to support better care coordination, discharge planning, and timely transfer of essential health information, interoperability by certain health care providers such as long term and PAC, behavioral health, and home and community-based services continues to lag behind acute care providers,” the proposed rule says.

CMS acknowledges that a contributing factor to the lag in Interoperability among post-acute care providers was that they were not eligible for incentives under the program formally known as meaningful use. CMS asks for input on specific ways it could financially help these sectors adopt and use technology.

CMS also asks for feedback on measurement concepts and quality improvement steps that could feasibly be applied to post-acute care, behavioral health and home and community based-services providers. Given that mandate in the IMPACT ACT that certain patient assessment data should be standardized and CMS is interested in feedback as to what parts of that data set — or the whole IMPACT Act data set — would be appropriate to include.

Adding some fuel to what may be an obvious fire (no incentive = limited movement) is a just published study in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association that examined gaps in communication between hospital and home health care staff, concluding that some could have serious medical consequences.

The authors surveyed nurses and staff at 56 home health agencies throughout Colorado. Participants were sent a 48-question survey covering communication between hospitals and agencies, patient safety, pending tests, medication schedules, clinician contact and other areas. Although almost all (96 percent) respondents indicated that Internet-based access to a patient’s hospital record would be at least somewhat useful, fewer than half reported having access to EHRs for referring hospitals or clinics. No surprise: getting medication doses right due to conflicting information was identified as a major problem.

Their conclusion: Future interventions to improve communication between the hospital and HHC should aim to improve preparation of patients and caregivers to ensure they know what to expect from HHC and to provide access to EHR information for HHC agencies.

Comments to CMS will be due in April. Date not yet announced.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Advocacy Alert: Email Senators Urging Support for HCA Budget Priorities

Last week, the Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means committee released its fiscal year 2019 state budget totaling $41.4 billion dollars. Senators had a deadline of Monday to file amendments to the bill, and it will be debated next week. Three Alliance priorities have been filed as amendments. Below are brief descriptions of each, with a link to send a pre-drafted email to your state legislator. The Alliance encourages you to send an email for all three amendments.

Amendment #589: EMAC Assessment Hardship Waiver:

  • This amendment would authorize the Department of Unemployment Assistance to establish a hardship waiver for employers that provide services to EOHHS/EOEA clients, or services in the public interest, who have a financial burden as a result of their EMAC tax liability. Take Action.

Amendment #560: Enough Pay to Stay Amendment:

  • This amendment would provide $28.8 million in increased funding for the State’s home care system front-line workforce. Take Action.

Amendment #620: Continuous Skilled Nursing Funding

  • This amendment would provide a $16 million increase for the Commonwealth’s Continuous Skilled Nursing program to address the workforce shortage resulting in unfilled service hours. Take Action.

Celebrate Nurses Week

Next week is National Nurses week. It is a time to celebrate the dedication, caring and overall contributions of those who choose nursing as their profession.

The Home Care Alliance would like to share your nursing human interest stories next week across our various social media platforms, whether it’s a shout out to a team or a staff member.

Email Megan Fournier at mfournier@thinkhomecare.org to tell us why you love home care & hospice nurses – OR – share our post below and comment why!

Celebrate Nurses Week 2