MHA, ONL & HCA Publish Latest Quality Measures for Hospitals, Home Health Agencies

The Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA), Organization of Nurse Leaders of MA, RI, NH & CT (ONL) and Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts have publicly posted the latest available key national care quality performance measures for both hospitals and home healthcare agencies in Massachusetts. Data from Medicare’s Hospital Compare and Home Health Compare are now available on the PatientCareLink website for 77 Bay State hospitals and 89 Bay State home health agencies.Patientcarelink logo

Reported measures for hospitals include best practices for heart attack or chest pain, heart failure, pneumonia care, influenza prevention, surgical care improvement, stroke care and blood clot prevention and treatment. For home care agencies, the reported measures include timely initiation of care, patient/family medication education, depression assessment, and more.

To view the updated reports, visit and click on the “Healthcare Provider Data” tab and then either the “Hospital Data” or “Home Health Agency Data” link, then “Individual Hospital Performance Measures” or “Select an Agency.”

The home health agency reports now incorporate data for the period June 2014 – July 2015 for all measures, and the hospital reports cover April 2014 – March 2015. In addition to each facility’s individual performance, the PCL pages also provide a comparison to state and U.S. “peer” facility averages.

“Providing high quality, safe patient care is a top priority for Massachusetts hospitals,” said Pat Noga, PhD, RN, Vice President of Clinical Affairs for MHA. “Our hospitals are also committed to publicly posting important quality and staffing information to provide patients and caregivers alike additional confidence in their care.”

Patricia Kelleher, Executive Director of the Home Care Alliance of MA, added that the partnership between hospitals and home health agencies on PCL furthers positive working relationships along the entire continuum of care, which can only improve patient safety and quality overall.

“Choosing in-home services can be a daunting task and that’s why we’re proud that PatientCare Link (PCL) website allows patients and their families to find high-quality care in the home setting that fits their needs,” Kelleher said. “PCL includes Medicare-approved agencies that meet certain federal health and safety requirements, and provides patients, caregivers, and families the tool to easily access home health agency quality data to take control of their care and their health.”

Massachusetts was the first state to voluntarily make hospital staffing and nursing-sensitive quality information public starting in 2006. Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts joined the PCL quality and patient safety transparency effort in 2013. The PatientCareLink website is a great resource and gives patients an open and transparent view of the hospitals providing them care.

Hospitals and home care agencies welcome transparency about their performance when performance measures are grounded in good science and are designed to make fair comparisons across institutions. Publicly reported performance data can offer several benefits, including:

  • Offering useful information for making decisions about where to obtain healthcare
  • Helping healthcare professionals and institutions improve the care they deliver; and
  • Providing extra motivation to improve performance.

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HCA Ad Campaign with CBS-Boston Underway

Thanks to the sponsorship of six Alliance members, the HCA’s shared advertising campaign is off and running through the months of December and January.

AllCare VNA & Hospice, Circle Home, CareTenders, Comfort Keepers, Home Instead Senior Care and South Shore VNA will be featured on WBZ-TV and WSBK-TV as well as on the CBS-Boston website in certain areas of the state. Viewers will see shared ads from these six agencies and the Alliance along with a PSA featuring tips on choosing a home care provider.

The video clips of these ads are available below:

Ad 1: CareTenders – Comfort Keepers

Ad 2: Circle Home – South Shore VNA

Ad 3: All Care VNA – Home Instead Senior Care

Home Care Alliance Healthwatch PSA

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Advocacy Alert: Help Gather Support for Home Care Budget Amendments

The Home Care Alliance’s priority amendments in the House budget now have numbers, which means you can email or call your state representative and easily ask that they support these important policies to advance home care services!

  • Amendment #968: Rep. Sean Garballey’s amendment to restore the MassHealth rate for home health nursing visits past 60 days of care to the payment level prior to December 1, 2008 so that patients with the most severe conditions can have their care continued and remain independent at home. MassHealth cut the rate once a person was receiving home nursing for more than 60 days, which runs counter to the state’s goal of keeping people in the community and driving down the cost of care.
  • Amendment #89: Rep. Kate Hogan’s amendment to study home health service capacity in the Commonwealth and recommend policy strategies for better state oversight of home care agencies. Massachusetts is one of only five states without either licensure or a “determination of need” process for home health agencies. In recent years the Commonwealth has experienced rapid growth in the number of certified home health agencies. This proposal is in response to that growth and would help to identify the current number of home health agencies and their licensure and ensure high levels of quality home care.
  • Amendment #491: Rep. John Mahoney and Rep. Mark Cusack’s amendment that would establish MassHealth reimbursement for telehealth services provided by home health agencies. This amendment was successfully passed in last year’s budget and this year’s version will ensure MassHealth is statutorily able to finish their work in creating a regulatory and reimbursement structure.
  • Amendment #775: Rep. James O’Day’s amendment to reestablish the Homemaker Wage Increase account. This appropriation would provide an annualized wage increase of approximately 75 cents an hour to over 17,000 homemakers and personal care homemakers.

Our Legislative Action Center makes it easy to advocate. Just click on the FY15 budget message, fill in your contact info, and hit send! The system will automatically send the message to your state representative.

You can also call 617-722-2000 and press “2” to speak to an operator in the House of Representatives to urge your State Rep to support amendments #89, #491, #775 and #968. You can use the talking points above when speaking to an aide or leaving a message.

Contact James Fuccione at the Alliance with any questions.

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Boston Children’s Hospital Releases Educational Videos for Families, Providers

A series of educational videos for patients, families and healthcare providers is being promoted by Boston Children’s Hospital regarding care of a central line in order to help decrease the number of CLABSI (Central Line-associated Blood Stream Infections).

Especially for agencies specializing in pediatric home health care, but applicable for all, these videos are a useful educational tool. The Alliance also posted the link on our Facebook page and encourage home care agencies to pass them along to patients and families that could be benefited.

More educational videos for home care agencies and family caregivers created by the Home Care Alliance are available on the Caregiver Video Resource Center that can also be found at our Home Care Month Webpage.

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Caregiver Videos: Using Home Care As A Supplement to Family Care

In the eighth video in our series for family caregivers, Lynda Giovanello of Walpole Area VNA discusses how home care can be used to supplement — not replace — care from family members.

To view the full series, visit our YouTube channel.  To access library of hundreds of care giver resources on a variety of subjects, visit, who produced the videos with us.
Continue reading “Caregiver Videos: Using Home Care As A Supplement to Family Care”

Caregiver Videos: Introduction to Occupational Therapy

In the seventh video in our series for family caregivers, Geoffrey Abraskin, PT, DPT of Amedisys Home Health & Hospice Care discusses what Occupational Therapy is and how it can be used in a home care setting.

To view the full series, visit our YouTube channel.  To access library of hundreds of care giver resources on a variety of subjects, visit, who produced the videos with us.
Continue reading “Caregiver Videos: Introduction to Occupational Therapy”

Home Care Agencies Donate Services to Boston Marathon Bombing Victims

BostonStrongRibbon.jpgHome care agencies are pitching in to help those injured in the Boston Marathon bombing by donating personal care services to victims whenever they are discharged from the city’s hospitals.

The Home Care Alliance is coordinating the volunteer effort that currently includes 55 agencies collectively providing coverage to the entire state. So, no matter where in

Massachusetts one of the affected people may live, an agency stands ready to help their transition back home.

The Home Care Alliance has notified all Boston hospitals and has provided the list of agencies donating services to staff at those facilities. Many have already been discharged from hospitals and the Alliance hopes that those people can also be aware that they have access to these donated services as well.

A special webpage listing the volunteer agencies has been set up and anyone hurt by the Marathon bombing that can benefit from free personal care can contact these agencies, but HCA also encourages hospitals to make the list available to patients as well.

The Home Care Alliance and its member agencies are proud to help those affected through a difficult time and hope they can take advantage of the compassionate care provided by agencies across the state.

Any hospitals or families impacted by the events of this past week can contact the Home Care Alliance for further details.

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