Colleen’s Corner: Quality Check

An Update on Quality Reporting Measures.

Did You Know?

The quality measure Improvement in Pain Interfering with Activity is being removed from Home Health Compare as of the April 2020 Compare Refresh. However, home health agencies are still collecting data for this measure through CY2020.

This quality measure will also be removed from the Quality of Patient Care Star Rating which will be calculated using seven measures beginning April 2020. Make sure to check how this will impact your agency’s star rating, so check out your Quality of Patient Care Star Rating Provider Preview Report in your agency’s CASPER Folders

The January 2020 Compare Refresh will be available this week, on January 23. CMS is no longer publicly reporting Emergency Department Use without Hospital Readmission During the First 30 Days of Home Health, and Rehospitalization during the First 30 Days of Home Health on Compare beginning with this January 2020 Refresh.

The OASIS Quarterly Q&As are scheduled to be posted on January 21, 2020.

Make your Star Ratings Rise to the Top

Provide focused education to your clinical staff with Blueprint for OASIS Accuracy training hosted by the Home Care Alliance on April 15-16, 2020 at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel & Conference Center, 1657 Worcester Rd, Framingham, MA.

Registration fills up fast so be sure to register early.

Click Here to Register

CMS Proposes Changes to HH Quality Reporting Program

Proposed Changes Could Result in Another Revision to OASIS in 2021! How will this impact you? HCA is looking for your input.

CMS is proposing several changes to the Home Health Quality Reporting Program (HHQRP) in the CY 2020 Home Health Proposed Rule.

The Rule proposes to eliminate one measure (OASIS Item M1242, Frequency of Pain Interfering with Patient’s Activity of Movement), add two new measures, and add several new Standardized Patient Assessment Data Elements (SPADEs) to the Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) in CY 2021. The revised OASIS for 2021 will be very different from the current OASIS data items collected by your clinical staff.

As required by the IMPACT Act, the proposed two new measures are:

    1. Transfer of Health Information to the Provider-Post-Acute Care (PAC)
    2. Transfer of Health Information to the Patient-Post-Acute Care (PAC)

These measures are designed to improve patient safety by ensuring that the patient’s medication list is accurate and complete at the time of transfer or discharge. These proposed measures also supposed to fulfill CMS’s strategic initiatives to promote effective communication and coordination of care, specifically in the Meaningful Use Initiative area of transfer of health information and operability.

In addition, CMS is proposing to adopt several standardized patient assessments (SPADEs) to the OASIS data set. CMS plans to implement three assessment screens for mental status, confusion/delirium, and mood. The special service, treatments, and intervention assessment require the agency to identify the services and treatment the patient is receiving and if they are taking any high-risk drugs. The assessment item for medical conditions and comorbidities checks for pain during specific activities and checks for hearing and vision impairments. Click click here to see the proposed Item Mockup for the “Transfer of Health” and the “SPADE”

According to the National Association of Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), the organization sees two possible approaches in addressing the proposed changes to the HH QRP.

    1. Recommend that CMS stagger the implementation of the assessment items over several HHQRP years. However, this would result in more iterations of the OASIS assessment tool, and any changes to the assessment tool carry its own burdens and costs; or
    2. Support the new assessment items with the condition that CMS issues a draft version of the revised OASIS data set no less than six months before the implementation date.

Please let the Alliance know how these changes will impact you.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

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 www.patientcarelink.org 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.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

HPC Releases Proposed ACO Standards for Comment

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is in the midst of a massive initiative to transform MassHealth payment and care delivery through the creation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACO). MassHealth has convened eight separate work groups to provide input and recommendations on various aspects of this transformation. The Home Care Alliance is represented on six of those eight work groups.

In support of that initiative, the state’s Health Policy Commission (HPC) this week released a set of draft ACO certification standards.

According to the HPC, the purpose of the certification program is to “complement existing local and national care transformation and payment reform efforts, validate value-based care, and promote investments by all payers in efficient, high-quality, and cost-effective care across the continuum.”

The HPC’s proposed standards include criteria, documentation requirements and questions for public comment. HCA intends to comment, so any members with thoughts, suggestions or answers on any of the proposed criteria or questions should contact James Fuccione at the Alliance.

For those looking to submit comments independent of the HCA, a public hearing will be hosted by the HPC on January 6 and the overall submission deadline for written feedback is January 29. That may seem like a far-off deadline, but with the holidays and the state’s budget process kicking up, any comments submitted to HCA well before that date would be appreciated.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

MA Cancer Prevention & Control Network Readying Palliative Care Survey for Home Care

The Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Prevention & Control Network (MCCPCN) is putting the finishing touches on a survey on palliative care geared towards treating cancer patients.

The Home Care Alliance is a part of an MCCPCN task force that built the survey, which will be distributed to agencies via email form DPH.  Agencies are strongly encouraged to take the time to respond. MCCPCN is under the Department of Public Health and a cover letter from Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett explains the reasoning and background to the survey as well as how it will help advance palliative care services.

Questions on this issue can be directed to James Fuccione at the Alliance.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

 

CMS Establishing Star Rating System for Home Health Care

In an effort to be consistent with quality reporting measures for various health care providers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are reportedly beginning to bring home health care, hospitals and dialysis facilities into the five-star rating system used for other sectors.

Already, nursing homes, Medicare health plans with Part B coverage, Medicare Advantage plans, physician group practices, and accountable care organizations use the star rating system. According to Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA), CMS hopes to transition home health care to the five star rating by the end of 2014, or at latest, the beginning of 2015. However, the Home Health Quality Improvement Campaign (HHQI) reports that hospitals will be the next provider group to get the star rating system and home health will come online in 2016.

Nursing homes are rated on staffing, health inspections and a set of 9 quality measures on the Nursing Home Compare website. Home health agencies and other providers each have their own range of quality criteria. Currently, there are no details on how CMS plans to determine the star ratings for home health agencies.

More information on this topic will be reported as it becomes available.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

New Web Resource on Hospital Quality Adds Home Health Data

A collaborative effort of three leading healthcare trade associations has brought a new, first-in-the-nation website for consumers to find quality data on the state’s hospitals and, more recently, federally-certified home health agencies.

The Massachusetts Hospital Association, the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts and the Organization on Nurse Leaders of Massachusetts and Rhode Island have teamed up to build the website called PatientCareLink. The site aims to deliver transparent quality and safety information from hospitals and home care agencies to patients and other healthcare stakeholders.

The data itself is drawn directly from the Medicare Home Health Compare website and is updated regularly. An alphabetical list of agencies is presented and each agency has their contact information and website included with selected quality measures that are compared to the national average for home health agencies.

The Alliance invites all to browse through the website, which will be continually promoted and improved, and see the website’s introductory video above with HCA’s Executive Director Patricia Kelleher.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.