Mapping Community Palliative Care

Palliative care is well established in U.S hospitals, with seventy-five percent of those with fifty beds or more reporting a palliative care program. Recognizing the needs of seriously ill patients and their families in all care settings, many palliative care programs are working to extend services in their communities – either by expanding existing hospital programs to other settings, or building new programs in non-hospital settings.  These programs provide palliative care in patient’s homes, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, and outpatient clinics, and are vital in reaching a patient population that would otherwise not be served through traditional hospital palliative care. However, little is known about the locations or extent of this community reach, or how these community palliative care services are staffed and structured to meet patient and family need.

To fill this gap, the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), in collaboration with the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care (NCHPC), launched Mapping Community Palliative Care.  The goal of this initiative is to develop a comprehensive inventory of community palliative care programs and estimate their prevalence nationwide.

The three-year project, funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, will catalog palliative care programs in the community and analyze palliative care access across settings. By completing a short eight-question survey, community palliative care programs nationwide can put their program “on the map,” identifying themselves, where their services are provided, and what services they offer. Mapping Community Palliative Care is committed to increasing access to palliative care services for patients, families, caregivers, and providers. Programs participating in Mapping Community Palliative Care will have the option to be listed in the Provider Directory on GetPalliativeCare.org, the leading online resource for palliative care information for people with serious illness and their families. Anyone looking for palliative care resources will be able to search the directory by location and service type (hospital, home, nursing home, and office/clinic). As more and more programs add their profiles to the directory, patients and families will be able to find local resources and programs to meet their specific needs.

Mapping participants are also invited to participate in the National Palliative Care Registry™ – by providing annual aggregate data on program structure and operations, participants receive reports comparing their palliative care programs to their peers. Mapping Community Palliative Care and the National Palliative Care Registry™ are both free and open to programs across all care settings.

Mapping Community Palliative Care is working to bring the field of palliative care one step closer to a comprehensive national profile of palliative care services across care settings.

To participate, please visit mapping.capc.org and “make your mark” today!

If you are interested in learning more about Mapping Community Palliative Care, please contact Rachael Heitner, MA, CHPCA, Research Associate at CAPC, at mapping@capc.org.

Don’t let a natural disaster interrupt your patients’ oxygen supply

How prepared are you and your staff for an emergency? Do you have a solid plan for your patients?

Anything that impacts service for your patients should be addressed in your plan

ACHC corporate surveyor Cynthia Gray breaks it down: What to do when nature wreaks havoc on the supply line for oxygen-dependent patients (as recently published in the August edition of AARC Times)

By Cynthia Gray, BS, RRT-RPFT

Cindy Gray

“Providing oxygen tanks for a short amount of time is reasonable. Most home medical equipment companies provide the patient with three times the maximum response time. When a power outage is extended to days, weeks, or even months, alternative plans must be initiated. RTs can be a key resource for patients if that should occur. Patients and their caregivers can plan ahead and be prepared for alternative living arrangements if an extended outage is a possibility.

… In an emergency, a documented plan is easier to follow than trying to remember what was discussed.

… RTs have a great opportunity to help patients understand that early action is imperative. If your institution is alerted about an impending disaster, act early.”

 

Key Steps to Opening a Medicare-Certified Home Health Agency

While starting a new skilled home health agency (HHA) can be exciting and rewarding, it can also be a long and time-intensive process. Although there is a growing need for HHAs with the population of people age 65 and older expected to reach 19.6 percent by 2030, CMS in recent years has imposed significant financial and operational barriers that HHAs must navigate.

Because ACHC was created by home care providers, we understand these unique challenges that you face. Our goal as your partner in accreditation is to offer resources and education to help you through this process and fully prepare you for accreditation. One of these resources that ACHC has recently developed is a free On-Demand Home Health Start-Up Webinar that walks you through the process of starting an HHA in more detail. This webinar can be found on AccreditationUniversity.com.

Below we have outlined some of the key steps to opening a Medicare-Certified HHA.

  1. Determine your states requirements concerning a Certificate of Need (CON)
  2. Determine if state licensure is required in the state where you want to operate
  3. Must meet requirements of CMS State Operations Manual, Chapter 2, Section 2180C
    • Provide Skilled Nursing services and other therapeutic services
    • These services are supervised by a physician or RN
    • Have established policies & procedures
    • Maintain clinical records on all patients
    • Have an overall plan and budget
    • Meet the Medicare Conditions of Participation (CoPs)
    • Meet capitalization requirements
  4. Complete and submit an 855A application to CMS
    • Once approved, submit approval letter to ACHC
  5. Complete a successful test OASIS transmission
  6. Develop patient caseload
    • Must have 10 patients served with 7 active at the time of survey
    • Must meet the definition of CMS skilled care per the Medicare Benefits Policy Manual Chapter 7
  7. Download and review ACHC Accreditation Standards
  8. Submit your ACHC Accreditation application and Preliminary Evidence Report (PER) Checklist
  9. ACHC will complete an on-site survey within 60 days of HHA’s stated readiness

 

IACHC_Certified-Consultant_Sealf you would like more help with getting your agency off the ground, or preparing for accreditation, you may be interested in reaching out to an ACHC Certified Consultant. Our Certified Consultants have been trained in ACHC Accreditation Standards, survey approach, and processes to better prepare healthcare clients for the accreditation survey. Find a Certified Consultant on achc.org.

ACHC Approved for Ongoing Home Health and Hospice Licensure Surveys by State of Maryland

In a recent press release, Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) announced its approval by the Maryland Department of Health, to perform accreditation surveys in lieu of ongoing state licensure surveys for Home Health agencies and Hospices, in accordance with state law.

“This approval from the Maryland Department of Health means that home health agencies and hospices who are accredited by ACHC will no longer receive ongoing state licensure surveys,” said Teresa Harbour, ACHC’s Program Director for Home Health, Hospice, and Private Duty programs. “We appreciate the value Maryland
Department of Health sees in accreditation and we applaud their willingness to work with us to offer ACHC accredited agencies an alternative to ongoing licensure surveys.”

The Maryland Department of Health has reviewed ACHC’s Accreditation Standards and survey process and confirmed that they meet the state’s licensure requirements. On December 12, 2017, Dr. Patricia Tomsko Nay announced that home health agencies and hospices accredited by ACHC are deemed to comply with Maryland State licensure requirements and are exempt from routine licensure surveys conducted by the Department.

To remain licensed, deemed Home Health agencies and Hospices must continue to submit a renewal application and comply with applicable Maryland Health Care Commission requirements. With the application, the licensee seeking deemed status for state licensure proposes, must submit its currently applicable ACHC inspection results and all supporting documentation.

For more information on ACHC accreditation in-lieu of ongoing licensure surveys in Maryland, contact us at customerservice@achc.org.

The Medicare Home Health CoP Implementation Day is Here!

Today, January 13, 2018, is the day for which all home health agencies have been preparing since CMS finalized the first major revision to the Medicare Home Health Conditions of Participation (CoPs) in more than 20 years. Today, these new CoPs officially go into effect and all home health agencies that bill Medicare must be in full compliance.

ACHC released the revised Home Health Accreditation Standards, which incorporate the new CoPs, on November 15, 2017, and these standards are available to download on Customer Central. As of today, all ACHC customers will be surveyed to these new standards.

As always, agencies must adhere to the most stringent regulations. Requirements deleted from the CoPs may still be valid in your state, so check state licensure requirements, as applicable, prior to revising any current practice.

Make sure to take advantage of the tools and resources ACHC has developed to help educate providers on the expectations for compliance with the new CoPs and ACHC Accreditation Standards:

Accreditation University

Customer Central

We will continue to work diligently to revise all educational materials as we receive more information from CMS, including the Interpretive Guidelines and survey protocols. Watch your email and Customer Central account for these updates.

If you have any questions about the new ACHC Home Health Accreditation Standards or the Medicare CoPs, please contact your personal Account Advisor.

ACHC Accreditation – A New Option for California Home Health Licensure

With more than 500 initial licensure applications pending approval in California, home health agencies are being forced to wait up to two years before receiving their license. To help combat this delay, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has given home health agencies the option of working with a CMS-deemed accreditation organization to obtain an initial licensure survey. CDPH is encouraging home health agencies to take advantage of this new option in order to expedite their licensure approval process.

The Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC), a nationally recognized accreditation organization known for providing value, integrity, and the industry’s best customer service, is one of the approved accreditors.

“ACHC is ready to immediately accept applications and assist start-up agencies seamlessly through the licensure process,” said Teresa Harbour, ACHC’s Program Director for Home Health, Hospice, and Private Duty.  “Meeting the needs of California providers is essential to ACHC, so we have created accreditation prep tools and resources specific for these providers.”

Faina Neveleva, Administrator of Signature Home Health Care, was grateful for the training and support her agency received from ACHC. She attended the ACHC Home Health workshop in preparation for her agency’s recent accreditation survey.

“The workshops were so educational. Lisa [ACHC Clinical Compliance Educator] was very patient and answered all of our questions,” added Neveleva. “The free ACHC Accreditation Guide to Success workbook tells you exactly what the Surveyors are looking for. We rely on this so much.”

ACHC is accepting applications for home health licensure and accreditation in California and has already started surveying agencies. Once the application is completed, ACHC guarantees agencies will be surveyed within 25 days.

“We were impressed with how simple and straightforward the ACHC application process was and how quickly we were surveyed,” said Neveleva. “Throughout the whole process, our Account Advisor was very knowledgeable and helpful, returning calls usually within an hour and making sure all our questions were answered.”

Partnering with ACHC not only provides a faster route to licensure, it also allows agencies to reap the benefits of accreditation – ensuring compliance with the Medicare Conditions of Participation (CoPs) and the highest quality standards.

VNA Hospice & Palliative Care of Southern California has been accredited for over 20 years and recently switched to ACHC. Paula Natale, Director of Regulatory Affairs, said the organization switched because the ACHC Accreditation Standards are easy to understand and are more applicable to the home health and hospice services provided by the agency.

“It is a way for us to show our patients, payors, and referral sources that we have achieved a higher standard above and beyond the Medicare CoPs and that we are committed to continuously improving the care we provide,” Natalesaid, reflecting on the value of accreditation.

With more than 1,200 accredited home health agencies across the country, ACHC prides itself on the fact that 98 percent of customers say they would recommend ACHC – and Natale agrees.

“I have recommended ACHC to several colleagues,” she said. “Having experience with other accrediting organizations, I can say that the knowledge, professionalism, and customer service from ACHC Account Advisors, Surveyors, and Clinical team is unmatched in the industry.”

This article was published on Home Health Care News on December 20, 2017.

The Changing Healthcare Environment: An Interview with Kim Bradley, Nurse Executive of Sentara Enterprises

On Behalf of ACHC, the Remington Report interviewed Kim Bradley, Sentara Enterprises, to get insights into the changing healthcare environment and how her organization is handling the challenges. For more than a decade, Sentara has been ranked as one of the nation’s top integrated healthcare systems.  Their not-for-profit system includes advanced imaging centers, nursing and assisted-living centers, outpatient campuses, physical therapy and rehabilitation services, home health and hospice agency, a 3,800-provider medical staff and four medical groups.

 

Remington Report: The move toward value-based care and a rapidly changing healthcare delivery system are just a few of the challenges weighing heavily on the minds of today’s healthcare executives. Explain your organization’s five top challenges.

Bradley: You have accurately identified one of the greatest challenges that we face at Sentara, as in many organizations – and that is, transitioning to a value based mindset while continuing to live, largely, in a fee for service reimbursement environment.  We view this as both a challenge and an opportunity because as patients move through the continuum at a faster pace, we have the opportunity to touch more patients.  Patients come to us earlier and with higher acuities than we’ve seen in the past.

This leads to additional challenges – recruiting, retaining, and training top talent to care for our growing patient population.  Another challenge that we balance is timely and effective communication among multiple business lines in an integrated delivery network.

Remington Report: If you take one of your challenges, what solution (s) would make it possible to make a difference?

Bradley: I believe that tight processes, efficient workflows, evidenced based care protocols, reliable technology that support the clinicians in the field that avoids duplicative documentation are critical. That is a tremendous amount of work that we have committed to performing which allows us to provide excellent care to our high acuity patient population.

Remington Report: In the midst of change, explain the ways your organization is pushing innovation.

Bradley: We are seeking efficient ways to utilize our EMRs.  We are also seeking enhanced and innovative ways to utilize telehealth and virtual visits.

Remington Report: Explain how ACHC’s partnership is providing solutions to your organization.

Bradley: ACHC has proven to be a wonderful partner to Sentara Enterprises throughout our accreditation journey as well as through opening new providers for home health.  They have offered to assist us with review of new policies and procedures for the upcoming CoPs as well as the new Emergency Preparedness guidelines that impact all of our business lines.

ACHC has partnered with us to identify and share best practices.  By doing so, it not only elevates our organization but our industry as a whole.

National Home Care & Hospice Month – Stories from Hospice in the Pines’ We Honor Veterans Program

November is National Home Care & Hospice Month, and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s (NHPCO) theme for this year is “It’s about how you live!”

ACHC asked agencies to submit stories honoring the lives of the patients they serve. We are excited to share two stories we received from Hospice in the Pines in Lufkin Texas. These two stories are about men this organization serves through their We Honor Veterans program. This program was founded by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veteran Affairs that partners with hospice organizations around the nation. We are proud of Hospice of the Pines’ commitment to our veterans and the way they honor the lives of these heroes!

 

Bill Fortune

At 91 years old, Colonel Bill Fortune is an exceptional American hero who served in the United States Air Force during World War II.

This impressive and decorated serviceman is one of two siblings in his family to serve in the United States Military. Collectively his immediate family members and himself have served a total of over 120 years in the military.  Colonel Bill Fortune was one of the first air pilots to fly into an active hurricane.

Today he displays several pictures within his bedroom, above his bed, of the B-29 airplanes which he flew in the war. These images bring such great joy to his mind and heart when reminisced upon. Colonel Fortune was a co-pilot, and served for a total number of 36 years in the United States Military.  Colonel Bill Fortune is a native of Lufkin and has been active until his diagnosis with cancer, yet his lovely and beautiful spirit truly remains ever cheerful to all.

Hospice in the Pines had the honor of recognizing his dedicated service through the We Honor Veterans pinning ceremony. On Friday September 15, 2017, three team members from Hospice in the Pines joined the Fortune family in their home to celebrate the life and servitude of Colonel Fortune. It was a ceremony that doubled as a small family reunion and will forever be a memory in the legacy of Colonel Fortune’s beautiful life. What an honor it was to play a part in showing appreciation to such a dedicated veteran.

 

Tommy Solomon

Tommy Solomon is a United States Veteran who served during the Vietnam War.

Mr. Solomon was stationed in Lackland Airforce Base, he was selected to be a mechanic for his expertise and knowledge of repairing and assembling airplanes. In Mr. Solomon’s home, you will find numerous models of planes decorated with the traditional colors of the F104-Fighter planes and the Douglas DC3 planes, all which Mr. Solomon had assembled, dissembled, fixed, cleaned. Mr. Solomon worked on planes such as the C124, C118, P38 Fighter, and the C121 which he stated, “this was the most beautiful plane ever built”. Mr. Solomon said he will never forget his fellow comrades and the unification they all shared to take care of one another; to always provide servitude, dignity, shared values and most importantly faith and unity with one another.

Mr. Solomon’s spirit, strength and humor can still be felt and seen every day. His art and Greek mythological statues and images that can be found in his home, remind him of living in Greece for a short duration of his life.  Mr. Solomon loves to spend his time with his family and his many pets.

Hospice in the Pines was honored to acknowledge his service to our country through the We Honor Veterans pinning ceremony. Mr. Solomon’s dedicated service is a glimpse at the wonderful and beautiful life he has lived. We are forever grateful for his service.

National Home Care & Hospice Month – Share Your Story with ACHC!

November is National Home Care & Hospice Month, and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s (NHPCO) theme for this year is “It’s about how you live!”

ACHC wants to hear how your agency lives out this motto! Help us raise awareness about home care and hospice services by sharing an example of how you help your patients achieve a better quality of life. Email us your story at ainfo@achc.org, comment on our Facebook page, or tag us on Twitter.

At the end of the month we will select one participating agency to win a $50 Starbucks gift card! We will also be featuring your stories on the ACHC Blog, social media, and in the ACHC Today e-newsletter.

If you are looking for ways to celebrate and raise awareness about home care and hospice services this month, check out the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) list of Celebration Ideas.

In this season of thanksgiving, we want you to know how grateful we are for the high-quality care you bring to your patients. We are truly blessed to be your accreditation partner!

Now Available: ACHC Home Health Standards & Educational Resources – Revised Medicare CoPs

On January, 9, 2017, CMS finalized the first major revision to the Medicare Home Health Conditions of Participation (CoPs) in more than 20 years. The implementation date for these new CoPs is January 13, 2018 and the phase-in date for Performance Improvement Projects is July 13, 2018, with all other QAPI requirements effective January 13, 2018.

The revised ACHC Home Health Accreditation Standards, which incorporate the new CoPs, are now available to download on Customer Central. In accordance with the implementation date, ACHC will begin surveying against these new standards on January 13, 2018.

As always, agencies must adhere to the most stringent regulations. Requirements deleted from the CoPs may still be valid in your state, so check state licensure requirements, as applicable, prior to revising any current practice.

We know that with these revisions comes heightened anxiety and concern regarding the ability to demonstrate compliance. ACHC has developed tools and resources to help educate providers on the expectations for compliance with the new CoPs and ACHC Accreditation Standards:

Accreditation University

Customer Central