What's new with Amedisys

CME Webinar: Goals of Care and Hospice Eligibility

Posted 11/25/2013 Categories: patient goals of care, webinar, hospice

November is National Home Health and Hospice Month, so we teamed up with Antidote CME on a series of webinars to help you ensure your patients have access to the home-based care they need.

Today’s featured webinar is about one of the most challenging situations a physician can face: caring for a patient when the options for curative treatment have been exhausted. This short webinar will give you tips on preparing for and having these conversations, and how to know when a patient is appropriate for hospice.

It's Not Easy, but It's Not That Hard: Discussing Goals of Care and Hospice Eligibility

Length: 29 minutes
Topics: • Discussing patient goals of care up front
• Preparing for an having difficult conversations
• Hospice eligibility requirements
CME: .5 ACCME AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
Launch Webinar ›

Check out the first webinar in this series on home health care, or visit our education and resources page for more about home health and hospice care.

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CME Webinar: Home Health Outcomes and Eligibility

Posted 11/22/2013 Categories: homebound, webinar, home health

November is National Home Health and Hospice Month, so we teamed up with Antidote CME on a series of webinars to help you ensure your patients have access to the home-based care they need.

Today’s webinar delves into the medical benefits home health care provides -- preventing hospitalizations, improving patient outcomes and reducing health care costs – and how to assess patients for home health eligibility.

Health Care at Home: Patient Benefits, Outcomes and Eligibility

Length: 23 minutes
• Why health care at home - prevented hospitalizations, improved patient outcomes, reduced health care spending
• Patient eligibility requirements – homebound status, medical necessity and face-to-face documentation
CME: .5 ACCME AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
Launch Webinar ›

We’ll be publishing the second webinar in this series on hospice care next week, so subscribe to the Amedisys blog or check back soon! For more information about home health and hospice care, check out our education and resources page.

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CMS Issues New PECOS Enrollment Deadline: January 6

Posted 11/20/2013 Categories: healthcare reform, CMS, PECOS, care plan oversight

Beginning January 6, 2014, CMS will begin denying claims for Medicare home health services or supplies from all physicians not registered in PECOS. The new regulation, which is a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was originally announced in October 2009, but enforcement has been delayed until now.

Access to home health care services is vitally important for many Medicare patients, so physicians who care for Medicare patients should enroll in PECOS by January 6 so their patients can continue to receive the care they need.

Guide to PECOS Enrollment

Amedisys has developed a one-page guide, 5 Steps to PECOS Enrollment, to help physicians complete PECOS registration quickly and easily. It contains:

  • the steps to enrolling
  • information to gather before enrolling
  • where to contact for help with PECOS or Medicare enrollment

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is PECOS?

PECOS stands for Provider, Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System. It is a database for physicians who have registered with CMS.

2. When does CMS plan to turn on the edits/begin enforcing the rule?

CMS has announced they'll now turn on the edits and begin enforcing this rule on January 6, 2014. While the deadline has been moved in the past, we have no reason to believe it will be moved again. It would be prudent to complete PECOS enrollment before January 6th.

3. What if I don’t bill for Medicare? Do I still need to enroll in PECOS?

In some circumstances, a physician may order and refer home health services, but not bill for Medicare. These physicians are still required to be enrolled in PECOS. CMS has identified several unique enrollment issues for certain physicians and has abbreviated their enrollment process. Physicians that fall under one of the following categories can either enroll in PECOS online or fill out and submit the form CMS-855-O:

  • Physicians employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Physicians employed by the Public Health Service (including Indian Health Services)
  • Physicians employed by the Department of Defense Tricare program
  • Physicians employed by Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) or Critical Access Hospitals(CAHs)
  • Physicians in a Fellowship
  • Dentists, including oral surgeons

4. What if I don’t want to be enrolled in Medicare?

In PECOS, you have the option to opt out of Medicare. This way, you will be able to continue ordering home health services for your Medicare patients.

For More Information

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Medication Management Interventions Reduced Avoidable Hospital Readmissions

Posted 11/6/2013 Categories: medication management, readmission rates, hospitalizations, research, home health

At Amedisys, we're dedicated to identifying post-acute care interventions that can help reduce avoidable hospital readmissions. That's why we worked with Purdue University and HealthStatRx to conduct a study that highlights a medication therapy management intervention to help patients better manage their medications and prevent unnecessary admissions and readmissions.

Our results showed that the patients in the moderate-risk category had a readmission rate that was eight percentage points lower than the patients in the control group.

The medication therapy management study focused on:

  • Risk-stratifying of patient population and modeling the probability of hospitalization during the home health episode of care.
  • Engaging a pharmacist to review patient charts for any possible triggers; with the pharmacist proactively notifying the Amedisys care team including the physician and home health caregivers if any issues were identified.
  • Having the pharmacist directly engage the patient via a phone call immediately upon admission to home health to educate them on their evaluation of their medication/s and also conducting follow-up calls directly with the patient between day seven and day 30.
  • Collaboration between the pharmacist, physician, patient and the Amedisys care team to resolve any identified problems.

“Our findings indicate that patients in risk level 1, who can take medications independently and have fairly good functional health, benefit from this type of intervention,” stated Dr. Alan J. Zillich, PharmD, Associate Professor of Pharmacy at Purdue University and lead investigator on this study.

“This study also shows that a strong relationship exists between the probability of hospitalization, the patient risk score and the total number of medications a patient is on,” stated Julie Lewis Sutherland, vice president of research and development for Amedisys. “Just as we hypothesized, post-acute care interventions can make a positive impact on preventing issues the elderly may have with their complicated medication regimes; ultimately resulting in lower readmissions.”

More than 40% of people over the age of 65 take five or more medications, and each year, about one-third of them experience a serious, adverse drug event, like a bone-breaking fall, disorientation, inability to urinate or even heart failure.

Read the full case study to learn more on how post-acute medication management can help reduce preventable hospitalizations and readmissions.

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New Survey: Hospitals’ Strategies for Reducing Readmissions

Posted 10/11/2013 Categories: home health, readmission rates, chronic care

There’s a consensus emerging around strategies for reducing preventable readmissions: partnering with home healthcare is a strategy that 73% of senior hospital leaders are adopting to lower preventable readmissions. And 60% of hospitals have already selected home healthcare partners.

These findings are from a new report titled, “Readmission Reduction Strategies for Hospitals & Health Systems” and based on two surveys conducted by the Health Leaders Intelligence Unit that aim to help hospital quality professionals understand emerging readmissions strategies.

With Medicare imposing up to 2% reimbursement penalties on hospitals with high readmission rates, patient outcomes after discharge have become a higher priority for hospital executives. Financial pressure leaves hospital leaders in search of strategies that will reduce readmissions without significant cost and disruption to existing operations. This report provides insight from their peers on how other hospitals are approaching this challenge.

Other key findings include:

  • The role of preventive care and care coordination in preventing readmissions
  • The variety of post-acute strategies hospitals are using to reduce readmissions
  • The criteria hospitals are using to help select home healthcare partners

Download the full survey report: “Readmission Reduction Strategies for Hospitals & Health Systems”.

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