Find answers to help your patients

Common Questions

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How can home health and hospice care help my patients?

Medical professionals who have chronically ill patients often have to navigate home health and hospice care options. At Amedisys, we focus on delivering the care that’s best for your patients, whether that is home-based care focused on empowering your patients to manage a chronic disease, palliative care for those with a terminal illness, or hospice care at the end of life.

Amedisys Home Health Care provides comprehensive support for patients with chronic diseases and post-acute care needs. Our Home Health Care team works closely with physicians to coordinate all aspects of patient care for chronic diseases including CHF, diabetes, kidney disease and COPD. We also have advanced home-based health care methods for treating wounds, managing behavioral health issues, stroke recovery, pain management and rehab therapy.

Our Hospice Care team provides treatment and comfort for people facing a life-limiting illness. Amedisys offers a support system of medical, social, psychological and spiritual services that promote dignity and affirm quality of life. Our comprehensive and specialized care allows patients, family members, and other loved ones to make choices about what is important to them.

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What types of patients are eligible for hospice care?

The hospice benefit is intended primarily for individuals with a terminal illness whose life expectancy is six months or less, should the illness run its usual course. However, the Medicare program recognizes that not all terminal illnesses have a predictable course; therefore, the benefit is available for periods of time beyond six months. Additionally, patients are not required to be homebound in order to receive hospice care.

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What types of patients are eligible for home health care?

There are several requirements for a patient receiving home health care:

  • The patient must need either skilled nursing care on an intermittent basis or therapy services (i.e., physical/occupational/speech therapy).
  • The patient must be restricted in their ability to leave home, and their homebound status must be certified by a physician.
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How does Medicare define homebound status?

A normal inability to leave home such that absences from home are infrequent and of relatively short duration.  Any absences should require a considerable and taxing effort.  Likewise, absence that require an assistive device or the aid of another person may also be permissible for the homebound patient.  Similarly, a person may leave home for medical treatment which cannot be provided in the home.

We've developed a free, plain-language guide to help clarify the factors to consider when determining a patient's homebound status. The FAQs, case studies and simple two-step evaluation process can help empower physicians to ensure their patients receive the care they truly require.

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How does Amedisys’ Care Transitions program help keep my patients’ recovery on track?

Our Care Transitions program is designed to reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions through patient and caregiver health coaching and care coordination, starting in the hospital and continuing throughout completion of the patient’s home health plan of care. Launched in April 2010, Care Transitions is offered to patients at all Amedisys care centers nationwide and overseen by Care Transitions coordinators, all of whom are licensed clinicians.

Elements of the program include:

  • Educating patients about managing their chronic condition(s) prior to hospital discharge and throughout their care
  • Working with patients to ensure effective communication with their physicians and health care providers
  • Teaching patients how to self assess and track their health data, allowing them to determine when action needs to be taken
  • Setting personal health goals and building action plans to make changes in their life and health
  • Creating a realistic medication management system
  • Ensuring physician follow-up appointments

Our Care Transitions model strives to ensure coordinated care by all a patient’s health care providers and has proven to be invaluable to a patient’s recovery process. Patient education and coaching every step of the way empowers patients to take charge of their own health.

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How do I make a referral to home health care or hospice care?

If you have a patient who you believe could benefit from home health care, please contact us today. We are available through:

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Does Amedisys have a location in my patient’s community?

Amedisys is one of the nation’s largest home health and hospice care providers, with over 500 care centers nationwide. To contact the care center in your patient’s community, please visit our care center directory.

Amedisys Locations
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What does the new face-to-face requirement entail?

In November 2010, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued their final rule regarding hospice and home health face-to-face encounter requirements for 2011. As has always been the case, hospice and home health care patients must be under the direct supervision of a physician at all times, a model which Amedisys has always employed and supported.

The new CMS face-to-face regulation is designed to further ensure the physician’s active involvement in a patient’s plan of care. This regulation will have no financial impact on either the patients we care for or the physicians who refer them to us.

For hospice care patients, CMS has place the responsibility for face-to-face visits on the hospice agency. You are not expected, nor required, to make any adjustments to the care you provide to hospice patients under this rule. This new regulation will not have an impact on you, your referrals to Amedisys Hospice Care, or how you interact with our care center. If you serve as a patient’s attending physician, you will continue to serve in that capacity. However, you can expect that your patients will receive additional support and hands-on care from our team through these face-to-face encounters.

For home health care patients, CMS’s face-to-face regulations require additional visits and documentation, which we will work with you and our shared patients to manage. These requirements are only for the initial certification period, not for recertifications. For details, please review “Home Health Face-to-Face Encounter – A New Home Health Certification Requirement,” published by CMS, or visit our Face-to-Face Requirements page to learn more and discover tips for easier implementation of this requirement. 

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What type of communication can I expect from Amedisys about my patient?

Following their initial visit to assess the patient’s condition and needs, the Amedisys clinician will call your office to report their findings and to suggest and receive a plan of care. Subsequently, we’ll contact you with any change in status, problem achieving goals, or complications.

Every 60 days of the home health episode of care, our clinicians will send you a patient progress summary, and we’ll contact you again in the last five days of the episode to discuss patient status and ongoing need for home health care or possible discharge. At discharge the clinician will prepare a report for you, summarizing the care that was provided, goals achieved, any challenges, and the status of the patient at discharge.

The method of communication varies according to your preference. Some physicians prefer faxes, some want their office nurse to take the calls, and others want to speak with our clinicians directly. We’ll communicate in the manner that works best for you.

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How does Amedisys ensure the plan of care I recommend is followed?

Amedisys is a leader in home health care innovation, and we’ve developed technology that helps our clinicians accurately provide the plan of care you order. All Amedisys nurses, therapists and other clinicians are equipped with wireless, point-of-care laptops that give them instant access to our secure patient care management system. They use this system to access the patient’s plan of care, medications and history, and to document all patient information and notes recorded during the episode of care.

Additionally, you have the option to access your patient’s records and manage orders through our secure, web-based patient management portal called MercuryDoc.

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What is MercuryDoc and how can I enroll?

MercuryDoc is a web-based patient care information portal that Amedisys has developed to help you manage your home health care patients. MercuryDoc provides secure access to your patients’ records, including graphed trends and vital signs, and allows you to manage Plans of Care (485s) supplemental orders, and to more efficiently make referrals.

If you are interested in managing your home care patients via this web-based care information portal, please contact us at mercurydoc@amedisys.com or (866) 231-2676.

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Is MercuryDoc a secure site?

Yes; MercuryDoc complies with all security provisions stated in HIPAA. Representatives from the Amedisys Information Security department are available to answer physicians’ specific questions in detail, if needed.

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Do I have to install any software on my computer?

No, since MercuryDoc is an internet-based product all that is needed is access to the internet using Internet Explorer 6 or higher, Mozilla Firefox 3.5.3 or higher, or Safari 4.0 or higher.

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Where can I access MercuryDoc?

MercuryDoc can be accessed from anywhere an internet connection is available, using one of the supported browsers listed above. If you're already a MercuryDoc user, you can access the MercuryDoc login page here.

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Can MercuryDoc interface with our current EMR?

MercuryDoc contains an Order Export feature allowing a signed order be exported as an image file (PDF, JPG, or TIFF), which can then be uploaded into a patient’s file in an EMR.

At this time, MercuryDoc does not directly interface with any EMRs, although research is underway to develop select EMR interfaces. For some EMRs, a link to MercuryDoc may be able to be placed with the EMR interface. Please direct any EMR interface requests to mercurydoc@amedisys.com, and be sure to include the name of your practice, request, and current EMR name.

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Who can access MercuryDoc?

MercuryDoc can be accessed by anyone who has been set up with a login. Physicians and their office staff have individual logins, each with designated permissions.