What To Do If Your Home Health Care Agency Ditches You | Kaiser Health News

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By Judith Graham, originally released on Kaiser Health News.

This article comes to us from Kaiser Health News via a patient-consumer perspective, mirroring a mass outcry in Fall of 2019 re: therapy staff layoffs.


The reason he was given by an agency nurse? His wife was disabled but stable, and Medicare was changing its payment system for home health.

Euphrosyne “Effie” Costas-Holly, 67, has advanced multiple sclerosis. She can’t walk or stand and relies on an overhead lift system to move from room to room in their house.

Effie wasn’t receiving a lot of care: just two visits every week from aides who gave her a bath, and one visit every two weeks from a nurse who evaluated her and changed her suprapubic catheter, a device that drains urine from a tube inserted in the abdomen.

But even that little bit helped. Holly, 71, has a bad back and is responsible for his wife’s needs 24/7. Her urologist didn’t have a lift system in his office and had told the couple it was safer to have Effie’s catheter changed regularly at home.

Holly wasn’t sure what to do. Call his congressman and lodge a complaint? Write a letter to the director of the home health agency owned and operated by Hartford HealthCare Corp., one of the largest health care systems in Connecticut?

Things snapped into focus when Holly attended a late November presentation about Medicare’s home health services by Kathleen Holt, associate director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy.

If you’re told Medicare’s home health benefits have changed, don’t believe it: Coverage rules haven’t been altered and people are still entitled to the same types of services, Holt told the group. (For a complete description of Medicare’s home health benefit, click here.)

All that has changed is how Medicare pays agencies under a new system known as the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM). This system applies to home health services for older adults with original Medicare. Managed-care-style Medicare Advantage plans, which serve about one-third of Medicare beneficiaries, have their own rules.

 

What should you do if this happens to you? Experts have several suggestions:

Get as much information as possible.

Enlist your doctor’s help.

Take it up the chain of command.

Contact Medicare’s ombudsman.

File an expedited appeal.

Shop around.

Contact an advocate.


Please find the full article HERE.

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