Home Health Compare is the section of the Medicare website that reports on home health agency performance and patient satisfaction. Anyone can go to the website, enter in their home zip code, and receive information about home health agencies who have provided services in their area. This allows consumers to review and compare patient improvement and satisfaction with services provided by agencies to make an informed choice for their healthcare needs. All Medicare-certified home health agencies who submit OASIS data and/or participate in HHCAHPS are included.

How does it work?

Once the home zip code has been entered, a list of agencies who have served in that zip code appears with agency name, phone number, quality of patient care star rating and patient survey summary star rating. The user can choose up to three agencies to compare side-by-side. Once the agencies have been chosen, the user clicks to compare them. The comparison lists the services provided by each agency, quality of patient care compared to each other and state and national averages, and patient satisfaction survey results compared to each other and state and national averages.

General Information

The General Information reported on home health compare includes the ownership type, Medicare certification date, services offered and the contact phone number. This allows potential clients to ensure that the agency they are seeking offers the services they are looking for. It also lets them know how long the agencies have been certified.

Quality of Patient Care

The Quality of Patient Care section lists the overall star ratings and the individual reportable outcome items from the agency’s OASIS submissions. Items like “How often patients got better at walking or moving around” and “How often patients’ wounds improved or healed after an operation” give important data to patients about which agency has statistically better outcomes in key areas where they may require improvement. For example, patients who are concerned about re-hospitalization can review the “Preventing unplanned hospital care” section to narrow their choices to agencies with low percentages of hospital admissions.

The data used to report these items comes from clinician OASIS documentation and hospital claims. For the item “How often patients got better at walking or moving around” listed above, CMS uses M1860 from the OASIS to calculate the performance, taking into account any cognitive issues identified in M1700, M1710, and M1720 to exclude nonresponsive patients. Information about how specific OASIS items are used is located in the Home-Health-Outcome-Measures-Table-OASIS-C2_August_2018 PDF file in the Downloads section at the bottom of the CMS Home Health Quality Measures page. Note that files are not listed by date so be sure to review the complete list.

Patient Survey Results

The Patient Survey Results section lists the overall star ratings and the individual reportable outcome items from the agency’s HHCAHPS submissions. Metrics are given about personnel professionalism and communication as well as overall ratings and recommendations. This section also reports on whether the clinician discussed medicines, pain, and home safety with patients. At a glance, patients and family members can view how other patients perceived their care experience.

Using reports for QAPI

The real value of Home Health Compare is to direct your QAPI focus and to provide performance metrics for clinicians and management. Through these reports, you can demonstrate how your agency has documented improvement in OASIS items and what your patients think about their service. Comparisons can be drawn to your direct competitors and state and national averages. You can utilize these reports to identify areas where your agency appears to underperform.

You can review the official datasets on Data.Medicare.gov. This website will give you files you can download to Microsoft Access or .csv files that can be opened in worksheet programs like Microsoft Excel. You can filter data based on state, city and zip code among other criteria to provide comparisons to other agencies in your area.

After Identification

As with other QAPI reports we have discussed in past articles, it is important to keep in mind that this data takes a long time to compile and report. For example, this article is being written in October, 2018 and the Current data collection period referenced is October, 2016 through September, 2017 for quality items and January, 2017 through December, 2017 for patient survey results.

We recommend using CASPER and HHCAHPS reports from your vendor for more updated information for review and monitoring of metrics. Though for the most current data for evaluation, nothing beats the good old fashioned chart audit.

More Information

If you would like more information about Home Health Compare, check out the official website. To submit questions about this article, connect with us on Facebook.