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Frequently Asked Questions: Home Health Care
Are all VNAs the same company?
No. Each Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) is a separate company. Most are private, non-profits home health care agencies, but a few are for-profit. Visiting Nurse Associations were typically founded by local towns at the turn of the last century to provide public health services. Most have now grown and merged to create larger, regional agencies that compete with each other for referrals.
Aren't all VNAs pretty much alike?
Not really. While most VNAs are certified by Medicare and provide a core of similar services (visiting nurses, home health aides, physical occupational and speech therapy, social work), there are significant differences in patient satisfaction, staff ability and stability, clinical outcomes and in their flexibility and customer service.
Do patients have a choice of home health care agencies?
Yes. By law, patients must be allowed to choose a preferred agency. They are not required to use the agency based in the patient’s town or a hospital-owned agency.
Why all the paperwork for home care patients?
Medicare and Medicaid require it. Medicare Form 485 (the care plan certification form) must be signed for every 60 day certification period. Nurses are legally required to obtain a telephone order every time the treatment plan or medications change.
Can I get paid for ordering and coordinating care for Medicare home health care patients?
Yes. Medicare will pay physicians for initial certification and each recertification. It is also possible, but cumbersome, to bill Medicare for Care Plan Oversight (CPO). For written instructions on how to bill see How Physicians Can Get Paid for Signing the Plan of Care
Why should I order home health care?
Our home health care staff is your “eyes and ears” in the home—providing clinical observations that can help you monitor and adjust your patient’s plan of care. Through patient and family teaching, our staff helps patients adhere to the treatment plan you have prescribed. Home care can reduce unnecessary hospitalizations. Patients and families appreciate the care, support and peace of mind that home care provides. When Home Care Makes Sense
How do I order home health care or make a referral?
Simply call VNA Community Healthcare, 203.458.4275, and speak to an Transition Care (Intake) Nurse. You’ll discuss the patient’s demographic, insurance and clinical information, as well as the types of services required. We’ll let you know if we can accept the case and will arrange to have a nurse meet with the patient and family for an initial assessment. How to Make a Referral
When will Medicare cover home care?
Medicare will cover home health care if:
• the patient is homebound
• home care is needed to appropriately treat the medical condition
• there is a plan of care approved and signed by a physician
• skilled services are required (nursing, physical therapy or speech therapy) that could not be performed by a nonmedical person
• care is intermittent or part time
• and/or the patient is expected to improve, goals are set and progress is seen.
Why should I choose VNA Community Healthcare?
Potential members of our staff are thoroughly screened with reference checks, police checks and drug testing. As our employees, they receive regular performance evaluations and participate in an ongoing program of continuing education.
We are state licensed, accredited by the Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP), and certified by Medicare. VNA Community Healthcare is an independent and non-profit organization. Descriptions of our Home Health Services and Life-at-Home Services
Have Other Questions About Home Care?
Contact Barbara Katz, RN, MSN at 203.458.4232.
Professional staff participate in annual competency review and education