We had Melinda Rodriguez from Access Quality Therapy Services (AQTS) Home Health on our show on Sunday, June 10th. On the show, Melinda mentioned the Home Health Compare website. We have provided a link so that if you want to compare home health agencies in your area, you can do so by going to their website.

Here are some highlights of the show:

About AQTS Home Health:  Local company in San Antonio that has been in business since 1994. AQTS is licensed and certified by Medicare and has received a JCAHO accreditation (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations). They serve San Antonio and Bexar County.

What is home health?  services that can be received in the home to include nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, nurse aide (personal assistance services), and medical social services.

What are the qualifications to receive home health services? First, a physician order would be required. An order can be prescribed for someone who needs medication management, a change in health condition, a recent surgery requiring therapy services.

What is homebound?  Medicare's standards are that you can leave the home for short intermittent intervals only. This could include going to church services, doctor's appointments, grocery story, or to go get one's hair cut. Usually these are seen as quality of life events.The criteria home health agencies look for is "does it take excessive energy or major effort to leave the home." If leaving the home can be a tasking event, one could qualify for home health services.  Medicare and other insurance companies may differ on the definition of "homebound".

What is your Care Transition Program?  Helps to prevent patients returning back to hospital unnecessarily. Their nurses enter the patients home within 24 hours of discharge from the hospital. The Care Transitions Coordinator meets with the patient before being discharged to go home to access that patient's needs.  They also assess patients to monitor those who may have a high risk of rehospitalization and provide "tuck In" phone calls and other programs to help keep those patients stable and at home.

What is the length of time a patient can receive home health services? The initial certification is for 60 days. A patient can be extended further with a re-certification, but a patient would need to meet criteria for extended home health services.

What does your JCAHO accreditation mean?  The Joint Commission for Accrediting Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) accredits companies who show quality outcomes for their patients. They look for patient safety, effectiveness, high quality of patient care, and getting the best value of home health care across a variety of settings. Customer Service satisfaction is also reviewed.

How is home health care paid for? Medicare, Insurance, and patients can also pay private pay for services.

The best things to look for when choosing a home health agency:  Medicare's Home Health Compare's website - whoever has best clinical outcomes, customer satisfaction surveys, as well as interview the company to see if they share same values

How to get in contact with AQTS Home Health:  You may call 210-349-0096 or go to their website at www.accessqualitycare.com



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