Home Health Care Certification

What exactly is home health care and how do you enter this booming market? As indicated by its name, home health care is simply health care provided for those that require assistance in their home. It shouldn’t be confuse from basic home care, which does not account for the trained medical care that is provided.

In most cases, simple home care involves meeting the day to day needs of your loved one, like shopping, cleaning and errand running, and is mostly provided by friends or family. On occasion a companion is hired to perform these tasks. In contrast, home health care is usually provided by a trained professional. This may be a nurse, a therapist, or a home health aide.

To become a home health care professional, you will be required to receive some type of training. The training focus will usually center on home safety in regards to the patient. You will also receive training on how to deliver professional personal care, and how to properly use the equipment needed to assist those requiring home health care services.

The training required for the various positions can vary from on the job training to more advanced training that requires certification or a degree. The largest organization that offers training for home health care certification is the National Association for Home Care and Hospice. They offer various certification programs.

If you are in a current management position, you may want to become certified as a Home Care and Hospice Executive. If you want to receive a certification in the hands on training area, you can apply for the Home Care Aide National Certification program. No matter which certification you seek, you will need to re-certify every four years.

For the home care aides, the certification process will involve three elements that you must pass. You must pass the Training portion, the Skills Demonstration, and the Written Examination. The training portion requires a curriculum of 75 hours. This training will give you the medical skills to become fully certified.

The Skills Demonstration portion involves demonstrating competency in seventeen various skills. Demonstration of this competency comes from observation and documentation. The Written Examination is administered by the Home Care University. Obtaining your certification will ensure patients and clients that you are providing them with a higher standard of home care aide.

Whether you desire to enter this field in a management position, or as a hands-on care provider, the home health care industry has an increased need for professionals in this field. Because of our aging population, the need is expected to continue to rise through the next ten years or so. Obtaining your certification in this area will give you a leg up on your competition.

Home Health Care, an Alternative to Nursing Homes

More and more people are choosing home health care as an alternative to entering assisted living facilities. There are different levels of care available to individuals who wish to remain in their homes but who need a little extra help. Having these options make it possible for lots of folks to stay in their houses longer and live their own lives. There are several compelling reasons families are choosing this for their loved ones.

Better for the Well-Being of the Patient

Studies have shown that being allowed to stay at home and to maintain some level of independence is better for the patient’s overall health. Feeling “put away” can cause feelings of depression or hopelessness, which in turn may cause increased health problems. If a patient has a say in their own care, they feel much better and their body can recover and heal more efficiently. This is true even if they do decide to enter a nursing home, but simply having the option is a big help.

Comfortable and Convenient

When the time comes when someone needs a little special attention or care, it is important for them to be as comfortable as possible. A big change in their health condition is stressful enough. Sometimes, the best decision is to make sure they can stay in their own home where everything is familiar, so that there aren’t as many drastic changes all at once.

Not having to pack a bag or decide what can stay or go is another benefit to home health care. Everything is as it always was, but now there is someone there to help with the details.

Affordable

The old stereotype about home health care is that it is not affordable except for the super-rich. This is not at all the case. An ever increasing number of health insurance providers are covering this type of care, and certain government programs can offer financial assistance.

Easier on Families

Home health care is a wonderful blessing for couples who need help for one person but not the other. The couple can stay together in their own home, but without the pressure of one person having to provide constant assistance to the other. The strain is off the partner, and the couple can simply enjoy being together. This also has health benefits for the partner.

Kids, grandkids, brothers and sisters might be helping out with the health care needs of an individual just so they can stay at home. With a home health care provider, the patient will receive professional assistance. The family members also benefit, because when they come to visit they can just spend quality time together instead of concerning themselves with all the health issues.

Home health care is a welcome option for many folks who are trying to decide how to plan for the future in light of their physical requirements. While a nursing home is still a very good option for many people, it is reassuring that there are choices out there to fit everyone’s individual needs.

5 Things To Consider When Integrating Your Home Health Care With Medicare

Medicare can be perplexing, all the more so when you combine complex health issues and the need for medical aids such as oxygen or hospital beds. While the insurance maze can be difficult to traverse, an estimated 47.5 million people received this program in 2010, which is more than a sixth of the nation’s population.

Here is a brief overview and some answers to some commonly asked questions regarding Medicare and home health care.

1. Who qualifies?

Medicare is a national health insurance program provided by the U.S. government for those who are:

- 65 and older

- Under 65 with certain disabilities

- Diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), a form of permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant

2. What types of services does Medicare cover?

Medicare has four different coverage sections: Part A, B, C, and D. “Original Medicare” consists of Part A & B, while Part C is known as “Medicare Advantage Plan”. These four parts are summarized briefly:

- Medicare Part A: Hospital Insurance

* Part A covers care while in hospital as well as health care in skilled nursing facilities, home health care, and hospice.

- Medicare Part B: Medical Insurance

* Part B covers doctor’s visits as well as visits to other health care providers. Additionally, Part B covers hospital outpatient care, durable medical equipment (like intravenous infusion devices), and home health care services. Part B also covers specific types of preventative services, such as getting certain vaccinations.

- Medicare Part C: Medicare Advantage

* Part C combines health plan options you purchase from other private insurance companies approved by Medicare. Part C also integrates Medicare Prescription drug coverage (Part D) and can be tailored to include extra benefits at an extra cost.

- Medicare Part D: Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage

* Part D covers the prescription of Medicare-approved prescription drugs and can lower the cost of other medications. Similar to Part C, Medicare-approved private insurance companies also run Part D.

3. Why do I need to choose between Medicare plans?

The choice of “Original Medicare” (Parts A & B) entails payment of monthly premiums for part B and may necessitate additional coverage to pay deductibles and coinsurance to see physicians, hospitals, and other providers who accept Medicare. If you require Prescription drug coverage, you must pay a monthly premium to join the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).

The “Medicare Advantage Plan” (Part C, which covers Part A & B), also requires the payment of monthly premiums in addition to the Part B premium & a copayment for in-plan doctors, hospitals. If prescription medications are not covered by your supplemental coverage, you have the option of joining the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).

As with prescription medications, you can purchase supplemental coverage to cover services not covered by Medicare. The “Original Medicare” plan allows for the option of buying Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap), while the “Medicare Advantage Plan” does not.

It is prudent to always check if you can take advantage of other additional coverage through your employer or union, military, or Veteran’s benefits.

4. Is home health care covered by Medicare?

The Medicare website states, “Medicare only covers home health care on a limited basis as ordered by your doctor”. As reviewed earlier, Parts A & B are the Medicare options which cover the home health care services specified by Medicare.

Coverage of home health care by Medicare in New Mexico stipulates you must meet the following criteria:

- You are currently receiving regular services from a physician. This physician must also maintain a care plan unique to you, which is reviewed regularly.

- Your physician must certify a “need” for specific medical services such as requirements for intravenous medication therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, or speech-language pathology services.

- The home health care agency providing you services must be Medicare-certified (for more details see below).

- Your physician must certify your health status as homebound, which is indicated by the following:

* Your health condition limits you from leaving the house.

* You are unable travel from home without help (i.e. transportation assistance such as aids or individuals).

* Leaving your home takes considerable effort and may be detrimental to your health condition.

5. My home health company does not take Medicare, why is this?

The Medicare-approval process is lengthy and costly, so while it may appear that many companies may not take Medicare, they may actually be in the process of becoming Medicare certified.

Furthermore, the Medicare criteria for individual qualifying to receive home health care are very strict; the reality is that many people who may apply for coverage by Medicare for their approved home health company services will not actually receive coverage. Currently, Medicare pays only about half of all health care costs to seniors. Medicare very often denies payment due to not meeting criteria, so it is essential to be aware if you meet these criteria prior to restricting yourself exclusively to Medicare-approved home health care companies.

It is crucial not to become overwhelmed by the complexities of Medicare, as there is a vast wealth of information on the Internet.