The Care Compare website is a tool designed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help consumers make informed hospice care and home health care decisions. Tools like the website’s star ratings offer patients and family caregivers a single platform to more easily understand how a home services provider has performed on various important metrics.
How the Care Compare Tool Helps with Hospice Care Decisions
Care Compare empowers patients and family caregivers by providing them with an easy to use and side-by-side comparison of hospice agencies and home health agencies. The star ratings give them an indication of how the provider stacks up against local competition and the national average.
The website also “helps empower families in a time of vulnerability as they look for information necessary to make important decisions about hospice care for loved ones,” said Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which developed the tool.
The data is particularly useful for long distance family caregivers; oftentimes individuals who are trying to help a loved one make a decision about hospice care in a part of the country they are less familiar with. Essentially, the tool provides a starting point for navigating care providers and targets toward a few select hospice agencies to consider and interview further.
Care Compare and COVID-19
While this tool is valuable, some recent changes have impacted the timeliness of updates and availability of the most current results. CMS has made the decision to discontinue updates on the Care Compare website for the foreseeable future so as not to penalize agencies as they navigate the challenges associated with COVID-19. However, agencies can still view their own most up-to-date star ratings, and these ratings continue to change on a quarterly basis even though the information is not readily available to consumers.
How Does Salus Hospice Compare
The most recent Care Compare results show that Salus Home Health & Hospice earns a 5-star rating based on 7 measures of quality that give a general overview of performance. This places us in the top 7% of providers nationally, with most providers earning an average of 3 to 3 ½ stars.
To maintain this high quality rating, Salus remains focused on delivering a holistic care experience centered around comfort and quality of life with the highest standards for safety. We are accredited by the Joint Commission and affiliated with CHAPCA, NHPCO, and the We Honor Veterans Program as part of this effort, and these affiliations help us to remain abreast of the most up-to-date practices and standards for quality hospice care.
Our team always encourages families to understand the benefits of affiliations and ratings and use the information to make the right choices for their individual needs. That is why we feel it’s important to share information about tools like Care Compare.
What do Care Compare Ratings Mean
And how you can use them when selecting a hospice or home health provider?
Let’s dive in and find out.
What Are the Star Ratings for Hospice and Home Health
There are two types of Care Compare star ratings used for home health and hospice care providers. They include:
- Quality of Patient Care Star Rating
- Patient Survey (HCAHPS) Star Ratings
The 7 measures included in the Quality of Patient Care Star Rating are:
- Timeliness of the Initiation of Care at Home
- Improvements in a Patient’s Ability to Ambulate
- Improvements in Independent or Assisted Bed Transferring
- Improvement in Maintaining Hygiene, Specifically Bathing
- Improvement in Labored Breathing
- Proper Management of Oral Medications
- Limiting Repeated Incidents of Acute Care Hospitalization
Hospice Patient Survey Star Ratings Explained
The Patient Survey Star Ratings are based on the results of surveys presented to patients or surviving family members after discharge from home health or home hospice care. The survey is a standardized form containing 34 questions revolving around care, communication, and specific care issues. It provides patients with the ability to rate their experience. The cumulative survey results then give CMS the ability to provide home health and hospice care providers with an overall ranking.
With regard to the patient survey star rating, it is important to recognize that survey respondents do not have the opportunity to elaborate on their answers. There is no follow up on the part of CMS after the survey is submitted. Hospice care and home health agencies are responsible for establishing their own follow-up process post-discharge. This is why it’s important to look further and gauge an agency’s responsiveness to concerns or patient needs. Tools like testimonials and other star ratings (such as Google star ratings) are valuable in determining the quality and responsiveness of an in home care provider.
Care Compare is a valuable tool that can help families to determine the right option for their home hospice and home health care needs. Using this in combination with Google reviews, patient testimonials and personal interviews with home hospice and home health agencies can make it easier to determine who you’re most comfortable with as you work toward finding the best care solution for your family.
Salus is here to help you make the right care choices for yourself or your family members. To learn more, contact us, and we’ll schedule a free, no obligation assessment with one of our knowledgeable hospice nurses or case managers.