An Oasis of Information- Home Health Care Providers

Posted by admin | April 11, 2017 , (0) comments

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As more Baby Boomers hit retirement age, the number of patients seeking home health care is on the rise. Every time a home health care provider begins working with a new patient, they must begin by filling out an Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) report. OASIS data must also be collected at 60-day follow up appointments and when the patient is discharged. Understanding the ins and outs of the start-of-care form is essential for success in the home health care industry.

The Importance of the Initial Report

 Filling out start-of-care OASIS forms can seem like an unnecessarily complicated hassle, especially as providers are trying to get to know a new patient, but there are several key reasons why accurate, comprehensive reporting is so important for home health agencies:

A) Medicare/Medicaid Reimbursement. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services require OASIS data collection for reimbursement of services for all patients (except maternity and pediatric patients)

B) Providing Better Care. The information collected on the initial OASIS form can be used to monitor the quality of the care process and the patient’s overall health outcomes. Based on this data, agencies can design strategies to offer better care for their patients.

C) Regulatory Compliance. OASIS data can be used to ensure that the agency remains in strict compliance with all laws and regulations.

What Needs to Be Reported During the Start-of-Care Appointment?

 There are many basic data items that need to be included on the form, including:

A. Sociodemographic data

B.Environmental information

C.Patient support system

D.Patient health status

The last of these is perhaps the most important. During the start-of-care appointment, providers need to provide a primary diagnosis that serves as a justification for home health care, as well as a baseline for evaluating health outcomes at follow-up and discharge appointments. Providers also need to report secondary diagnoses for coexisting conditions that may affect the treatment that the patient needs, whether or not it is directly related to the condition identified with the primary diagnosis. However, it is important to note that if a secondary condition has not been officially diagnosed, or if it will not impact the type of care that the home health agency will be providing, it does not need to be reported on the OASIS form.

Beyond the OASIS Form

Off-course, like so many medical forms, OASIS forms are necessary, but not sufficient, for comprehensive patient assessment. Many agencies have additional requirements for conducting start-of-care evaluations in order to ensure that all of the patient’s needs are addressed from the start, and that the agency has access to any data that might be helpful in the medical coding and billing process, as well as for future process outcome improvement efforts.

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