Anne Osmer Reporting

The U.S. government’s Medicare.gov Web site can be a great resource for finding all kinds of information related to Medicare and what it covers, from enrollment information, to prescription drug plans, to billing procedures and more. 

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Some of the really useful features on the Web site are under “Search Tools.”  Here you can compare different Medicare providers, including home health care agencies, by clicking on categories such as “Compare Home Health Agencies in Your Area.” 

The Web pages for home health agencies provide contact information for Medicare-certified agencies as well as “Quality Measures” information.  The quality measures show how well home health agencies provide care for their patients, by comparing how patients fare in various measures, for example the percentage who improve at walking or moving around.  You can select up to 10 agencies to compare.

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Once you’ve selected your area and the 10 agencies you’re interested in comparing, you can select the measures you’re interested in comparing, such as “percentage of patients who stay at home after an episode of home health care ends” or “percentage of patients who get better at bathing.”  You can also select all measures if you’re interested in seeing how the prospective agencies compare in a variety of ways.

The results page gives you information for each agency individually, but there is a very useful tool comparing all agencies side by side – unfortunately, it’s a bit hard to find.  On the bottom left of the results page there’s a button, “Compare Quality Measures” – click on that and presto!  The agencies you’ve selected and how they measure up appear in a handy comparison chart, complete with bar graph.

It may take some digging, but the Medicare.gov Web site can yield some very useful information when it comes to finding a Medicare-certified provider.

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