Patient Choice Advice
How to Find an Approved Agency
You have the right to choose the home health agency from which you get services. Your choice should be honored by your doctor, hospital discharge planner or other referring agency.
It is important to remember that Medicare only pays for home health services that are provided by a home health agency that meets Medicare’s quality standards. Medicare inspects home health agencies every year to assure these standards are met.
You can find a Medicare approved Home Health agency by: asking your doctor or hospital discharge planner, a senior community referral service, or other community agencies involved with your health care. You can also refer to the telephone directory Yellow Pages under “home care” or “home health care”. Look for home health care agencies that indicate they are Medicare certified.
Before you select an agency, ask these important questions:
- Is the agency approved for participation in the Medicare program?
- How long has the agency been serving the community?
- Does it provide the services I need?
- What arrangements are made for emergencies?
- Are the agency’s caregivers available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
- Will I be charged for any services/supplies?
- Would these services/supplies be covered under the home health benefit, if the home health agency included the services on the bill to Medicare?
- What role will my family and I have in creating the plan of care?
- Does the agency educate family members on the type of care being provided?
- Who supervises the home health care plan?
- Does the supervisor make regular visits to the home?
- Whom can I call with questions or complaints?
- What happens if a care provider does not come when scheduled?
- Will the agency be in regular contact with my doctor?
Also ask the home health agencies for names of former clients. Contact the clients and ask if they were pleased with the care provided and whether they would use the agency again.