MEDICARE FOR HOME HEALTHCARE SERVICESSep 3rd, 2012 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Social Security & Medicare
Home Health Care Services Explained
After a discussion with our 92 year old mother, we decided to include her in our move to Arizona this month (September, 2012). Careful research went into the decision on our part. We took a hard look at what is involved in removing her from nursing home/skilled nursing care and inviting home health care services into our home. These are the steps we took in making the choice to bring her home with us:
- We reviewed the home health care services that Medicare (and her supplemental health insurance policy) covers. Both skilled care and personal care are covered, but with qualifications. Skilled care is offered by nurses, physical/occupational/speech therapists and social workers. Personal care is offered by home health aides and includes services such as bathing, dressing and personal care. Medicare services require verification/referral by a medical doctor that states your elderly loved one is homebound and needs defined services.
- Next we took a look at the kinds of services available in our new community. We found Certified Home Health Agencies (CHHA), all Medicare approved and licensed by the state. They provide both skilled and personal care. The assurance with these agencies is that they have to meet defined requirements to stay in operation, and are reviewed regularly to ensure they meet the standards.
- There are also licensed home healthcare agencies that provide the same services as CHHA. They are licensed by the state, but have not gone through the rigorous process of obtaining Medicare certification. In these cases, the elderly loved one and/or family and friends are responsible for paying the cost of services.
- Then there are agencies that are not licensed and do not provide skilled care. They assist the elderly in home with cleaning, doing chores around the house and running errands. There are usually a lot of these agencies located in retirement communities.
The information provided in Medicare and Home Health Care is very good. This brochure provides a checklist of questions you need to ask before you decide about home healthcare for your elderly loved one. Other information is available on the Internet with search terms such as home “health care services” and adding the name of the community or state in question.