Why would anyone not choose the highest rated home care agency?

by Amy Potter - Wednesday, July 05, 2017
This question has perplexed me since July, 2015 when Medicare began rating home health agencies using the one to five star ranking system. Home Therapy was one of only 289 agencies out of 10,000 in the nation to be ranked five stars. Our outstanding team has never failed to earn this rating since that time. The five star rating really seems to matter to patients and family members who take the time to do research on the best home care available. It has mattered to a few physician practices but, not that many in the scheme of things and we have yet to see that it makes a difference to Case Managers working on discharge plans on behalf of patients in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.

The star ratings were implemented to assist seniors, their family members, doctors, hospital and skilled nursing facility case managers distinguish between poor, average and exceptional home care providers. There is a star rating for clinical outcomes and another for patient experience as reported by the patient. The ratings are updated every quarter and can be found at https://www.medicare.gov/homehealthcompare/search.html.

Knowing a good from bad home care agency was difficult before the star system. Most physicians’ offices and case managers made decisions primarily on the popularity of the sales representative, the insurance accepted or the location served. But, since 7/15 these professionals have a defined and proven rating system for Medicare patients to enable them to choose a highly rated agency vs a mediocre agency or a bad agency. They simply can go to the Medicare website and compare up to three agencies at a time. Homecare Compare allows the viewer to immediately see the star ratings for each agency. It is a simple process. Further, for those case managers and physician offices with whom we communicate on a regular basis we actually provide them with an updated comparison of the star ratings for many of the home care agencies in our area. 

So why would a person acting in the best interest of a Medicare beneficiary not choose the highest rated agency available? I have some insight as to why but, remain perplexed.

If you are a senior on Medicare, it is your right to choose the home health agency you want to serve you. I hope if you live in Hays, Travis or Williamson counties you will tell your doctor or case manager that you want a five star agency – you want Home Therapy of Austin, LLC. It would be our honor to work with you.