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Home Health Care Providers
Finding appropriate home health and hospice care providers requires some research. You will need to consult with your physician to evaluate your home health or hospice care needs. When looking for a provider, consider the following:

* Quality of care
* Availability of services
* Personnel training and expertise
* Payer coverage

When evaluating the quality of a provider, you may encounter the following terms:

* Licensure - Some states require providers to have licenses to operate. Basic legal and operating requirements mandated by the state must be met to obtain a license.

* Bonding - A bond is a type of insurance policy for a provider. To become "bonded," a provider must pay a set amount. The bond protects the provider from bankruptcy in the event of a lawsuit by a consumer.

* Certification - State certification by state health departments makes a home health or hospice care provider eligible for Medicare (and sometimes Medicaid) payments. To become certified, a provider must meet basic federal and state standards in patient care and financial management. Certified health care professionals are certified by their respective national organizations. The certification usually requires passing a national test and/or work experience.

* Accreditation - Nationally recognized accrediting organizations evaluate and accredit quality health care services. A provider must voluntarily seek out this accreditation.

When choosing a provider, consider asking the following questions:

* How many years has the provider been serving the community?
* Does the provider have literature describing its services, cost, and funding?
* Is an evaluation of the patient's home health care needs required?
* Is there a written plan of care for the patient?
* When are caregivers available?
* Is there a nursing supervisor on-call 24 hours a day?
* Can the provider ensure patient confidentiality?
* How is quality of care and services monitored?
* What types of payments are accepted?

Also, always check the provider's BBB Reliability Report.

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