COVID-19 affects on STARS and Outcomes data
We all know a decrease in patient census due to COVID-19 has taken a large toll on most areas of health care including home health. The increase in LUPAs, no visit discharges (due to patient refusal), scarcity of the proper PPE, and decrease in referrals have all combined to make the home health landscape exceedingly difficult. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), about 67% of all home health agencies have seen their LUPA rates at least double, with large and small providers both affected.
Around the country lay-offs, decreases in pay, and even some agency closures have been reported.
Another side effectpredicted from the pandemic concerns a large dip in STARS outcomes data.Although CMS announced it will not count data beginning January 1, 2020-June 30, 2020.Data will again be counted startingnext week- July 1, 2020. The extent of this problem is becoming more evident as our customer's data and STAR projections for the 2nd quarter of 2020 are nearing completion.
Below is a real example of data trends we are seeing. This agency's current CMS STARS rating published on Medicare.gov is 4.5.Our projections based on agency data stay very consistent with that score through QTR 1 2020. What the data shows in April, May and the beginning of June is alarming. This agency needs to make every effort to correct this data pattern before July 1st.
QTR 1 2020
QTR 2 2020
Number of Episodes
Improvement in Oral Meds
Improvement in Ambulation
Improvement in Bed Transfer
Improvement in Bathing
Improvement in Pain
Individual data scores for this agency have decreased by up to 80% in just one QTR. Leading to an overall decrease of 44% in the combined STAR predictor.
When patient’s refuse visits and demand early discharge, goals are not met so outcomes and STARS go down. An overall decrease in census further serves to concentrate the bad data.
What can an agency do?
- Make sure the need to show the improvement your agency achieved is communicated to the patient at admission
- Add information about the visit total, tele-visits, and PPE to the consents along with the precautionsand infection control standards for your agency
- Use tele-medicine to decrease anxiety in the patient and make it possible to collect discharge data if the patient refuses the in-person discharge
- Consider making visits longer and adding more information if this is possible for the patient/ CG
- Consider an “alternate location” like garage or patio for a home visit to decrease exposure during the home care visit
OperaCare's combination of consulting and data driven quality assurance is bringing peace of mind to our users. The Operacare system empowers your agency to thrive in PDGM, RCD and any value-based model of care.
Schedule a call today to learn how you can stop worrying about unpredictable margins and frustrated clinicians, and instead increase clinician productivity while achieving stable, predictable margins!