Home Health Business Briefs: Encompass, Ensign Group

As one of the fastest-growing sectors in the United States, home health care is teeming with activity — from acquisitions and partnerships to new leadership appointments and promotions. Here’s the latest news buzzing around the industry:

Hometown Home Health & Hospice Expanding Fleet in Central Michigan

Hometown Home Health & Hospice is expanding and upgrading its service fleet with 26 new, locally purchased Ford Focus vehicles provided by Enterprise Fleet Management. The move increases the size of the existing fleet by six vehicles to accommodate the growth of Hometown Home Health’s business in central Michigan.

Enterprise Fleet Management delivered Hometown Home Health’s first fleet of 20 vehicles in 2012. The program enacted in 2012 included plans to refresh the fleet with new vehicles after three years.

The Focus was selected because of its affordability and fuel efficiency. Each new Ford vehicle offers better fuel economy and lower emissions than many employees’ personal vehicles, some of which are older and less reliable than newer makes and models. Increasing the size of Hometown Home Health’s fleet also means fewer employees will need to seek reimbursement for mileage driven in their personal cars.

In addition to providing the vehicles, Enterprise provides vehicle registration and use reporting, as well as a fuel card program that automatically monitors fuel purchases and miles for each vehicle. Enterprise also will use local businesses to provide routine service and maintenance.  

AngMar Medical Holdings Selects Home Health Products to Implement 

National Research Corporation (NASDAQ: NRCIA and NRCIB) was recently selected by AngMar Medical Holdings, Inc. to implement its full line of OCS HomeCare products, including Home Health CAHPS (HHCAHPS) and the Healthcare Information Platform (HIP) for predictive analytics and benchmarking.

With the help of these integrated programs and personalized support, AngMar home health agencies seek to strengthen improvement of patient experiences and outcomes, while focusing on key performance measures such as 30-day hospital readmission rates.

In addition, AngMar agencies aim to more easily and effectively demonstrate value to hospitals and other providers as care coordination partners.

National Research will install its full line of home health products at all AngMar agency locations throughout 10 states, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.

Encompass Home Health & Hospice Selects HealthMEDX EMR For Private Duty Division

National home care provider Encompass Home Health & Hospice announced recently that it has selected HealthMEDX Vision as the EMR provider of choice for private duty operations in its Encompass Pediatric Services Division.

The company division provides private duty home care services to Texas- and Kansas-based children with a wide range of serious health issues that require ongoing in-home treatment.

Encompass Pediatrics will implement the Vision platform, which includes the HealthMEDX Mobile View point-of-care solution for clinicians serving private duty home care patients. Vision’s back-office functionality will help manage the complex web of billing, reimbursement and other financial aspects of Encompass’s pediatric operations.

The company recognized the need to automate, streamline and improve the overall quality of its clinical and financial operations within its pediatric division, including enhanced documentation, care planning, reporting and financial functions. Additionally, unique Texas regulations now require the use of a state-mandated telephony vendor for documentation of the thousands of pediatric home care visits completed annually by Encompass field clinicians.

Along with external challenges, Encompass’s business model called for an EMR implementation strategy that could meet their scalable size and scope requirements, both current and future.

In selecting Vision as their software platform for pediatrics, Encompass joins a growing national list of HealthMEDX home care customers in the Private Duty sector, including other organizations looking to automate and connect their home care operations across varied locations and care settings.

ABILITY Network to Help Home Health Agencies Eliminate CMS OASIS Rejections

Health care technology company ABILITY Network has launched a new service designed to help home health agencies increase the accuracy of the Outcome Assessment Information Set (OASIS), a key tool in the Medicare reimbursement process.

The OASIS data collection form is used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure standards of quality care and outcomes as provided by home health agencies. An OASIS form with errors can delay or lose Medicare reimbursement if it fails to accurately reflect services an agency has provided.

“The ABILITY | OPTIMIZE OASIS service detects errors associated with coding and plan of care inclusions and guides the home health agency to ensure the OASIS data set correctly reflects the services rendered and patient status,” said Bud Meadows, executive vice president of ABILITY Network.

The tool uses CMS requirements, clinical processes, coding, outcome requirements and best practices to create rules that spot errors and inaccuracies in the OASIS form.

A simple and intuitive user interface allows the home health provider to upload OASIS files, quickly sort analyzed assessments by inconsistency type, and view analysis results on a patient-by-patient basis, prior to submission to CMS.

The ABILITY service is designed to help home health agencies significantly reduce the amount of time spent validating the accuracy of OASIS forms, allowing for more time spent on patient care and staff education.

The Ensign Group Acquires Hospice Agency in California

The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENSG) — the parent company of the Ensign group of skilled nursing, rehabilitative care services, home health care, hospice care, assisted living and urgent care companies — announced recently that Cornerstone Healthcare, Inc., Ensign’s home health and hospice portfolio subsidiary, had acquired Buena Vista Hospice, a Medicare and Medi-Cal certified hospice agency serving the Ventura County area from an office in Westlake Village, Calif. The acquisition was effective July 1, 2015.

“We are pleased to announce this new addition to our hospice operations,” said Christopher Christensen, Ensign’s president and CEO. “Ensign has a strong presence in Ventura County, and the acquisition of Buena Vista showcases our commitment the area and our desire to build a post-acute continuum of care that will truly meet the needs of this strategic market.”

Cornerstone President and CEO Daniel Walker said he expects the operations to be accretive to earnings in 2015. With the acquisition, Cornerstone now owns 14 hospice operations, 14 home health operations and three home care operations in nine western states.

National HealthCare Corporation to Deploy LG CNS Solutions Across the Continuum

Collain Healthcare, an LG CNS Company, and National HealthCare Corporation have announced the deployment of LG CNS’ Electronic Health Record (EHR) solution for the company’s skilled nursing operations.

LG CNS is also collaborating with National HealthCare (NHC) for the deployment of an integrated EHR for its home care operations. LG CNS Population Health Cloud will also be implemented to improve coordination of care, streamline care transitions with referring partners, as well as contribute to goals for population health management across regional markets.

Telemedicine, Electronic Health Records, and the Point of Care Solution (POCS) smart mobile platform from LG CNS will be deployed across service lines. The LG CNS Population Health Cloud will unify the following in a single system: a longitudinal patient record repository, Health Information Exchange (HIE), call center integration, case management, alerts/notifications, nurse triage, telemedicine, claims integration, analytics and more. 

Written by Emily Study