Month: August 2015

Community Collaboration

Deer Meadows Home Health Care (DMHH), led by Administrator, Stanley Rynkiewicz, has been instrumental in ensuring a collaboration with District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund. Initially, the original interest was to hire quality nurse aides for home-based clientele; however, the partnership has grown to DMHH hiring over 6 PYN Youth Nurse Aide student graduates, active participation in 1199C job fairs, and participation in industry partnership discussions. In addition, DMHH hosted 2 summer work-ready interns and successfully engaged them in healthcare administrative work over the course of six weeks.

Staff at DMHH has been instrumental in the transitioning of youth to employment, and one administrative assistant, Kate Liggins, has been key in this process. Ms. Liggins has conducted several interviews with PYN students, and for those that land a coveted position, she ensures proper orientation and training needed. For those that aren’t the right fit, she offers helpful feedback and tips for them to consider when moving forward.

The 1199C Job Developer has communicated with students now working at DMHH and they affectionately refer to Kate as “their second mom.”

This year we intend to continue to develop our partnership with DMHH through continued job placements, participation in employer panels, and tours of their nursing facility, and job shadowing opportunities for our PYN Nurse Aide students.

Medicare Star-System Comes to Home Health

Don Sapatkin, Inquirer Staff Writer

Choosing a home health agency to care for your ailing mother or grandfather can be a challenge.

To ease that task, Medicare has begun issuing ratings – from one to five stars – to home health agencies based on quality of patient care. Nearly half of the 9,000 Medicare-certified home health agencies nationwide got average scores (three or 3.5 stars). The quick summaries are based on far more detailed information the government has long collected and posts in searchable form at www.medicare.gov.

New Jersey and Pennsylvania each had among the highest proportions of agencies with above-average ratings and the lowest that were below average. Still, only one agency in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties was rated better than average. In Pennsylvania’s four southeastern counties, 27 were.

But the markets are very different. There were 48 Medicare-certified agencies in all of New Jersey, including just seven in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties. Pennsylvania had 419 statewide, with 132 in the four southeastern counties. And New Jersey agencies had fewer outliers on either end – no place got the top rating of five stars, and none received less than 2.5.

On the other hand, the government was able to rate all but 4 percent of the New Jersey facilities. In Pennsylvania, 34 percent went unrated because the number of patient interactions was too small to report, the provider did not give data, or the locations had been certified for less than six months. Even more lacked ratings in the southeast region.

Though the overall stars may help quickly narrow down agencies to consider, the meat is in the details – and these are presented in easy-to-understand formats on the website. It shows how each agency did on 29 quality measures – how often the home health team began patients’ care in a timely manner, for example, and how often patients got better at walking or moving around – along with statewide and national comparisons.

Nine of those quality-of-care measures are used to calculate the overall star rating. Listed on the site but not included in the overall rating are patient survey results. By contrast, Medicare in the spring released star ratings of hospitals that were based entirely on patient surveys, generating controversy over whether they were meaningful.

Here are how home health agencies came out locally:

Southeastern Pennsylvania – Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties:

  • Total agencies: 132
  • Above average: 27

South Jersey – Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties:

  • Total agencies: 7
  • Above average: 1

BEST (4 stars) – Kennedy University Hospital Inc. Home Health Care, Voorhees

BEST (5 stars) – Deer Meadows Home Health & Support Services L.L.C., Philadelphia; Expert Home Care, Feasterville; Gem Home Care Inc., Huntingdon Valley; Reliant Home Health Agency Inc., Folsom; Tri County Home Health, Pottstown

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