November 2015
brought to you by the Home Health Quality Improvement (HHQI) National Campaign

Connect with HHQI on social media for valuable information
and free resources related to these health observances throughout
the month of November, in addition to campaign updates and industry news.
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Gift-Giving Programs Lift Seniors' Spirits During Holidays

The holiday season is here, and the majority of us are looking forward to spending some quality time with family and friends. We're also beginning to look for thoughtful gifts that will 
bring smiles to our loved ones' faces. It's a joyous season for most, but for many seniors, it can be an especially lonely time of the year.

To help spread the holiday cheer, many senior care organizations across the country organize gift-giving programs for seniors in their communities. Often, the gifts and/or cards that seniors receive through these programs are the only items they receive during the holidays, and they mean so much.
You can start your own program or partner with an existing one. Here's how one such national program -- Be a Santa to a Senior -- works. Home Instead Senior Care® partners with local non-profit and community organizations to identify seniors who might not otherwise receive gifts during the holiday season. The company then works with local businesses and retail stores to help facilitate the purchase and distribution of gifts by placing trees and ornaments within their various locations. Each senior's gift requests are written on a Be a Santa to a Senior tree ornament. Employees and/or customers remove an ornament from the tree, purchase the gift, and return it to the store or business. Volunteers collect the gifts and wrap and deliver them.

Does your organization have a holiday gift-giving program for seniors? We'd love to share the details and any advice you have for others who want to start a program on MyHHQI Blog. Please contact us at


Congratulations to the new HHQI Agency of the Month

Custom Home Health is committed to providing the best quality care to the patients we serve. We are also committed to providing education to our clinicians to enable them to best serve those in their care. HHQI has been an important resource in helping us achieve both. 

We look forward to continue to utilize the evidence-based educational resources provided by 

HHQI to reduce avoidable hospitalizations and lead the home health industry in quality of care. 

Sue Ciaglia, PT, COS-C 

VP of Clinical Operations
Custom Home Health

Be in the spotlight.
If your home health agency is active in the HHQI National Campaign and close to the national, risk-adjusted ACH 20th percentile and/or Oral Medication Improvement 80th percentile (or better), your agency is eligible for random selection as HHQI Agency of the Month.
Nominate your agency today! 


New Immunizations Course Offers 2 Nursing CEs

Just in time for flu season, HHQI University now offers a free online course focused on adult immunizations as recommended by current CDC guidelines. Located in the Hospitalizations course catalog, this course primarily focuses on influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations but other immunizations are also addressed. 

Nurses who successfully complete the course will earn 2.0 hours of continuing education (CE) credit. All other disciplines will receive a certificate of attendance
. Many state and national therapy organizations will accept these certificates toward required CEs. Please check with your organization's specifics.

Click here to learn how to enroll.



Save the Dates: New "Third Thursdays" Event Schedule
Home health professionals are busy. Now, there's an understatement. In order to make the most of your limited time, HHQI's three primary online Networking events - LiveChat, Cardiovascular Learning & Action Network (CardioLAN) webinars, and Underserved 
Populations (UP) webinars - will each be held quarterly, rotating to always occur from 2-3pm (ET) on the third Thursday of the month.

Click on the Networking Event type below for specific dates and available registration or reminder links. You can also browse our online event calendar.
November 19: Network with Your Peers During LiveChat

Networking regularly with other home health professionals can fast-track your quality improvement efforts. No matter what challenge your agency is facing, there's a good chance that another agency can offer some valuable first-hand insight. HHQI's quarterly LiveChats are an excellent opportunity to connect and learn what worked -- and what didn't work -- for 
other agencies when they were in a similar situation.

The next opportunity to participate in HHQI LiveChat will be on November 19 at 2pm ET. This networking event is similar to an online chat room. There is no audio. You'll be able to type in real-time to ask questions and share your knowledge. It's a fun, casual way to learn from each other's experiences.

Visit the HHQI website to add the event to your calendar or to set an email reminder.
UP Webinar Recording: Coordinating Veterans' Health Care

Because 1 in 3 seniors in this country is a veteran or surviving spouse of a veteran, it's likely that your home health agency provides care to many veterans and/or their spouses. These heroes may be eligible for a unique benefit through the VA that provides funding to help keep loved ones safe and comfortable with home care. Millions of qualifying veterans and families go without this benefit simply because of a lack of information or help. 

This webinar was broadcast live on October 15, 2015. The recording and presentation materials can now be accessed in the UP Events Archive on the HHQI website.

December 1-3: Free CMS Quality Conference in Baltimore

Join more than 1,250 thought leaders in American health care quality improvement at this premier learning and action event, brought to you by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Welcoming attendees from across the health care spectrum, the conference will explore how patients, advocates, providers, researchers, and the many leaders in health care quality improvement can develop and spread solutions to some of America's most pervasive health system challenges.

The 2015 CMS Quality Conference (formerly QualityNet) will be the most expansive yet, with both new and existing participants from programs across CMS, Health & Human Services, and community stakeholders. The collaborative format of the conference and strong focus on data-proven outcomes is underscored by this year's conference theme: Building Partnerships. Delivering Results.

The conference will feature interactive learning sessions, master classes for continuing education credit, and engaging seminars and keynote addresses in areas of interest including:

Community & Population HealthDisparities Reduction
Harmonization, Technical
Assistance & Communication
Prevention, Treatment
& Behavioral Health 
IT InfrastructurePerson & Family Engagement
Innovation in Evaluation
Safer Care
Value, Incentives & ReportingMaternal & Infant Health

The conference is free to anyone who would like attend. Register now!


Home Health Final Rule Posted in Federal Register

On November 5, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services posted the final rule for the CY 2016 Home Health Prospective Payment System Rate Update; Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Model; and Home Health Quality Reporting Requirements.
Seeking Public Comments for Healthy People 2020

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is soliciting written comments regarding new objectives proposed to be added to Healthy People 2020 since the last public comment period in Fall 2014. Healthy People 2020 will continue to provide opportunities for public input periodically throughout the decade to ensure that Healthy People 2020 reflects current public health priorities.

The public comment period is October 15 through November 13, 2015.
Expanded AGS Beers Criteria Offer New Guidance, Tools for Safer Medication Use Among Older Adults

The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) recently released its second updated and expanded Beers Criteria-lists of potentially inappropriate medications for older adults who are not receiving hospice or palliative care, and one of the most frequently cited reference tools in the field of geriatrics. The Society also unveiled a suite of new companion resources -- including a list of alternative therapies for potentially inappropriate medications and more detailed guidance on best practices for implementing AGS recommendations -- all published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and available for free from
Study May Shed Light on Gender Differences in Heart Failure

A federally funded analysis of MRI scans of the aging hearts of nearly 3,000 adults shows significant differences in the way male and female hearts change over time. Results of the research, led by investigators at Johns Hopkins, do not explain exactly what causes the sex-based differences but they may shed light on different forms of heart failure seen in men and women that may require the development of gender-specific treatments, the scientists say.

Visit the Johns Hopkins website to learn more.


November 16, 2015
1:00-2:30pm ET
American Bar Assoc, CDC & HHSThe Healthy People 2020 Law and Health Policy Project Webinar: A Focus on Older Adults
December 4, 2015
10:30-11:45am CT
OnlineHealth Sciences Institute
Engaging Patients and Families In Their Care: What It Will Take
Have You Accessed Your HHA PEPPER?
Home Health Agencies (HHA) now have a free tool available to help them assess their risk for improper Medicare payments. TMF® Health Quality Institute developed the Program for Evaluating Payment Patterns Electronic Report (PEPPER) for HHAs. Sponsored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), PEPPER is an educational tool available to help providers proactively monitor their claims and work to prevent improper Medicare payments, which are subject to government review.

Visit the PEPPER website to learn more.

Get Answers to Your ICD-10 Questions

Help is available if you experience any challenges using ICD-10. 
To locate ICD-10 information and contacts quickly: 
  • Find resources on the ICD-10 website and Road to 10 online tool.
  • For Medicare claim questions, contact your Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC)Note: MACs cannot respond to questions about Medicaid or commercial health plans.
  • For Medicaid claim questions, contact your state Medicaid agency.
  • If you have a commercial or private health plan claim question, contact your health plan directly.
  • The ICD-10 Resource Guide and Contact List gives MAC and Medicaid contact information organized by state.
  • Contact the ICD-10 Ombudsman for questions. The ICD-10 Ombudsman is an impartial advocate with a dedicated team of experts to answer your questions. Responses will typically be sent within 3 business days of receipt.
CMS Quarterly OASIS Q&As Available For Download Now
Download, review, and distribute the latest quarterly guidance from CMS to enhance the accuracy of your agency's OASIS data collection practices. This quarterly update contains a number of new Q&As including significant guidance related to:
  • The impact of the ICD-10 transition on OASIS data collection at follow-up
  • How patient performance and preference impact scoring for M2102 - Types and Sources of Assistance
  • Reporting behavioral symptoms on M1740 and M1745 in the absence of a related diagnosis
  • How to report the discharge disposition for M2420 when the home health agency continues to provide personal care after discharge from skilled service

Click here to download the CMS Quarterly 
OASIS Q&A document (PDF) now from OASIS Answers, Inc. 
Geriatric Home Health Resources from CHAMP

Champ logo 

The Collaboration for Homecare Advances in Management and Practice (CHAMP) Program was the first national initiative to advance geriatric home care excellence. CHAMP's valuable resources and e-presentations are still available online.

This material was prepared by Quality Insights, the Medicare Quality Innovation Network-Quality 

Improvement Organization supporting the Home Health Quality Improvement National Campaign, 

under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. 

Department of Health and Human Services. The views presented do not necessarily reflect CMS policy. 

Publication number 11SOW-WV-HH-MMD-110615