We’ve been exploring the differences between home health agencies and nurse registries in this three-part series. In the first installment, we looked at the issues of billing Medicare and Medicaid. In this part, we’ll cover the second difference: responsibility for a patient’s health.
Medicare Conditions of Participation require that the home health agency only accept a patient for treatment based “on a reasonable expectation that the patient’s medical, nursing, and social needs can be met adequately by the agency…” Also, an agency is required to, in addition to other requirements: maintain a robust quality assurance program designed to ensure that all standard health care practices are implemented and observed; maintain a group of professional personnel, which must include a physician and a registered nurse, who will meet to review and advise on the agency’s provision of services; and assure that the provision of care is prescribed and supervised by a physician, including regular communication and collaboration with all care providers regarding the patient’s condition and services provided.
A nurse registry is not required – or allowed – to become as intricately involved in a patient’s care and to dictate the manner in which that care is provided. Nurse registries do not employ direct care providers; they contract with independent staff to deliver the care and service needed by the registry’s patients. The registry’s role is to secure licensed, capable direct care providers, who carry out the services in accordance with the professional standards of their profession, whether medical or quasi-medical. In addition, the registry is required to advise the patient that all care and services will be provided by an independent contractor.
This concludes the second part of our series about the differences between home health agencies and nurse registries. In part three, we will review the last major distinction: that of the qualifying service. Join us next time!