[Sponsored] New Online CE Opportunities for Home Health Providers

The surge of home health care patients in 2020
brought great opportunities for agencies, with more to come in 2021. But those
opportunities also mean an increased need for training staff — and one renowned
national accreditor is delivering.

Accreditation Commission for Health Care
(ACHC) already offers a range of virtual training options in the healthcare
industry through its educational division, ACHCU. Now, through the
industry-leading learning
management system HealthTrainU™, ACHCU is offering home
health courses, giving caregivers access to continuing education training in
one place.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for home
health providers,” said Greg Stowell, Associate Director of Education and
Training at ACHCU. “We are dedicated to continuing to provide user-friendly,
industry-relevant education materials, in addition to the excellent customer
service the industry has come to expect from ACHC.”

Why
ACHC launched its home health courses

The COVID-19 pandemic vastly changed the home
health landscape. Volatility abounds — a staffing shortage merged with
increased home health needs merged with increased patient skittishness about in-home
care means training must be frequent — and precise.

With its new Distinction in Telehealth, ACHC is already
helping operators make waves in home health care, and the new home health
courses from HealthTrainU take that much farther. The learning management
system provides training to healthcare professionals who are sponsored by their
employers, with a purpose of enhancing their industry skills and training.

In the fall of 2020, HealthTrainU expanded its
offerings to include home health courses, with more coming soon. The courses,
approved by the Virginia Nurses Association, address a complete range of skills
necessary for today’s home health worker and fall roughly into four categories.

First, there are courses that address patient
assessments and needs. Second,
there are courses that focus on medical services in the home, such as those
for dementia, Alzheimer’s, or COPD patients.

Third, there are courses that help staff with
potential problems in the home that are not care related, from fire prevention
to workplace violence as well as equipment needs. Last, there are courses that
address professionalism, such as telephone courtesy, cultural diversity, and
ethics.

Add it all up and agencies have a robust slate
of courses they can use to help their staff gain continuing education credits
as well as new skills and knowledge.

How
home health providers benefit from HealthTrainU

Simply put, HealthTrainU is a one-stop shop
for online training — a superior educational resource for healthcare providers.
Industry professionals developed the coursework, so the training is exactly in-line
with staff needs.

HealthTrainU’s user-centric approach is also
seen in its customizable timing. Agencies can help caregivers craft a training
program to their own schedules through preloaded or customizable Mastery
Programs. Once the agency’s “SuperManager” — HealthTrainU’s term for the person
who will direct training — sets up the administrator, the administrator sets up
the student, and the student guides herself or himself through the courses.

Perhaps the key part of home health training comes
from its compliance benefits. Different regulatory organizations require
continuing education credits for home health staff, as do individual government
agencies, including the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

HealthTrainU takes all of these needs and
requirements into account, giving home health providers a simple, effective way
to manage employees’ educational requirements for compliance, accreditation,
and licensure.

To learn
more about the new home health courses available from HealthTrainU and start a
free trial,
visit
HealthTrainU.com
.

The post [Sponsored] New Online CE Opportunities for Home Health Providers appeared first on Home Health Care News.

[Sponsored] How ACHC’s New Distinction in Telehealth Places Agencies Above Competitors

The COVID-19 pandemic has given home-based
care providers a renewed urgency for telehealth adoption, and national
accreditor Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) has a new
distinction to honor the agencies leading the way.

In compliance with the highest national
standards for patient care, privacy and safety, ACHC’s new Distinction in
Telehealth offers an additional recognition to agencies that utilize telehealth
technology to deliver care for patients with acute or chronic conditions. More
broadly, earning the distinction certifies an agency’s dedication to delivering
consistent, quality care and enhancing business efficiencies.

“Telehealth is quickly becoming the new norm
in home health,” says ACHC Associate Clinical Director Susan Mills. “ACHC
recognizes the value telehealth offers for improving access to care, reducing
hospital readmissions, minimizing risk and lowering costs for providers and
patients.”

ACHC collaborated with Health Recovery
Solutions (HRS), a leading national provider of telehealth and remote patient
monitoring solutions, to develop the accreditation distinction.

Here is a look at why the distinction matters
and how agencies can earn it.

Home
health’s telehealth boom

ACHC’s
new telehealth distinction comes during a year in which telehealth usage has
grown dramatically.

In
the first month of the pandemic alone, telehealth usage
skyrocketed
, with
1.7 million Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries receiving
telemedicine in the final week of April. Prior to the pandemic, the average
weekly total was just 13,000 beneficiaries.

In June, the Centers for Medicare &
Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed to make permanent home health telehealth flexibilities
that were launched due to the coronavirus, and while Medicare reimbursement for
telehealth services is not yet available, providers are embracing telehealth as
a loss leader and even finding reimbursement through creative billing for palliative care services.

A July 2020 survey from Home Health Care News and Citus Health showed that 69% of
responding home health and hospice providers adopted telehealth for the first
time since the start of the pandemic, with 39% of respondents planning to adopt
or enhance their telehealth capabilities over the coming year.

All of these trends led ACHC to launch its new
honor.

“Telehealth isn’t just about swapping out a
live visit for a remote one,” Mills says. “It’s about enhancing care by
maximizing and optimizing resources and meeting the patient where he or she
is.”

How
agencies can earn the distinction: two big changes

To earn the distinction, a provider must be
accredited by ACHC in one of six programs, including home health and hospice.
The other four areas of accreditation that meet the criteria for the
distinction are ambulatory care, behavioral health, private duty and renal dialysis.

Examples of telehealth pertinent to the
distinction include remote patient monitoring, biometrics, virtual visits, or
health education. ACHC telehealth standards are based on the American
Telemedicine Association’s Home Telehealth Clinical Guidelines.

The process by which an
agency earns the distinction is, not surprisingly, thorough. Agencies are
evaluated based on 18 telehealth standards, all done via a one-day virtual or
on-site survey in which the ACHC
surveyor reviews the telehealth experience of three patients. The surveyor will
observe a clinician making a telehealth visit if one is scheduled during the
survey. There is also a review of personnel records along with P&Ps and
QAPI related to telehealth.

This September, FirstHealth Home Care of West
End, North Carolina, completed the survey process to become the first home
health company to earn the distinction.

“Patients today
are choosing their providers, in part, based on the availability and use of
technology to help them manage their health,” says Connie Christopher, director
of FirstHealth. “The Distinction in Telehealth from ACHC sets FirstHealth Home
Care apart from other home health agencies and has helped us to take an already
top-performing program to a new level.”

For agencies seeking the distinction, there are two big changes on how they conduct their telehealth program. First, each agency must have a designated telehealth manager. This person, or people, provides oversight for all telehealth activities, including, but not limited to:

— Ensuring the development and implementation of telehealth policies and procedures, including a method to verify staff competence and compliance
— Managing inventory
— Coordinating referrals and the client/patient enrollment process, ensuring selection of equipment meets the requirements specific to client/patient needs
— Ensuring staff is properly trained and competent in the use of telehealth equipment
— Presenting specific reports, as needed, that describe program outcomes and progress toward goals

Second, agencies must develop written telehealth policies and procedures. These include, but are not limited to:

— Patient inclusion and exclusion criteria for every type of telehealth service line, detailing who is eligible and listing each type of technology
— Identifying patients who require special assistance prior to installing a telehealth device
— Procedures for patient enrollment and setup

“The staffing advantages to a robust
telehealth program cannot be overstated,” Mills says. “When agencies do
telehealth right, they also ensure that patients meet with the most appropriate
staff members — a boon to the staff experience, too.”

Finalizing
the distinction: A marketing advantage

Attaining the ACHC Distinction in Telehealth
gives organizations a reliable way to gain recognition for providing a higher
level of care. This certified commitment to excellence can strengthen patient
trust and confidence, giving agencies a distinct advantage over their
competitors.

“This distinction reassures patients that they
are doing business with an agency that understands the true value of
telehealth,” Mills says. “Earning the distinction provides a clear message to
patients: We are meeting the highest standards of telehealth practice because
we know how vital it is.”

Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) is a nonprofit accreditation organization that has stood as a symbol of quality and excellence since 1986. To learn more about earning a Distinction in Telehealth, visit ACHC.org.

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