Know your stuff.

In determining which of your regular patients might qualify or benefit from home health services, it’s important for you, as a physician, to know the facts. Read through the following common questions regarding prescribing this style of care.

Patients must meet the following requirements:

  • They must be confined to the home
  • They must be under care of a regular physician
  • They must receive services under a plan of care established and periodically reviewed by a physician
  • They must be in need of intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology or continuing occupational therapy

Physicians must certify that home health services are needed, including the variety of service required, and provide a plan for care moving forward. The physician must also have face-to-face contact with the patient (and documentation thereof) 90 days prior to the start of home healthcare or within the first 30 days of the start of care.

(NOTE: This “face-to-face” contact may include a telehealth service meeting if the originating site has been approved.)

The following types of care providers may certify a need for home health services:

  • Medicare-enrolled physicians
  • Acute or post-acute physicians who have recently seen the patient
  • A supervised resident informing a certifying physician
  • A nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist collaborating with a certifying physician
  • A state-authorized nurse-midwife collaborating with the certifying physician
  • A physician assistant supervised by the certifying physician

At the end of 60 days of home healthcare, a face-to-face encounter is not required to recertify, but a certifying physician must make the call of whether or not to continue care for an additional 60-day stint.