Home Health Awareness

Patient Choice

“Patient Choice” is a topic that seems to be discussed quite a bit in health care. Medicare mandates that patients have the right to choose. So in order for the patient to benefit from the right to choose, he or she must act on it! Patients are being “steered” to home health agencies every day. This means sometimes the person making the home health referral, on behalf of the patient, may gently or aggressively encourage a patient to use a certain home health agency. The reason for the “steering” varies. It could be based on a strong relationship between the referral source and the home health agency, or it could be due to some sort of “kick back” arrangement (which is illegal). It could also be that a physician or facility owner has a financial interest in a home health company. In any case, the practice of “steering” a patient is unethical and in most cases, illegal!

Remember, there is a difference in “steering” and recommending. One who “steers” is less likely to respect your right to choose.

So how can a patient avoid or manage the “steering” process?

1. If the person making the referral seems to be “steering” you, ask him or her why this particular agency would be best for you or your loved one. Does the agency have a special program to address the medical condition you or your loved one is dealing with?

2. Ask if the physician or facility owner has a financial interest in the home health agency you or your loved one is being “steered” to.

3. Use the information on this website to help you when choosing an agency…click here for a check list to help you!

Comments are closed.

Home Health Awareness