To determine the caliber of a Medicare-certified provider, you can review its Medicare Survey Report. For assistance in obtaining this document, contact your state's health department or health insurance counseling program, which offers free information specifically about the Medicare home health benefit. These offices also can direct you to the state's Medicare hot line for information about the quality of services provided by Medicare-certified home health agencies and hospices in your area. Telephone numbers for the health insurance counseling programs representing each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico are listed on pages 21 through 28.
In addition, many states require home care providers to earn a license to operate. To obtain a license, a provider must meet the basic legal and operating standards imposed by the state department of health. Your state health department can provide you with information on its licensed providers.
Last, several professional organizations have established standards to define quality in home care services. Through a voluntary process, many home care providers seek accreditation from these organizations to signify that they have met national standards for quality care. Home care accrediting agencies include the Accreditation Commission for Home Care, Inc., the Community Health Accreditation Program, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and the National HomeCaring Council. Consider contacting one or more of these organizations for information about their accredited members.