Interactions between physicians and skilled home health care agencies in the certification of medicare beneficiaries' plans of care: Results of a nationally representative survey

Cynthia Boyd, Bruce A Leff, Julia Bellantoni, Navpreet Rana, Jennifer Wolff, David L Roth, Kim Carl, Orla Sheehan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Physicians are required to certify a plan of care for patients who receive Medicare skilled home health care (SHHC) services. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services form 485 (CMS-485) is typically used for certification of SHHC plans of care and for interactions between SHHC agencies and physicians. Little is known about how physicians use the CMS-485 or their perceptions of its usefulness with respect to coordinating care with SHHC agencies. Objective: To determine how physicians interact with SHHC agencies and use the CMS-485 in care coordination for patients receiving SHHC services. Design: Mailed survey. Setting: Nationally representative random sample. Participants: Physicians from the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile specializing in family or general medicine (excluding adolescent and sports medicine), geriatrics, geriatric psychiatry, internal medicine, or hospice and palliative medicine. Measurements: Time spent reviewing the plan of care and experiences with making changes and communicating with SHHC clinicians. Results: The response rate after 3 mailings was 53% (1044 of 1968). Of 1005 respondents who provided patient care, 72% had certified at least 1 plan of care in the past year. Nearly half (47%) reported spending less than 1 minute reviewing the CMS-485 before certification, whereas 21% reported spending at least 2 minutes. Physicians typically interacted with multiple SHHC agencies by fax or mail. Approximately 80% rarely or never changed an order on the CMS-485, and 78.3% rarely or never contacted SHHC clinicians with questions about information. The mean reported ease of contacting the SHHC agency was 4.7 (SD, 2.3) on a scale of 1 (easy) to 10 (difficult). Limitation: Self-reported data and 53% response rate. Conclusion: The CMS-485 does not meaningfully engage physicians. Physicians spend little time reviewing or acting on the SHHC plan of care. Strategies to enhance meaningful communication between SHHC agencies and physicians are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-701
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Internal Medicine
Volume168
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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