The industry’s first certification for home health and hospices that provide top-caliber community-based palliative care services in the patient’s place of residence is being launched by The Joint Commission.
“As healthcare continues to evolve and the Affordable Care Act is beginning to impact the industry, one of the things that has come to light is that many patients over the years have experienced unnecessary hospitalization admissions when the management of their disease stage really required palliative care,” says Margherita Labson, RN, MSHSA, CPHQ, executive director of The Joint Commission’s Home Care Program. “For those of us in the home care environment in the community, we’ve always tried to manage this, but the current models of care didn’t really meet the needs of these patients because the Medicare benefit is an episodic payment program that’s built for rehab and restoration, not for maintenance.”
The Joint Commission’s new program, she says, provides value to patients, results in a lower rate of a necessary readmission, and contributes to patient satisfaction and improved outcomes of care.
Surveys for Community-Based Palliative Care (CBPC) Certification will begin on July 1. Certification is awarded for a three-year period, and the certification’s framework helps providers design, deliver, and validate patient-centered care and services. Key CBPC certification requirements include:
- A robust interdisciplinary care team
- Customized, comprehensive care plans
- After-hours care and services
- Use of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines
- A defined hand-off communications process
“This helps to address perhaps one of the key frustrations of hospitalists: the repeated readmissions of patients struggling with serious chronic illnesses,” Labson says. “It helps reduce the number of inappropriate hospital admissions and allows the hospitalist to focus on the admission and successful management of those patients that are appropriate for hospital intervention or acute-care intervention at that point.”