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AHCA Introduces the Excellence in Home Health Designation Program

AHCA Introduces the Excellence in Home Health Designation Program

Medicare Medicaid Private Duty

The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) announced the adoption of the Excellence in Home Health program (Rule 59A-8.0248), which is scheduled for implementation on July 25, 2023. This program is designed to honor home health agencies that go above and beyond in delivering exceptional care and services to their patients/clients, similar to the Nursing Home Gold Seal program. It was established by the Florida Legislature with the passage of House Bill 607 in 2020.

As the home health industry evolves, it is essential that high-performing agencies stand out from the competition and demonstrate their ability to provide high-quality care in the patient/client's preferred setting.

So, how can your agency become an Excellence in Home Health awardee?

The Application Process: Unveiling the Path to Excellence

To be considered for this esteemed designation, eligible home health agency licensees must complete the Excellence in Home Health Award Application (AHCA Form 3110-9002, January 2023). The application will be posted on the AHCA Home Health Agency webpage in the near future. (To view the draft application form that was considered during the rulemaking process earlier this year, please click here.)

Mark Your Calendars: Application Review Periods and Timelines

There are two review periods during which applicants may apply for the Excellence in Home Health Award.

  • Review Period 1: Applications must be submitted to AHCA by March 15 of the calendar year. Application reviews will conclude by May 15, with award decisions issued no later than June 15.
  • Review Period 2: For this period, applications should be submitted to AHCA by September 15. Application reviews will be finalized by November 15, and award decisions will be issued no later than December 15.

Renewal Applications: Sustaining Excellence

For agencies seeking to renew their Excellence in Home Health award, a completed application must be submitted along with the agency's license renewal application. As outlined in section 400.52(4) of the Florida Statutes, the award designation expires on the same date as the agency's license.

To qualify for the Excellence in Home Health award, agencies must demonstrate their commitment to excellence through the fulfillment of certain criteria:

  • Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Program: Implement and maintain a CQI program consistent with national industry standards. This program should encompass evidence-based practices that address various aspects of patient care, such as reducing preventable emergency care for wound infections, preventing unnecessary hospital admissions or readmissions, improving patients' activities of daily living, and minimizing medication errors.
  • Patient/Client Satisfaction: Establish survey processes to assess patient/client willingness to recommend the agency to their family and friends, as well as satisfaction with communication and interaction between the agency and the patient/client and/or their representative(s).
  • Quantitative Metric Tools: Develop quantitative metric tools to capture and calculate data related to the CQI program's components.
  • Employee Training and Satisfaction: Provide targeted in-service training for employees and demonstrate an effective employee satisfaction process.
  • Stable Workforce: Maintain a stable workforce by keeping turnover rates below 50% or ensuring that at least 50% of staff members have been employed at the agency for a minimum of one year. This stability should be supported by evidence of an effective recruitment and retention program.

An agency that achieves the Excellence in Home Health designation not only distinguishes itself as a leader but also has the opportunity to include the award in its marketing and advertising efforts. According to the regulations, agencies receiving the designation are required to include the award's effective and expiration dates. The designation must be removed from the agency's advertising and marketing materials within 90 days of its termination or expiration.

Leveling the Playing Field for Non-Skilled Agencies

While the new program offers benefits to certain agencies, it falls short by excluding non-skilled agencies due to the minimum eligibility criteria. Recognizing the importance of a level playing field, HCAF is committed to amending Florida Statutes to establish comprehensive criteria that duly acknowledge the value of all high-performing home health agencies, regardless of their skill specialization.

Learn More From AHCA Leadership at HomeCareCon!

At HCAF's upcoming HomeCareCon 34th Annual Conference & Trade Show, AHCA will provide a direct update on this program and other state policy developments. "AHCA Policy & Regulatory Update: Transform & Rise Up!" will be presented by State Survey Agency Director Kimberly Smoak and Secretary Jason Weida (invited) on Thursday, August 3.

In this session, participants will gain insight into industry trends and changes from Tallahassee's perspective, as well as the implications of new laws, regulations, and leadership within AHCA. Don't miss the opportunity to meet and discuss these topics with AHCA leadership.

Additional Info

Related File(s) : 59A-8.0248.doc

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