VNA & Hospice of SVHC Is a Benchmark

BENNINGTON -- Home Health Line, a nationally distributed newsletter, profiled the Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of Southwestern Vermont Health Care in its “Benchmark of the Week” feature in the Sept. 15, 2008 issue.
            VNA & Hospice was featured for reducing its Low Utilization Payment Adjustments (LUPAs) from 30 percent to 12 percent. The process improvement saved the agency nearly $50,000 per year. Home health agencies lose money on each home care episode that has five or fewer visits because reimbursement is made on a per-visit basis instead of the lump-sum payment that agencies earn for a 60-day episode of care. So, home health agencies need to reduce LUPA episodes while also making sure to meet patients’ needs.
            Julia H. Maroney, RN, MHSA, CHCE, said VNA & Hospice reduced its LUPA episodes by working with referral sources to educate them about alternatives to home health referrals that caused a LUPA. Maroney, VNA & Hospice’s executive director, said an example is that VNA’s sister hospital used to refer patients for one or two visits to get instructions on giving injections. VNA staff explained to caregivers at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center that the practice resulted in LUPAs and costs that outweighed Medicare payments at the agency. Now the hospital teaches patients how to administer the shots before referring them to VNA.
            The Home Health Line article noted that VNA & Hospice of SVHC’s 12 percent LUPA rate is below the national average of 16 percent.
       A not-for-profit organization, VNA & Hospice of Southwestern Vermont Health Care provides home care to residents of Bennington, North Bennington, Pownal, Shaftsbury, and Woodford. The agency offers home nursing, high-tech care, and rehabilitative therapy, among other services, and houses Bennington's only full-service, Medicare-certified hospice program.
            “The project to analyze LUPAs and work to reduce them is an example of a way we attempt to make our agency more efficient,” Maroney said. “Along with initiatives that improve the quality of patient care, we focus on cost-effectiveness to keep our services as affordable as possible.”
            A not-for-profit organization, VNA & Hospice of Southwestern Vermont Health Care provides home care to residents of Bennington, North Bennington, Pownal, Shaftsbury, and Woodford. The agency offers home nursing, high-tech care, and rehabilitative therapy, among other services, and houses Bennington's only full-service, Medicare-certified hospice program.

Bookmark and Share