January 15th, 2004

Great River Home Health Care and Hospice has joined the national Home Health Quality Initiative to help improve the quality of care provided by home-health agencies through public reporting and community-based efforts. The initiative helps consumers gain easy access to important, objective health-care information so they can make informed decisions when choosing a home health-care provider.

About 3.5 million elderly and disabled Americans receive care from nearly 7,000 Medicare-certified home-health agencies nationwide annually. Great River Home Health Care is certified by Medicare and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health-care Organizations.

“We recognize that being a partner in this quality initiative will help us achieve greater and more immediate improvement in our services,” said Chris Oleson, director, Great River Home Health Care and Hospice. “As a leading provider of home health care in southeast Iowa, we are committed to giving our patients and their families the best possible quality of care.”

The Home Health Quality Initiative is part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It releases new data to give seniors and their families comparative information about home health agencies’ quality of care. Consumers can obtain the comparative data on the Internet at www.medicare.gov and clicking on “Home Health Compare.” They also can request information by calling toll-free at 1-800-MEDICARE.

Consumers are encouraged to use this information as one tool in an overall strategy to learn about home health care. Additional information available online or by telephone includes brochures and fact sheets on how to choose a home health agency, information on patient rights, and a checklist that will help consumers begin the dialogue with a home-health agency.