About Home Health Agencies
Home health agencies provide skilled nursing and therapy related services Examples of services include:
- Home health aide
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Respiratory therapy
- Speech therapy
- Medical social work
- Home medical supplies and equipment
- Professional medical equipment assessment
The Department of Health licenses home health agencies to ensure care is provided within health and safety standards established by statute and rule. The department enforces the standards by periodically conducting unannounced on-site surveys of these agencies.
Many home health agencies operate on a private pay basis as well as establishing contracts with health insurance companies. Home health agencies interested in Medicare reimbursement for services must become Medicare-certified. Washington State requires home health agencies to receive approval from the department's Certificate of Need program before they can apply for Medicare certification.
Medicare-certified home health agencies are required to conduct comprehensive assessments of all patients and participate in the federal program Outcome Assessment Information Set (OASIS). Home health agencies electronically submit OASIS health information on Medicare patients to measure patient outcomes for quality improvement. Public reporting on selected outcome measures is available on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' website.