Home Health Quality Measures
Quality Measures Used in the Home Health Quality Reporting Program
The following two categories of quality measures are used in the Home Health Quality Reporting Program (HH QRP):
- Outcome measures; and
- Process measures
It is important to note that only a subset of process and outcome measures are HH QRP measures that have been finalized via rule-making and that are publicly reported on Care Compare.
This page contains brief descriptions of each measure type and how the data for that measure is calculated. The Downloads section below provides links to technical documentation, tables identifying which Home Health Quality Measures are risk-adjusted and reported publicly, and additional resources.
Questions about home health quality measures may be sent to HomeHealthQualityQuestions@cms.hhs.gov.
NOTE: Medicare-certified HHAs are required to participate in the HH QRP by participating and reporting both OASIS (patient quality of care) measures and HHCAHPS (patient survey results) measures. The HHCAHPS measures are from a 34-question survey. CMS groups the measures by topic into three composite measures and two overall measures. CMS publicly reports the HHCAHPS on Care Compare (ZIP), and they are called “patient survey results" on the compare site. The five measures are: (1) Care of Patients, (2) Communications between Providers and Patients, (3) Specific Care Issues, (4) Overall Rating of Care, and (5) Patient willingness to recommend HHA to family and friends.
Outcome measures assess the results of health care that are experienced by patients. The data for the Home Health outcome measures are derived from 2 sources: (1) data collected in the Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) submitted by home health agencies; and (2) data submitted in Medicare claims.
Measures based on OASIS data are calculated using a completed episode of care that begins with admission to a home health agency (or a resumption of care following an inpatient facility stay) and ends with discharge, transfer to inpatient facility or, in some cases, death. Measures based on home health claims data are calculated based on the first home health claim that starts an episode of care for a patient and end either 30 or 60 days after the initial claim, across an entire episode of care, or in the period of time following discharge (see section titled Claims-Based Measures below).
Many home health outcome measures are risk-adjusted. Risk-adjusted outcome measures are identified in the Home Health Outcome Measures Table (PDF) that is available in the Downloads section below. The risk adjustment methodology, using a predictive model developed specifically for each measure, compensates for differences in the patient population served by different home health agencies.
The HH QRP measures and the broader list in the Home Health Quality Initiative, include four types of Outcome measures:
- Improvement measures (i.e., measures describing a patient's ability to get around, perform activities of daily living, and general health);
- Measures of potentially avoidable events (i.e., markers for potential problems in care);
- Utilization of care measures (i.e., measures describing how often patients access other health care resources either while home health care is in progress or after home health care is completed); and
- Cost/Resource measures
For a list of home health outcome measures, please refer to the Home Health Outcome Measures Table, which can be located via the link for Home Health Measures Tables in the Downloads section below. Technical Specifications for calculating OASIS-based outcome measures, patient-related characteristics measures, and the factors used to risk adjust outcome measures, can be accessed via the link for Technical Documentation of OASIS-Based Measures in the Downloads section below.
Potentially Avoidable Event Measures
Potentially Avoidable Event (PAE) measures are a subset of outcome measures. Potentially avoidable events serve as markers for potential problems in care because of their negative nature and relatively low frequency. The potentially avoidable events reported are outcome measures, in the sense that they represent a change in health status between start or resumption of care and discharge or transfer to inpatient facility. All the potentially avoidable event measures are adjusted for variation in patient characteristics.
For a list of the potentially avoidable event measures, please refer to the Home Health PAE Measures Table, which can be located via the link to the Home Health Measures Tables in the Downloads section below.
Technical documentation for calculating potentially avoidable event measures can be accessed via the link to Technical Documentation of OASIS-Based Measures in the Downloads section below. The Downloads section also has a link for the Outcome-Based Quality Monitoring Manual which contains additional information about the PAE measures.
Claims-based measures are a subset of home health outcome measures. We calculate them using Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) claims data. There are two types of claims-based measures: 1) claims-based utilization measures and 2) claims-based cost/resource use measures.
Claims-based utilization measures
Claims-based utilization measures provide information related to the use of health care services (e.g., hospitals, emergency departments, etc.) resulting from a change in patient health status. They are calculated using:
- The first home health claim that starts an episode of care for a patient, and, as appropriate, the claim for the period after discharge
- Negative events like potentially avoidable hospitalizations or emergency department care, or a lack of such negative events.
- Acute Care Hospitalization During the First 60 days of Home Health (ACH)
- Emergency Department (ED) Use without Hospitalization During the First 60 Days of Home Health
- Discharge to Community (DTC)
- Potentially Preventable 30-Day Post-Discharge Readmission (PPR)
Claims-based cost/resource use measure
The HH QRP also includes one measure of cost/resource use:
- Medicare Spending per Beneficiary – Post-Acute Care (MSPB-PAC) Home Health.
This measure assesses the Medicare spending of a home health agency, compared to the average Medicare spending of home health agencies nationally for the same performance period.
CMS usually updates the HH QRP claims-based measure results every year. However, due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency HHQRP data submission requirements for the Q4 2019, Q1 2020, and Q2 2010 quarters were exempted. The missing data for Q1 2020 and Q2 2020 will impact what is displayed on Care Compare; therefore, public reporting of home health agencies' data will freeze after the October 2020 refresh. This means that following the October 2020 refresh, the data publicly reported will be held constant for all refreshes in 2021, including October 2021. You can find detailed specifications for the claims-based measures in the Downloads section below.
Process measures evaluate the rate of home health agency use of specific evidence-based processes of care. The HH process measures focus on high-risk, high-volume, problem-prone areas for home health care. These include measures pertaining to all or most home care patients, such as timeliness of home care admission.
Process measures are derived from data collected in the OASIS submitted by home health agencies and are calculated using a completed quality episode that begins with admission to a home health agency (or a resumption of care following an inpatient facility stay) and ends with discharge, transfer to inpatient facility or sometimes death.
Unlike the outcome measures, process measures are not risk-adjusted. Risk adjustment is not considered to be necessary for process measures because the processes being measured are appropriate for all patients included in the denominator (patients for whom the measure is not appropriate are excluded).
The Home Health Process Measures include the following:
- Timely Initiation of Care
- Percent of Patients with an Admission and Discharge Functional Assessment and a Care Plan that Addresses Function
- Drug Education on All Medications Provided to Patient/Caregiver during All Episodes of Care
- Influenza Immunization Received for Current Flu Seasons
- Influenza Immunization Offered and Refused for Current Flu Season
- Influenza Immunization Contraindicated
- Drug Regimen Review Conducted with Follow-Up for Identified Issues
For more information about these process measures, please refer to the Home Health Process Measures Table, which can be located via the link to Home Health Measures Tables in the Downloads section below. Technical documentation for calculating process measures can be accessed via the link to Technical Documentation of OASIS-Based Measures in the Downloads section below.