Agawam’s Tender Loving Care Earns Top Score In Medicare Quality Report

AGAWAM — A new Medicare quality report shows the Agawam office of Tender Loving Care Home Health Care received the highest score of the 16 home care organizations providing skilled nursing and rehabilitation services to Medicare seniors in Hampden County.


The “Home Health Compare Report” dated Sept. 1 is available at the official U.S. government site for people with Medicare, www.medicare.gov/ HHCompare. Medicare gathers patient data on 11 outcome measures including ability to walk and move around, getting in and out of bed, toileting, bathing, dressing, correctly taking medications, avoiding pain and confusion, and avoiding urgent unplanned medical care and hospital admissions.

By averaging the 11 outcome measures Tender Loving Care received the top score of 57 followed by Baystate VNA (55), VNA & Hospice of CD (52), Hampden County Visiting Nurses (51), International Health Solutions (51), Quaboag Valley VNA (51), Providence Homecare (49), Noble VNA (49), Overlook VNA (48), Interim Health Care (47), Spectrum Health Care (47), Holyoke VNA (46), Gentiva Health Services (44), Personal Touch Home Care (44), Capuano Home Health Care (43), and Chicopee VNA (42).

Peter Schoenberger, Tender Loving Care’s account executive, said home health care is big business and getting bigger all the time. In 2005 Medicare will pay more than $25 million for home care services in Hampden County alone. One reason is that Hampden County has significantly more seniors than the statewide average of 13.5{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}. Census data for the year 2000 showed Hampden County has 66,251 residents 65 years of age and over, representing 14.5{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of the total population. CMS, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that regulate Medicare, reports that home health care is increasing nationally at an annual rate of 5{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} to 10{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}.

Schoenberger said reasons for the rapid growth include the aging of Baby Boomers, increased life span, and the relative cost advantage of home care in a managed care environment.

“The rapid growth of home health care and recent improvements in Medicare reimbursement have led to intense competition among home care agencies,”

Schoenberger said. “Medicare guarantees patients the right to choose any Medicare-certified agency. But the smaller agencies like Tender Loving Care have to compete with big VNAs, Visiting Nurse Associations that are part of integrated hospital systems. The hospital systems, while offering patients a choice, make more money when patients go home with the affiliated VNA.

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