Our CARE tool: making outcome assessment accurate and efficient

The Medicare Payment Reform Demonstration developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid in response to the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 used standardized patient information to examine the consistency of payment incentives for Medicare populations treated in various settings. The demonstration included acute care hospitals and four post-acute care settings: long-term care hospitals (LTCHs), inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs), skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), and home health agencies (HHAs).  

The demonstration provided standardized information on patient health and functional status, independent of site of care, and examined resources and outcomes associated with treatment in each type of setting, thus allowing CMS to better understand the extent to which similar patients are treated in different settings. The information on resource use within each setting was also needed to understand differences in patient treatment, outcomes, and costs of care in order to create appropriate payment reform recommendations.

As the demonstration was enhanced, a standardized patient assessment tool was developed for use at acute hospital discharge and at post-acute care admission and discharge. Using this tool, named the Continuity Assessment Record and Evaluation (CARE) Item Set, data was collected that served as a major source of information. The CARE Item Set measures the health and functional status of Medicare beneficiaries at acute discharge, and measures changes in severity and other outcomes for Medicare post-acute care patients. It is designed to standardize assessment of patients’ medical, functional, cognitive, and social support status across acute and post-acute settings.

The goal was to standardize the items used in each of the existing assessment tools while posing minimal administrative burden to providers. The CARE Item Set builds on prior research while it targets variations in a patient’s level of care needs.  

Blue Sky Therapy complies with the outcome assessment requirements through our CARE tool software, Rehab Optima.  With this software, we are able to complete outcomes on mobility and self-care items for our patients to determine progress made from evaluation to discharge.  This also allows us to compare our outcomes within a national data base. 

We are able to filter the information based on:

· diagnosis,

· individual patient,

· discharge location and/or admission location,

· payer source, and

· other variables.

The cumulative data produced from this system can be used to participate in industry initiatives including quality measures and payment reform in addition to educating payers, customers, patients and referral sources on the value of the services we provide.

Managing billing for contract, in-house, and outpatient therapy is also easier with this software. With it, we can provide accurate documentation while increasing therapists’ efficiency in reporting outcomes and developing treatment paths. 

We at Blue Sky Therapy are ready to assist your therapy – we’re the experts!

Blue Sky Therapy has a continued commitment to patient-driven quality, excellence, integrity and innovation in everything that we do. That’s why we are scrupulous about planning the treatment of each and every client, and carefully documenting the outcome!

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Blue Sky disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.