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15 Frequently Asked Questions

The decision to initiate home health or hospice care can seem overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. At Millcreek Home Health and Hospice, we know you have questions, and we want you to know that we have answers.

The questions below address the most common concerns patients and families have about home health and hospice care. If you have additional questions, please feel free to call or email a Millcreek Home Health and Hospice Staff Member at infomillcreek@4signatureservice.com.

Click on the questions below to learn more.

What are my Medicare benefits, and do I qualify for Home Health services?
Home care is one of your Medicare benefits. You qualify for Home Health services if you meet Medicare guidelines, which include MD-ordered services and any medical necessity that requires skilled intervention. Medicare guidelines also require that you are homebound, meaning that you lack the normal ability to leave your home.
Since Dad died my mom isn’t really safe alone and appears depressed. Can you help?
Yes. The first step is to get a referral from your physician for a Home Health evaluation. When your mother qualifies for services, she may receive Physical and Occupational Therapy to address safety concerns such as balance, gait, mobility and strength. Nursing can assess medication management and liaison with the physician to ensure that medications are effective and taken as prescribed. Our Millcreek Home Health and Hospice home health aides are available to provide assistance with personal care, bathing and light housekeeping. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker will provide short-term grief therapy, assist with long term planning and provide information on community resources.
I thought I had to be confined to my home to use my Medicare benefits?
Not true. Homebound is defined as lacking the normal ability to leave the home—not unable to leave the home. Even if you sometimes leave your home, you may be considered homebound. Medicare considers you homebound if leaving your home requires taxing effort and your absences are infrequent and of short duration.
What services can be provided by your agency?
Millcreek Home Health and Hospice provides nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, medical social work services, dietician consultation, and the services of home health aides. Millcreek Home Health and Hospice has Hospice Certified Nurses, Hospice Certified Aides, a Bereavement Team with a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a non-denominational Chaplain, Massage Therapist, Music Thanatologist, a Dietician as well as skilled therapies.
How long will I receive services?
The length of your initial care episode is 60 days. If you make sufficient progress and your condition improves, you may be discharged earlier. If you require ongoing skilled services, including nursing or therapy, you will be recertified – meaning services will continue as long as skilled services are required.
Can I run out of, or use up my Medicare benefits?
No. As long as there is medical necessity and Medicare guidelines are met, you cannot run out or use up your benefits.
What do I need to get started?
All we need is an order from your physician requesting home health or hospice services. We can call your physician on your behalf or your physician can call or email us a referral. Here is a link to our online physician referral form.
Can I choose my home health provider?
Yes. The choice of which home health agency will provide your care is entirely up to you.
How much will this cost me?
Traditional Medicare covers all medically necessary home health and hospice services 100%. There will be no cost to you.
How soon after my doctor makes the referral can I expect services to begin?
Millcreek Home Health and Hospice Services will begin within 48 hours, sooner if the need is urgent or acute. Millcreek Home Health and Hospice nurses are available 24 hours a day for admissions. Millcreek Home Health and Hospice will coordinate your admission date to accommodate patient/family schedules.
My doctor ordered Home Health, but when the nurse came to my home she said I didn’t qualify. Will I be billed for that visit?
No. You will not be charged if it is determined that you do not quality for home health services.
My doctor recommends that I go to an outpatient wound clinic. Can you provide this service in my home?
Yes. Unlike most agencies, Millcreek Home Health and Hospice is proud to employ a Wound Care Specialist Physical Therapist who facilitates wound care in your home. Even complex wound protocol will be safely followed in a home setting. We will coordinate with your doctor to ensure that comprehensive wound care is administered where you are most comfortable.
What is Hospice care and how can I find out if I or my loved one qualifies?
Hospice is a service aimed at providing palliative and end-of-life care to individuals who have a terminal disease or a limited life expectancy. Hospice care aims to improve quality of life by providing comfort measures and focusing on pain and symptom management to individuals who no longer seek curative treatments for their disease. Only your physician can determine if you or your loved one is hospice appropriate.
Will Medicare pay for around-the-clock or respite care?
Medicare will not pay for around-the-clock care. However, we work closely with select personal care agencies and can liaison to coordinate private continuous care. Medicare does not provide respite care under the Home Health benefit. Medicare Hospice benefit does provide respite care at no cost to you. Respite care is a 5-day respite period, for short-term caregiver relief.
Are HMOs better than traditional Medicare?
The decision is yours. Many patients have found there is no financial benefit in paying a private entity to manage their Medicare benefits. In some cases the HMO will limit the scope of services provided or restrict which providers the patient may access. Others may require pre-authorization, a co-pay or that a deductible is met prior to initiation of care

At Millcreek Home Health and Hospice, our knowledgeable and friendly team is here to guide you every step of the way.

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