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My Mom needed home health care and I said I wanted a specific agency, the Visiting Nurses (VNA). I got a call from the VNA saying another home health agency got in the house first. Seems a staff member at the doctors office dropped a dime on this other agency and they swooped in and scooped her up as a patient and then drove the VNA off. When I challenged the agency that stole her away they claimed they had orders, but the orders were not correct, like somebody had made a guess what she needed. I thought this was really crooked. Has anybody else had this happen? What did you do?

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I've had to dismiss an agency twice that was the doctor's favorite. They came in authoritatively and proceeded to bark orders at me and injure my mother. Medicare in their infinite wisdom decided to pay the agency for the full 90 days anyhow. This sets a dangerous precedent and deflates any motivation by an agency to do the right thing. It in all actuality motivates them to be dismissed and not have to actually do the work. Reprobates are rewarded. Things are getting very ugly these days.
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Thanks Babalou, those are some great ideas. I really like the idea of helping to prevent this from happening to somebody else, too. I'm gonna get on it.
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Good point, thanks
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I hate auto spell too! I understand they had orders but in sending all those letters, you get the name of what sounds like an unscrupulous agency on the radar of the folks who regulate. So that the next time they get a complaint, it's not a one off. Or maybe they've already gotten some complaints and this adds to the credibility of the others.
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Babalou; sorry about that, hate auto spell check
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Banality: could something really be done? The wrong agency came in through a screwup from the doctors office. They did have official orders.
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Find who licenses home health care agencies in mom's state. File a written complaint with a copy to that state's attorney general, state dept of health and consumer protection agency. Also copies to state house representatives and senators; us representative and senators. Each of these elected folks have staffers who specialize in healthcare. Don't get mad; get even.
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Good advice from the group! I did ask for a copy of the orders by the crooked home care agency. They sent them to me by fax. It was for PT and nursing and signed by the treating MD. But the VNA sent me the orders that were the correct orders, also signed by the MD requesting OT/PT/Nursing and a couple of specifics just as we had agreed upon. When I complained to the doctor's office about this duplication of orders and wrong orders to wrong place, they said one of the clerks in the office 'misunderstood' what she was supposed to do and generated the order and the doctor doesn't have time to review all the orders that he signs. What I did do was I told the crooked agency to get out, that the referral belonged to the VNA, not them. They took a week to get themselves disengaged from the case during which the VNA could not get in and provide care. It was during this time that Mom ran out of antibiotics, her ditzy sister was not watching out for that, the nurses were in a turf war and she did not get her refill which lead to a reoccurrence of CDiff and rehospitalization which I flew in from far away and found her near death. I'm still mad at the doctor's office for allowing one of their staff to divert patients. The VNA rep told me that this is a common problem, that the business is very cut-throat and they wished more people would complain when this happens and that it happens a lot. This happened in the southeast. Very destructive set of events there. I guess my learning from this is to be sure to develop a preference for home health agencies based on your research and then demand that only they come in. If somebody else gets in the door, it can take a week or longer to get them out. Meanwhile your loved one may be suffering. But I could not trust Mom to an agency that steals patients. I'm still steamed about it.
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Competition is very tight and vicious these days. Most doctors have their favorites which may or may not give them kickbacks.
I've been through this numerous times in the past 16 years and each time its a battle. I choose the agency that doesn't bark orders at me and do an intimidation/power play on me. I'll jump through hoops for mom but I will NOT jump through hoops for these cut throat dominators/oppressors.
Next time you will know better and please request the specific company you wish when the doctor writes the orders. These people can be ruthless and make your life miserable if you allow it.
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This may not apply directly but my dad had a regular visiting nurse (company a). He then had an operation and needed a pic line. Surgeon set up the nurses (company b). Was told I could not continue with company a because they did not provide the services needed for pic line. Had to go with company b for nursing visits and pic line care. After pic line came out, we were able to go back to company a. Can't have 2 companies providing partial services at the same time. This was medicare rules in the state of pennsylvania.
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I would ask the current agency where their orders came from. The one time I set up home health for my mom was upon discharge from a hospital. The discharge planner, a nurse, asked if we had a preference and it was honored. Before you assume that something is crooked (I know, some people just seem to be that way, my MIL was like that, it's very wearing and not terribly productive), ask the agency where their orders came from.

Is the agency performing well? If you have an issue, is there a mechanism by which you can switch? Sometimes there are geographic restrictions (catchment areas) whereby a certain agency doesn't cover clients who are deemed too far from the agency's base. There are several possibilities for how this came about. But do find out where the orders came from, ie, who signed them and follow up from there. And let us know, we learn from each other.
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