At the Heart of Home Health Care


Visiting Nurse Associations of America








Home care is an essential, integral part of health care today, touching the lives of
nearly every American.

What is home health care?

As the name implies, home health care is professional health care provided in your home. Most often it is used by people who are chronically ill, disabled or recovering from an illness or accident. Home health care clients still require assistance or treatment, but are well enough to be cared for at home, instead of in a hospital or other institution.

What agencies or organizations provide home health care?

There are nearly 10,000 home health care agencies in the United States. Home health care providers include registered, licensed, practical and vocational nurses; agencies contracting with physicians; home care aides; medical social workers; pharmacists; physical, respiratory and occupational therapists; laboratory technologists; speech pathologists; dental hygienists and dentists.

What services do home health care agencies provide?

The set of services provided by individual agencies will vary depending on local needs. VNA services range from skilled nursing and mental health care to hospice service, social work and physical therapy. High-tech services previously provided only in hospitals, such as ventilator care, blood transfusions, pain management and home chemotherapy are now routinely provided in the home by VNAs.

Will my insurance cover home health care?

If the care is medically necessary and the patient meets certain coverage requirements, Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans will usually pay for home health care services. Medicaid coverage varies depending on the state in which you reside and of course, different private insurance carriers have different policies. For services that are not covered, patients may choose to pay out of their own pocket. Some agencies are subsidized by community groups and some receive funding from local and state government to assist patients in paying for their care when they have no available resources. With support from philanthropic sources, VNAs provide care to all, regardless of ability to pay.

How do I choose the right home health care provider?

There are many important factors to consider in choosing the best agency to meet your needs. First you must assess what types of services you will need and find an agency that offers those services. Ask the agencies you are considering about their accreditations, licenses and certifications. You'll also want to evaluate the quality of care, and the skills and training of personnel at the agencies under consideration. For a more detailed discussion of factors to consider visit our choosing a visiting nurse agency.

What do I do if there is a problem?

If you've selected your home health agency carefully, you'll probably avoid most problems. If a problem should come up, report it directly to the head administrator of the agency. You may also make a complaint to your state's department of health, State Medicare hot line or your local Better Business Bureau.

What are my rights as a patient?

Federal law dictates that all home health care patients be informed of their rights and responsibilities. Your local VNA can provide you with a summary of patient's rights and responsibilities.

How do I find a VNA in my area?

Our member directory can assist you in finding a VNA in  your area. 

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