When is a patient referred for home health services?
A patient is referred for home health services when they need a licensed nurse, therapist, or other caregiver to provide care such as administering complicated medications, dressing wounds, monitoring symptoms of diabetes, or providing physical, occupational, or speech therapy. Patients are referred by their doctor, who can be their primary care physician, specialist or hospitalist. A social worker or discharge planner may also help arrange for home health care. Medicare regulations require patients to have a face-to-face visit within 90 days prior of receiving the referral from their doctor. In a few cases, patients may begin home health services prior to receiving a referral but must attain a face-to-face visit with their physician within 30 days.