FirstHealth Home Care earns 5-star rating

By: By Brenda Bouser - For the Daily Journal

PINEHURST — FirstHealth Home Care has received five stars in the first-ever patient experience of care star ratings released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Known as HHCAHPS, the Home Health Care Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, these ratings evaluate patients’ experience with home health agencies. They were introduced on Home Health Compare (, a public information website that provides information on how well Medicare-certified agencies provide care to their patients.

The HHCAHPS Survey star ratings report patients’ experiences of care ranging from one star to five stars using data from patients — or the family or friends of patients — that have been treated by the agency.

“Having the HHCAHPS Survey star ratings on Home Health Compare helps patients and their families make better informed health care decisions and encourages those of us who provide home health services to strive for higher levels of quality and patient experience,” said Patty Upham, director of FirstHealth Home Care. “Our five-star rating indicates that our patients and their families believe that we not only offer but provide excellent care and a high-quality patient experience.”

FirstHealth Home Care has offices in Moore and Richmond counties from which services are offered to patients in Hoke, Scotland, Lee and Montgomery counties as well as to those in Moore and Richmond.

As the highest rating, the five-star HHCAHPS designation reflects the best patient experience. More than 11,000 agencies currently have data on Home Health Compare, and more than 6,000 of them now have patient care experience star ratings.

Previously, patients could select multiple agencies at a time on Home Health Compare to compare agency performance on individual HHCAHPS items, such as how often the home health team delivered care in a professional way. Patients have also had access to summary Quality of Patient Care star ratings for each agency.

These star ratings summarize home health agencies’ performance on nine quality measures that indicate how well they assist their patients in regaining or maintaining important functional abilities and how frequently they adhere to evidence-based processes of care.

With the new ratings, patients and their family members can go one step further by comparing information on patients’ experiences of home health care at these agencies through the HHCAHPS Survey star ratings. Individuals are now able to view the following five HHCAHPS Survey star ratings for each home health agency listed on the website:

• Care of patients

• Communication between providers and patients

• Specific care issues

• Overall rating of care provided by the home health agency

• Survey summary star rating

For more information about the HHCAHPS Survey, visit the official HHCAHPS Web site at For more information on FirstHealth Home Care, visit

Brenda Bouser works in corporate communications for FirstHealth of the Carolinas.

By Brenda Bouser

For the Daily Journal