Nearly half of physicians spend less than 1 minute reviewing CMS-485 form before certifying

Forty-seven percent of physicians said they spend less than 1 minute reviewing the CMS-485, which is used to certify Medicare skilled home healthcare care plans and used for interactions between SHHC agencies and physicians, before certification, according to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

To determine how physicians communicated with SHHC agencies and to identify how much time they spent reviewing the CMS-485, the researchers sent a survey via mail to a nationally representative random sample of 1,968 physicians. Physicians specialized in internal medicine, family or general medicine, geriatrics, geriatric psychiatry or hospice and palliative medicine. After three mailings, the survey response rate was 53 percent (1,044 of 1,968).

Here are four survey insights.

1. Of the 1,005 respondents who provided patient care, 72 percent of these physicians certified at least one plan of care.

2. The findings indicate most physicians did not spend much time reviewing the CMS-485 before certification, with 47 percent of participants spending less than one minute and 21 percent spending at least two minutes. Physicians usually used fax or mail to communicate with SHHC agencies.

3. Around 80 percent of physicians rarely or never changed orders on the CMS-485 form. In addition, 78.3 percent of respondents rarely or never asked SHHC clinicians questions about information.

4. The study authors concluded the CMS-485 does not meaningfully engage physicians. "Physicians spend little time reviewing or acting on the SHHC plan of care," the researchers wrote. "Strategies to enhance meaningful communication between SHHC agencies and physicians are needed."

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