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Carol Elrod, AT Home Care’s Director of Continuing Quality Improvement, returned from the VAHC leadership conference in Staunton, ready to take on Capitol Hill. The focus of the meetings were how to meet the increased government demands on home health agencies which threaten reimbursement for services.  In an effort to step up collections of money on perceived overpayments to providers, aggressive strides are being taken to accelerate the recouping of Medicare dollars that have already been paid to home health agencies.  CMS is adopting a massive recovery audit program by employing RACs (Recovery Audit Contractors) to flag claims where they perceive any discrepancy.  These independent medical collection agencies, RACs, are hired by CMS and paid a fee as an incentive to find overpayments.  Elrod believes that Congress needs to be educated about these programs which unfairly target honest home health care agencies.   She has already written her congressmen about the benefits of home health care verses long term stays in hospitals and nursing homes.  She encourages everyone to join her in writing their national representatives by using the Virginia Association for Homecare website www.vahc.org.  Select Legislative Action Center and follow the prompts to congressmen’s emails.  Everyone can get involved and make a difference!Lauren Boykin and Mary Squares have moved the Private Staffing division of AT Home Care to 3900 Monument Avenue in Richmond, VA. Their business has grown over the last year to include over 50 employees and is active in Charlottesville, Tri-Cities and Richmond.  Certified Nursing Assistants and Companions are available for long or short term stays.  “With all the foot traffic coming in and out of the office, it makes sense to establish our own offices,” says Lauren.  “We are really happy with the space and enjoy our new views out onto Monument Avenue.”  They may be reached at 804 358-0631,  or call your AT Home Care office in Charlottesville or Tri- Cities to arrange for care. Good luck ladies!Environmentalism, philanthropy and positive employee relations are the cornerstone principles of AT Home Care (ATHC) that CEO Ed Kassab shares with Google chief Eric Schmidt.   Keeping current on the latest innovations in health care, communications technology and forging a connection with the greater community are all important goals for Kassab. “The most important thing for a business to succeed and grow is to have happy, motivated employees,” says Kassab, who would rather spend money on employee benefits for an experienced staff, than have continuous recruiting and training expenditures.  Ed embraces his employees as a team which is evident in the constant communication, teaching and strategizing that goes on to create a dedicated staff that translates into a successful business. Kassab also feels strongly about giving back to the less fortunate; and that quality health care should be available to all.  AT Home Care supports medical efforts abroad through its affiliation with Physicians for Peace.  Each of ATHC’s therapists is encouraged to take time off, beyond their vacation time, to participate in medical mission work in one of Physician for Peace’s Walking Free programs in developing countries.  An extension of this program is the annual Limb Drive, co- sponsored by AT Home Care, each spring.  This event collects new and used prosthetics for needy patients participating in the Walking Free Program.  VCU basketball is another of Kassab’s beneficiaries.  AT Home Care is the lead sponsor for their RAY (Rams Assisting Youth) program which gives underprivileged children the opportunity to go to VCU basketball games. Ed’s love of sports, especially basketball, is evident in his daily dress…basketball shorts, t shirt or hooded sweatshirt and sneakers.  Nothing gets in the way of his 3X a week basketball games which he has been playing at a local court for the last 10 years.  Sports is a metaphor for his business…”you’ve got to be nimble and anticipate the moves of your competition to excel in your ‘game’.”   This philosophy and a love for innovation keeps AT Home Care on the cutting edge of communication and medical technology.  This Fall, ATHC is adopting a new wireless communications software which links all information on a patient to each home care giver, and allows them to receive real time information from doctors.  Improved information and coordination allow the clinicians to have more quality time with each patient.  It simultaneously reduces paper output by 95%, thereby having the smallest environmental footprint possible. By embracing tech innovation, employee benefits and the greater good of the community that Google exemplifies, Kassab has raised the bar for quality home health care.October is Breast Cancer awareness month and AT Home Care home health agency will don their pink exam gloves to raise awareness about this disease.  The glove manufacturer, Medline, will donate $1.00 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation for each case of gloves purchased during the month.   “This ‘pink glove’ campaign is a springboard for discussing annual screening and monthly self examinations with our patients”,  said Barbara Wilson, Clinical Director who says that more than half of their patients are women.   Breast cancer has many risk factors, including age, genetics, obesity, and family history.  Women who exercise regularly, maintain healthy diets, and have regular visits with their doctors may be less likely to get breast cancer.  Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women and takes the lives of approximately 40,000 women annually.  “If we can keep the education going, we can aid in the early detection of the disease!”

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