MedWest-Haywood will phase out some home health programs

By Vicki Hyatt | May 18, 2012

CLYDE – It’s official. Plans announced earlier by MedWest-Haywood to discontinue in-home aide services in Haywood County are moving forward.
About two dozen employees in the home health department were first notified that their jobs were being eliminated in mid-April.
The move was the result of a management review of the department and the hospital-provided services for government programs such as the Community Alternative Program for Disabled Adults (CAP-DA) and the Home and Community Care Block Grant program (HCCBG).
The decision was based on cost, a news release stated, as well as the need to focus on providing Medicare-certified skilled home health care services which include nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, medical social services and home health aide for personal care.
The initial decision was made under the leadership of  out-going MedWest-Haywood President Michael Poore, and apparently caught board members for both MedWest and Haywood Regional Medical Center by surprise.
When the action became public, the hospital announced after hours on a Friday that the decision had been put on hold pending board review.

The announcement also caused some angst for those who had loved ones being cared for by long-trusted certified nursing assistants who may have to be replaced by another caregiver.

Both the Haywood County Department of Social Services and Mountain Projects, Inc., which arrange for home-health care assistance to those qualifying for the federal programs, had been notified of the transition and continued moving forward finding other providers to assume the hospital’s case load.
A hospital news release sent out Wednesday indicated the decision had been made to proceed as planned, with a June 30  transition target date.
“However, services will continue until all patients have been appropriately placed in the care of other agencies,” the release said. “MedWest-Haywood staff affected by this change will have the opportunity to seek one of five internal positions, depending on qualifications.”
It is estimated 17 certified nursing assistant (CNA) positions are being eliminated.MedWest-Haywood will be assisting those staff in finding employment with local agencies providing in-home aide services.
Currently, MedWest-Haywood is the in-home aide service provider for 19 of the 134 home health clients in the CAP-DA program managed by the Haywood County Department of Social Services and five of the Home and Community Care Block Grant program patients.
MedWest-Haywood serves about 200 patients with skilled home health care services in Haywood and surrounding counties.
“It’s rare for a hospital to provide in-home aide services as part of home health care,” said Dwayne Hooks, chief nursing officer at MedWest-Haywood. “As a home health division, we can now focus on growing those specialized services that help people in their homes from a clinical aspect,” Hooks said.