The new home healthcare Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) released by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) goes into effect after January 1, 2020. With it, payment periods will be cut in half and therapy volume will no longer be considered when determining home health agency payments.This means that that home healthcare agencies will have to plan, deliver, document and bill for care more quickly than before. While this may seem like a daunting task to accomplish, optimizing the right technology—like HIPAA-Compliant Communication Tools—can help your agency overcome accomplish this. Here’s a look at some of the challenges agencies may be facing and how HIPAA-Compliant Communication Tools can help them overcome them.


With the introduction of PDGM, the unit of payment has been reduced from 60-day periods of care to 30-day periods of care. That means agencies will have to document and bill for care more quickly than before and the number of claims are likely to go up.

While this may seem like extra work because of the time crunch, using a HIPAA-Compliant Communications Tool simplifies the task. With the right tool, a field employee can easily take photos of patient’s Medicare and insurance cards and send them immediately to the billing department for processing. This streamlines patient referral processing and keeps agencies compliant.


Under PDGM, home health agencies are expected to be value-driven providers that deliver quality care. This requires making sure that everyone that is part of the organization and any care team is aligned—which can be difficult since people are frequently in the field.

HIPAA-Compliant Communications tools make it easy to collaborate even when people are out in the field. Teams can communicate quickly and easily from their devices, for example, sharing a photo of an injury for a second opinion or discussing a complication with a specialist.


Home health agencies must balance all of this with focusing on patients and their family as well as caregiver and staff satisfaction.

Patient engagement is a key component of quality care—studies show that patient engagement results in better health outcomes. But with everything else going on, it can be difficult for organization staff to meet all of their responsibilities and regularly engage with patients and their families. With HIPAA-Compliant Communications tools, care team members can easily reach patients and their families with relevant information and reminders. In turn, patients and their families can easily reach out to the care team, sharing important information and voicing any questions.


PDGM was implemented to allow Home Healthcare agencies to focus less on administrative duties and more on care. With HIPAA-Compliant Communication Tools, it’s as simple for field employees as reaching for their phones and sending the right information, letting them focus on the patient in front of them. Vaporstream provides agencies with a HIPAA-Compliant Communications tool that lets them easily and quickly communicate—whether to discuss a care plan, handle administrative tasks, or coordinate with another care team member. Vaporstream’s module Concierge lets home healthcare agencies easily send documents, images and files that can automatically be sent to EHR or a billing system, speeding up workflows and freeing up care team members. With Vaporstream, home healthcare agencies can easily and thoroughly prepared for PDGM. See what we look like in action here.