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But Did You Call the Doctor?

Care Coordination is one of the most frequently cited deficiencies in state surveys. We seem to know the docs who don’t care about blood sugars out of parameters or won’t give wound care orders so we just don’t call them. Now, in addition to state surveys, the OASIS-C dataset will be looking at our communication with physicians.

Several questions in the OASIS-C dataset ask if the MD was notified in one calendar day. What the question really means is, “Did you notify the doc within one calendar day and get a response?” A fax confirmation is not a response for the purposes of this question!

And sometimes, the answer will be, ‘No’. No matter how hard you try or what action you take, sometimes, the physician or their designee will not be responsive. Consider a late Friday afternoon admission where a review of medications reveals that the patient is on both Zantac and Tagamet – a potential duplication of medications. You notify the MD after your admission and for some reason he doesn’t get back to you until Monday morning.

Many times, on call physicians leave all non-urgent calls for the patient’s regular physician. Some docs trust you to hold one of the meds until you hear back from them. Some docs are lazy and slow. And some, a very small minority, may not care.

So, what do you do? The way that these questions are phrased begs the ‘correct’ response of, ‘Yes’. And the same agencies that deliberately skew outcomes will undoubtedly have perfect scores on these questions. My clients will not. They have been taught to do their best and to answer according the events that take place in reality – not on Planet Julianne where every doc is doing nothing but sitting by the phone eagerly awaiting our phone calls.

And if anyone tells you to differently, remember that the OASIS-C dataset is a legal document with your signature on it. Take the time between now and the first of the year to educate referral sources. Since MD’s are also subject to outcomes, most will understand why you suddenly become so needy after the first of the year.

And if you look not so hot on paper, remember your choices are to be less than honest or devote an enormous amount of time to satisfying a dataset. In other words, look at your patient and do what needs to be done to take care of them and document appropriately. The last thing we need five years down the line is useless data because not everyone is answering the questions in the same way.

OASIS-C education is ongoing at our office and we would love to visit you onsite. If you are in need of staff training, please do not hesitate to call 225-216-1241 or email

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Maricelis #

    Do you provide office training to home health staff regarding OASIS C? If yes, do you provide training in Miami, Florida and the cost?

    November 17, 2009

    • Of course we do! I will email you directly this morning!

      November 17, 2009

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