Patient Provider Choice Matters & It’s Your Right!

Patient rights in choosing a health care provider

While no one likes to think about health-related “what ifs,” the unexpected does happen. For individuals that experience injury or illness resulting in a hospital stay, the road to recovery can sometimes take a while. And in some cases, a doctor will recommend continued recovery at home under the care and oversight of a home health agency, like RVNAhealth. When faced with the need for home health care, it is important to know your rights in choosing who provides that care.

The Patient’s Right to Choose

The right to choose who provides your health care is protected under federal law and it is fundamental to patient autonomy and the principle of person-centered care. Hospitals requiring discharge to home health care must inform their patients of their right and option to choose a provider.

How Should the Choice Process Work?

The process of being assigned to a home health agency should ideally involve collaboration between you or family, hospital staff (such as a Case Manager), healthcare providers, and sometimes social workers. However, due to the nation-wide shortage of healthcare workers, we often hear stories of hospital patients being preemptively assigned to a home health agency and asked if they are okay with it, or if they would like to choose another agency. While this might seem like helpful and proactive action from hospital staff, this can be ‘putting the cart before the horse’ if you just accept what has been assigned.  It’s important to empower yourself with the knowledge of what home health care is out there and what you need.

What are Some Factors I Should Use in Choosing a Home Health Agency?

  • Have you used service with a Home Health Agency in the past? If yes, it is beneficial to consider using that same agency again (assuming your prior experience was good). Returning to the same agency can offer a more seamless experience – considering the agency’s familiarity with your medical history, and your familiarity with them. Be sure to speak up and let hospital staff know what agency you used before and that you want to use them again.
  • What services do you need now and possibly need in the near term future? It is recommended that you think about services you need now as well as possible services you might need in the future. Does the agency you are considering offer all these services? For example, maybe you are a cardiac patient that needs skilled nursing and physical therapy now, but you may possibly need Palliative care in the future. Find out if the agency you choose can serve your evolving future needs. As discussed above, continuity of service with the same agency can be a tremendous asset to both you and your overall care.
  • What insurance do you have? Be very careful with this one as you don’t want a huge bill or a lack of coverage: If you have a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicaid plan, you need to validate insurance coverage before finalizing your home health agency choice. But with straight Medicare coverage you should not have insurance acceptance concerns with well-established agencies.
  • What if you have no preference or time to do your research? Ask questions! Ask your hospital Case Manager for two or three recommended choices. Ask who might serve your specific health needs (and potential future needs) best and why. Ask what geographic area they serve. Ask if their staffing is solid or if they have trouble with cancellation of visits.

As the demand for home health care continues to grow, advocating for and protecting a patient’s right to choose ensures that the evolving healthcare landscape remains centered on the needs and preferences of the individuals it serves. It’s important to communicate openly with your healthcare team, express your preferences, and ask any questions you may have about the transition to home health care. They are there to support you through the process and ensure that you receive the appropriate care tailored to your needs. If you have any questions regarding RVNAhealth services, please contact us at 203.438.5555 or visit our website at

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