Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - Medicare Home Health

Home health care includes skilled nursing care , as well as other skilled care services, like physical and occupational therapy, speech-language pathology (therapy) services. Services may also include medical social services, and assistance from a home health aide (when needed by people also receiving skilled care).

These services are provided by a variety of health care professionals in your home. The home health staff provides and helps coordinate the care and/or therapy your doctor orders. In support of your doctor's orders, home health staff develop a care plan, which is a written plan for your care. It tells what services you will get to reach and keep your best physical, mental, and social well being. You have a right to participate in planning your care and treatment. The home health staff keeps your doctor up-to-date on how you are doing and updates your care plan as needed. Home health agencies cannot make changes to the care your doctor orders for you without your doctor's knowledge and permission.

Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans cover some medically necessary home health care. If you meet certain conditions, Medicare covers part-time skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, home health aide services, medical social services, durable medical equipment (such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen, and walkers), medical supplies, and other services.

The Medicare Home Health benefit provides skilled nursing and some other health services in the home. To be eligible a person must be on Medicare. To receive home health visits:

  • The doctor must approve and write a plan for your care at home;
  • You must need intermittent skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech-language pathology services;
  • You must be homebound, that is, unable to leave home at all without great difficulty (usually medical trips, church and beauty shop are the only trips permissible); and
  • The agency providing your home care must be approved by Medicare.


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