There are many different certifications in home health. Many are very similar certifications, but often through a different company. For home health QA, there are really mainly three areas of expertise for QA in home health. They are certifications in diagnosis coding, OASIS, and compliance. These certifications are available through different companies. HCS-O stands for Home Care Clinical Specialist- OASIS. This is a usually a nurse, physical therapist, or occupational therapist that is familiar with home health and OASIS first.
HCS-D stands for Homecare Coding Specialist- Diagnosis. This is a certification in diagnosis coding. Home health coding is not the same as medical coding. HCS-D shows that a person is proficient in coding rules, knowledge, and guidelines for ICD-10-CM coding. Home Health coding is quite specialized and it usually takes quite a bit of experience to take a test. In our experience, it takes about 2 years of home health coding experience to be very proficient at coding and be able to pass the test. The best teacher is experience in this case. There are thousands upon thousands of codes and a lot of rules, assumed relationships, and guidelines that need to be learned and understood.
These tests are very rigorous and require a lot of study. We recommend a study guide and some mentorship to earn the HCS-D certification. We use Decision Health resources for our employees to help them stay up to date, certified, get CEUs, and have coding and OASIS questions at their fingertips.
Here is a link to a study guide from Decision Health. HCS-D Study Guide