Amedisys is First to Earn Accreditation for Integrated Health Care Standards for Behavioral Health Disorders

BATON ROUGE, La., June 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Amedisys, a leading home health care and hospice company (NASDAQ: AMED), today announced that three of its care centers are the first in the country to be awarded the prestigious Integrated Health Care Standards Accreditation by the Accreditation Commission of Health Care (ACHC). The new accreditation is awarded to home health agencies that demonstrate a strong multidisciplinary approach to caring for patients suffering from behavioral health disorders such as depression, dementia and schizophrenia.

The Integrated Health Care Standards Accreditation is the first and only accreditation to offer standards for integrated home care, blending behavioral health care with traditional health care. Previously, providers offering both services required two separate accreditations.

"We take pride in knowing our company played a vital role in the development of this home care behavioral health accreditation by providing ACHC with our perspective and recommendations as well as implementing the standards at a local care center level," said Elizabeth Gregory RN, CNS, PhD, and Corporate Behavioral Health Program Director at Amedisys.

ACHC worked with Amedisys to identify, monitor and accredit three sites that are currently offering both home health care and behavioral health care, allowing them to integrate care. The sites are located in Birmingham, Ala., Louisville, Ky. and Huntsville, Ala.

"Being the first to receive this accreditation from ACHC reinforces Amedisys' commitment to lead the way in quality home health and behavioral health care," said William F. Borne, Amedisys' chief executive officer. "This accreditation underscores our company's mission to develop and advance innovative standards of quality care that go beyond Medicare requirements."

All three of the accredited sites were chosen because of the high standard of care they offer patients through Amedysis' Empowered for Life™ program. The illness management and recovery program focuses on patient involvement and empowerment. It moves beyond the traditional method of learning to cope with a behavioral problem, to a hands-on approach that involves the patient, family members and caregivers.

Through the Empowered for Life™ program, caregivers are taught the proper skills to identify problematic behaviors and interactions. Patients learn to understand their diagnosis, the purpose of their medications and who to contact in the event of a crisis. These skills are learned through role-playing, homework exercises and role modeling.

"We have been continually impressed with the commitment Amedisys has shown in developing and implementing the Empowered for Life™ program," said Britt Welch, MS, LPA, and ACHC behavioral health clinical manager. "It is vital that patients with behavioral disorders know they are receiving the highest standard of care, and Amedisys has led the way in implementing these standards into its practices. Allowing patients to have this knowledge will improve their outcomes and empower them to manage their illness."

Amedisys and ACHC are currently working together to evaluate other home health care agencies that may qualify for Integrated Health Care Standards Accreditation.  

About Amedisys:

Amedisys, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMED) is a leading health care company focused on bringing home the continuum of care. Amedisys delivers personalized health care services to patients and their families, in the comfort of patients' homes, with approximately 10 million patient care and education encounters per year. Amedisys has two divisions, home health care and hospice. The Company's state-of-the-art advanced chronic care management programs and leading-edge technology enables it to deliver quality care based upon the latest evidence-based best practices. Amedisys is a recognized innovator, being one of the first in the industry to equip its clinicians with point-of-care laptop technology and referring physicians with an internet portal that enables real-time coordination of patient care seamlessly. Amedisys also has the industry's first-ever nationwide Care Transitions program. Amedisys Care Transitions is designed to reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions through patient and caregiver health coaching and care coordination, which starts in the hospital and continues throughout completion of the patient's home health plan of care. For more information about the Company, please visit:  

SOURCE Amedisys, Inc.


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