SimiTree Senior Manager literally wrote the book on OASIS-E – and the new HCS-O study guide

By Claudia Baker, RN, MHA, HCS-D, HCS-O
Senior Manager, Clinical Operations Consulting

Home health is abuzz with OASIS-E questions on BIMS scoring, the criteria for differentiating continuous and intermittent oxygen, guidelines for IV meds, and other points of confusion.

OASIS-E is the most complex version of the home health patient assessment instrument since the OASIS was first introduced in 1999.

The remake officially launched Jan. 1, adding new standardized patient data elements, new sections designed to assess patient cognitive patterns, behavior, and mood, and other top-to-bottom changes.

The woman with the answers, who knows as much or more about OASIS-E than anyone in the industry, is SimiTree Clinical Operations Consulting Senior Manager Claudia Baker.

Baker literally wrote the book on the new OASIS-E.
Two books, actually.

  • Baker co-authored OASIS-E Trainer (Decision Health, 2022), a compilation of assessment and care planning strategies for OASIS-E accuracy and quality outcomes.
  • She also wrote the new study guide for OASIS specialty certification, the Home Care Clinical Specialist – OASIS (HCS-O) Certification Study Guide (Decision Health, 2023)

A natural choice for OASIS-E author  

“Everything changed with OASIS-E, so the HCS-O study guide had to be completely revised,” Baker said. “It wound up taking longer to do than writing the other whole book!”

Baker was a natural choice to author both OASIS-E books, due to her extensive expertise in OASIS and a background in operations, compliance, due diligence, and education. 

A registered nurse with more than 35 years in home health and hospice, Baker’s work experience includes regulatory oversight, process workflows and clinical excellence.  She has also worked in clinical informatics, providing implementation and clinical support for home-based software programs.

OASIS-E training and a unique perspective

Baker fills many roles at SimiTree, describing herself as “a utility player.”

In addition to providing OASIS-E training to clients, and helping with process improvements to increase efficiency, Baker often brings her clinical expertise to SimiTree’s IT consulting engagements.

Because SimiTree is independent – not affiliated with any particular software – consultants are able to provide unbiased guidance to clients who may be contemplating an EMR upgrade, optimization, or full replacement.

Baker frequently helps conduct selection studies.

“My EMR experience has given me a unique perspective that brings a different angle and approach to helping clients get the most out of their EMR,” she said. 

No shortcuts, just great OASIS-E tools 

Baker is a leader who doesn’t believe in shortcuts when it comes to quality, but she is a strong believer in making use of helpful tools and strategies to make it easier to ensure quality.

The OASIS-E training book she co-authored for Decision Health is filled with guidance tools for helping clinicians understand tricky high-risk mediation questions, items with multiple options and varying criteria for each item, and numerous other complexities in the new OASIS.

Her tools are featured along with best practices for sharing information when patients transition from one healthcare setting to another, and for leveraging new data to assist with care planning and outcome improvement.

Baker makes many of the same guidance tools available to clients who turn to SimiTree for OASIS-E training. Clients also have access to a selection of additional tools developed by members of the SimiTree Clinical Operations Consulting team.

Baker winces when she hears clinicians sometimes call them “cheat sheets.”

“It’s not cheating when you make full use of good guidance tools,” she said.  “Guidance tools just highlight guidelines in a quicker, easier and more helpful way.”

Baker‘s mission is making complex regulations and inefficient processes simpler and easier for clinicians so that they can streamline and improve overall clinical operations performance.

She particularly enjoys being part of the operational assessments SimiTree conducts.

“Looking at all aspects of operation provides a sense of how OASIS accuracy is integral to all that happens at an agency,” Baker said.  “You really can’t shortcut your way through something with that great an impact on all aspects of the organization. It's too important.” 

Baker and other Clinical Operations Consulting team members are available for OASIS-E accuracy training, operational assessments, EMR selection studies, and more.

Use the form below to ask the team your question about customized training.

Hot air ballooning 

When she’s not working, Baker is most often outdoors, fishing or camping. As an animal lover, she also does volunteer work for the humane society in Lexington, N.C., where she lives with her husband Carmen, two dogs and a cat.

Her husband is an avid hot air balloonist, and the two of them often travel to hot air balloon festivals around the country.

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