As the landscape of health care continues to shift, now is the time to further the conversation on the role of home health in the future of health care delivery. New and emerging health care delivery system reforms focus on new ways to improve the quality of care delivered while lowering costs.  Home health care is being used in many of these emerging delivery system reforms.

Last week, the Journal of American Medical Association released a piece from Dr. Steven Landers, President & CEO of VNA Health Group and Chairman of the Alliance’s Board of Directors, on the increasing importance of home health care to Medicare patients (available here). Titled, “The Future of the Medicare Home Health program,” the article serves as a starting point for further conversations on the state of health care, and the ways in which home health care can provide a high-quality, lower-cost alternative for many patients.

Some of the key trends discussed in the piece include:

  1. An increasing patient desire to age at home
  2. A need for cost-effective solutions in the U.S. health care system
  3. The idea of home health care as a patient-preferred and high-quality alternative to other care.

Dr. Landers’ article offers perspective on the current state of health care, which should be addressed with regard to the present and future value of home health care in the Medicare program.

In our role to engage in and inform a directed conversation on the value of home health care, the Alliance is working to lead and support research and educational efforts to improve the U.S health care system. As part of our efforts, we are cultivating research on the value of home health care; educating policymakers, the public, and key stakeholders on home health’s role in a changing health care landscape; and working on solutions to improve home health through quality and innovation.

We are also encouraging our members to engage in the ongoing dialogues about how to foster solutions to improve health care in America in multiple venues—through our working groups; outreach to policymakers, patients, other health care providers, and key stakeholders through our social media channels; and through events such as Alliance webinars and congressional briefings.

“Beyond these suggested reforms, there also needs to be substantial national investments in education and research in home health care,” Dr. Landers concludes. “By revisiting the nation’s home health policy, there is an opportunity to improve quality, independence, and compassion for the largest group of older Americans in the nation’s history.”

Given the attention being paid to health care and the Medicare program in the context of the recurring budget battles in Washington, D.C., now is the time for home health to speak up as discussion and debate over the future of health care amplifies. We have a great opportunity to be leaders on a national stage and we invite our members to join us in educating the public on the value of home health care in the future.

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