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Letter: House Calls May Help the Nation's Aging Population

Published by The Free Lance-Star
Teresa Lee
May 4, 2015

Recent coverage of the revival of house calls brings much-needed attention to an escalating problem in the U.S. health care system—how and where to care for our nation’s aging population.

Each day an estimated 10,000 baby boomers turn 65, becoming Medicare eligible, and in just three years those over 65 will outnumber those under age 5 across the nation.

Thanks to modern medicine and technology, people are living longer lives, but with increasing multiple chronic conditions, like diabetes and high-blood pressure, that make maintaining good health much harder.

While new models of care delivery are being tested, strategic planning for the influx of older Americans lacks a clear focus and vision.
In order to combat this, the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation has launched the Future of Home Health project to improve understanding of how home health care is currently used, and how it will be used in the future for older Americans and the disabled.

Emerging from our work is the need to shift care away from institutional settings and toward the home and community, allowing for achievement of the Triple Aim: improving the patient’s care experience, improving population health and reducing per capita costs.
We also need to focus efforts on fortifying the health care workforce and optimizing our use of technology.

House calls are ripe for increased use in the future, as long as we continue to seek models of care that place patients in the setting that best meets their clinical needs and personal preferences.

If we focus our efforts on how and where we should be taking care of older Americans, we can develop a strong framework for the future of health care and shore up our ability to deliver home-based care to patients who need it.

Teresa Lee
Washington
The writer is executive director of the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation.