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Innovative Health Care Organizations Underscore Value of Home Health in the Changing Health Care Landscape

September 19, 2013
Contact: Emily White

Innovative Health Care Organizations Underscore Value of Home Health in the Changing Health Care Landscape

Health system leaders discuss the role and increasing need for home health care and its effect on patients’ overall quality of care

Washington, DC – The Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (the Alliance) today convened a briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss recent innovations in the field of home health care and educate stakeholders on the important role home health will play in the future of health care delivery. As the American population ages, the need for quality, skilled care in the home and community is rapidly increasing.

Panelists from VNA Health Group, MedStar Washington Hospital Center and UnityPoint at Home took part in today’s discussion to describe how their organizations are testing reforms to the way health care is delivered and how home health care is key to such reforms. Home health care allows for coordinated, managed care of chronic conditions, rehabilitation and post acute care needs. Procedures and therapies that once required care in a hospital or institutional setting are now safely and effectively administered in the comfort of a patient’s own home.

As health care delivery reforms continue to be at the forefront of political and policy discussions, many health systems and organizations are implementing care transitions programs and participating in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and Medicare demonstrations and pilot programs. These programs, authorized by the Affordable Care Act, are helping to improve the delivery of home health care by supporting programs that allow providers to explore new models of care delivery and health care technologies.

“Health care delivery system reforms are changing the way physicians, hospitals and patients think about post-acute and pre-acute care needs,” stated Teresa Lee, Executive Director of the Alliance. “We brought together thought leaders to demonstrate the wide array of services and programs that are being tested and that are available to patients in their homes and community.”

“Unity Point at Home is a participant in the Trinity Pioneer ACO and partner with several additional value based payer arrangements including the Medicare Shared Savings Programs. We are changing the way home health is integrated with patient-centered medical homes and hospitals,” stated Monique Reese DNP, ARNP, FNP-C, ACHPN, Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer of Unity Point at Home. “Our goal is to identify and implement best practices and deliver cost-effective, high quality care by working closely with patients and their primary care providers.”

At MedStar, the House Calls program developed because of a growing need for home-based care in the community they serve. The program’s founders saw a group of patients that would greatly benefit from care in their homes due to their inability to physically come into an office.

“In 2012 we began participation in the Independence at Home Project, a pilot project run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that looks to see whether home and community based care can succeed in providing equal or better medical outcomes while costing less than traditional alternatives,” stated Stephanie Bruce, MD, Faculty Geriatrician at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center and Assistant Professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine.

“Quality home health care is crucial to keeping patients healthy at home, and avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations and rehospitalizations,” added Steven Landers, MD, MPH, President and CEO of VNA Health Group. “Home health plays a significant role in community-based care transitions by helping patients to go from hospital to home with the appropriate supports needed, including coordinated care, medication management, and social support.”

The briefing was the fourth installment in the Innovation Perspectives series, launched in April 2013 by the Alliance. Past events in the educational series focused on ACOs and bundling, advanced illness management, and patient and family engagement in health care delivery system reforms.