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Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation Takes Part in Discussion on the Future Direction of Health Care in America

December 10, 2014
Contact: Emily Adler

Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation Takes Part in Discussion on the Future Direction of Health Care in America

Home health leader underscores the current and future importance of securing home health services for growing population of seniors and Americans with disabilities

The Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (the Alliance) – a non-profit, national consortium of home health care providers and organizations that invests in research and education about home health care and its ability to deliver quality, cost-effective, patient-centered care across the care continuum – participated in a panel discussion on Capitol Hill yesterday hosted by Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL), focusing on the current state and future direction of the health care system.

The panel discussion, titled “Health Care from 30,000 feet - Past, Present and Future from an Industry Perspective,” brought together health care leaders from various backgrounds to discuss topics ranging from expanding and improving efficiency in health care to emerging fields in care coordination.

Teresa Lee, J.D., M.P.H, the Alliance’s Executive Director, took part as a featured panelist to detail the role of home health, barriers to appropriately optimizing home health and what the home health community is doing to prepare for the future care needs of America’s senior and disabled populations.

At the forefront of the future of health care delivery is skilled home health care, which is provided annually to 3.5 million seniors and Americans with disabilities through the Medicare home health benefit. Medicare home health care provides interdisciplinary teams of nurses, therapists, aides, and social workers to manage chronic conditions or provide post-acute care after an initial hospital stay in the comfort of patients’ own homes.

As the American population continues to live longer and rapidly age into the Medicare system, the continuous delivery of home health care services is essential to the sustainability of the health care system. However, significant challenges hinder the ability to appropriately optimize the effectiveness of the Medicare home health benefit for America’s seniors.

These challenges include the current siloed payment system which promotes volume over value, and perpetuates care fragmentation and aspects of the home health benefit that keep patients from receiving care such as burdensome documentation requirements and blunt home health payment cuts. Additionally, infrastructure reforms are needed that support family caregiving, transportation, housing, and meals.

“Despite needed changes to the Medicare home health benefit, there are several programs that point toward a better future by leveraging home health and home based care,” Lee said. “Many of these programs, including bundled payment arrangements, Home Based Primary Care programs, Independence at Home demonstration project sites, and community-based transitions programs are showing early signs of positive results.”

To continue to advance positive change in the home health care community and develop a sustainable framework for the future delivery of home health, the Alliance sponsored an Institute of Medicine and National Research Council workshop on the Future of Home Health Care earlier this year during which healthcare stakeholders and experts from across the care continuum addressed these very issues. The Alliance’s work in this area will continue with a Future of Home Health Symposium in January.

“We thank Congressman Rush for convening such an important discussion and stand ready to work with policy-makers and other health care stakeholders to develop solutions that will improve health care in America,” concluded Lee.