Improving ‘home care’ critical to addressing chronic disease and reducing health care costs nationwide

Published on April 13, 2011 at 7:19 PM · No Comments

Val J. Halamandaris, president of The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s decision to exclude proposals that would impact seniors’ access to critical home care services:

“As Congress and the Administration focus their collective efforts on a long-term, sustainable approach to Medicare reform, we commend the President for acknowledging that proposals should not shift health care costs onto seniors and their families. Preserving and improving home care for seniors must be a cornerstone given the role it plays in treating and managing costly chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension. Home care is a national solution that is both preferred by seniors and is far less expensive than institutional settings. Economically-speaking, it’s the best means of health-care cost containment at our nation’s disposal today.

Across America, millions of seniors and disabled persons depend on Medicare-provided home care. With an additional 10,000 Americans reaching Medicare eligibility age every day, improving our commitment to high-quality care must remain a top priority. Through a coordinated approach in partnership with physicians and caregivers, seniors are receiving personalized treatments while maintaining their independence within the comfort and privacy of their own home.

Again, we commend the President for excluding from his proposal elements of the Deficit Commission report which would have severely impacted seniors’ access to high-quality, low-cost home care services.  After the home care community agreed to a $39 billion cut in funding under the Affordable Care Act, we hope this is a clear sign that the administration recognizes that now is the time to establish a stable and consistent level of funding for home care. The President’s decision touches and is appreciated by home care patients, family members and caregivers in every state, district and community. It is also the right decision to help ensure high quality care while also reducing our nation's deficit.

Going forward, we must have a focused and national conversation on what’s necessary to preserve high-quality care for seniors while also addressing our long-term deficit. As HHS pointed out this morning in their “partnership for patients” initiative, the effective transition of patients from hospitalizations would save billions of dollars by reducing readmissions and home care will remain a key tool in this effort. Nowhere is there a better solution in America today than providing home care to the millions of Americans who would otherwise seek treatment in costly institutional settings. We look forward to working with Congress and the administration to strengthen America’s home care system for the millions who rely on it, now and in the future.”

About NAHC

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is a nonprofit organization that represents the nation’s 33,000 home care and hospice organizations. NAHC also advocates for the more than two million nurses, therapists, aides and other caregivers employed by such organizations to provide in-home services each year to some 10 million Americans who are infirm, chronically ill, disabled and dying. Along with its advocacy, NAHC is committed to excellence in every respect and provides information to help its members maintain the highest quality of care. To learn more about NAHC, visit www.nahc.org and www.caring.org.

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