Medicare's home health community is well-positioned to help strengthen the coordination of chronic care services for seniors
The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare – a coalition of home health providers dedicated to improving the integrity, quality, and efficiency of home healthcare for our nation's seniors – today commended Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) for introducing the Better Care, Lower Cost Act of 2014 (S.1932/H.R.3890) to improve the management of care for Medicare beneficiaries living with chronic conditions.
"The Partnership supports the goals of the Better Care, Lower Cost Act of 2014 to improve patient outcomes and lower Medicare costs by encouraging coordination and integration of senior care services," said Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership. "Since the inception of the Medicare program, skilled home health professionals have served as leading providers of chronic condition management and prevention services for millions of the Medicare population's frailest patients. Drawing on this experience, the home health community looks forward to helping achieve creative, clinically appropriate and cost-effective solutions for the delivery of care to all chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries."
Medicare home health beneficiaries are documented as being older, poorer, and sicker than the general Medicare beneficiary population. For example, data analyses completed by Avalere Health find that 75 percent of Medicare home health beneficiaries live with four or more chronic conditions, compared to 48.5 percent of non-home health Medicare beneficiaries. As a result, home health providers have extensive experience serving seniors who are among the Medicare program's most vulnerable beneficiaries.
Skilled home healthcare is the Medicare program's lowest-cost source of chronic condition treatment and management services. In addition, home healthcare serves a vital role in helping seniors and disabled individuals to remain in their communities while reconciling their medications, avoiding complications and preventing readmissions to hospitals. As a result, the Partnership believes the Better Care Plan model is critically important to expanding active engagement in chronic disease management before and after a hospital stay.
"As the most cost-effective senior care setting, home health is essential to providing high-quality, cost-effective care. The Partnership looks forward to working with Senators Wyden and Isakson and Representatives Paulsen and Welch to ensure timely passage of this important measure and strengthen chronic care delivery for our nation's sickest seniors," added Berger.
Skilled home health services are an essential tool in managing complex conditions. Each year, 3.5 million American seniors and disabled individuals rely on clinicians, therapists and other health professionals to guide them through the nuances of their conditions and assist them in maintaining optimal health in their homes. The Medicare home health benefit is widely recognized as clinically advanced, cost-effective and patient preferred.
Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare