With a new year comes a new opportunity to improve the integrity, quality, and efficiency of home health for our nation’s seniors. As Congress returns to work, we urge our nation’s lawmakers to continue protecting patients through support of the Securing Access Via Excellence (SAVE) Medicare Home Health Act.
Introduced last year (as H.R. 5110), the SAVE Medicare Home Health Act would repeal devastating cuts to the Medicare home health benefit implemented through the Affordable Care Act. If enacted, the bill would enable millions of seniors to remain in their homes, receiving highly effective care in a patient’s preferred setting.
Last legislative session, 40 sponsors and cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives supported this vital legislation to the continued delivery of quality home healthcare. We at the Partnership would like to personally thank each Member for standing up for some of America’s most vulnerable patients.
However, there is much more to be done. The SAVE Medicare Home Health Act must be re-introduced for consideration by the 114th Congress. Fortunately, the health and well being of our seniors is truly a cause we can all support.
Therefore, our New Year’s resolution is simple: protect patients and combat harmful cuts to home health. We hope our lawmakers will help us to make this possible!
As families and friends gather around the table for Thanksgiving this year, it is important to remember why we are thankful.
For many Americans, there is nothing more important than the choice to remain at home. Home is comfortable. Home is close to family. And home is where most people want to be, especially as they grow older.
Home healthcare helps deliver the indelible gift of home to millions of American seniors each year. Dynamic teams of doctors, nurses, therapists and aides provide quality care in a patient’s preferred setting – offering peace of mind and tangible results.
At the Partnership, we work every day to ensure that Americans who are thankful for all that home has to offer have the choice to receive care in the best possible setting.
So this Thanksgiving, reflect upon the memories of years past. Consider the joy of the holidays. And most importantly, remember that home – and the security it provides – is something we must all be grateful for.
We certainly will.
Have a happy, healthy Thanksgiving from your friends at the Partnership!
On Veterans Day, it is important that Americans everywhere pause and consider the great sacrifice of our nation’s servicemen and women. Even against great odds, they have defended our way of life with valor and steadfast devotion.
Yet, veterans deserve our unbridled support for much more than a single day. And that begins with ensuring our nation’s heroes access to quality, cost-efficient, and dignified care – especially as they grow older.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) established the Home Based Primary Care (HBPC) program in 1972 to provide comprehensive primary care services to veterans in their homes.
HPBC has significantly reduced preventable emergency room visits and inpatient hospital days for veterans, resulting in a 24 percent decrease in total healthcare costs. The VA expanded access to home healthcare earlier this year through the establishment of the Caregiver Support Program, engaging Caregiver Support Coordinators to assist family caregivers of veterans and providing services to aid in caring for their loved ones
Home healthcare has clearly become one of the single most important aspects of care for veterans. And while there is no way to fully repay the debt we owe to those who served our country, we can continue to give back by providing necessary care in the best possible setting.
Indeed, every day is Veteran’s Day in the home health community, as we dedicate ourselves to improving the lives of those who defended ours.
With Election Day just a few hours away, policymakers and thought leaders must take note of America’s most active and politically aware voting block: senior citizens.
Senior citizens play a clear, and absolutely critical role in future direction of America. And their ballots will directly impact the defining policy decisions of the next decade.
For many seniors, the principal issue of the 2014 elections is healthcare. And as more Americans become eligible for Medicare coverage each day, there is a heightened focus on – and concern about – Medicare policy issues. As a result, seniors are very attuned to changes that could undermine the healthcare services and providers upon which they depend.
And cuts to home healthcare will be chief amongst those changes.
Using the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration cut Medicare home health funding by an unprecedented 14 percent at the start of this year. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) admitted that “approximately 40 percent” of all home healthcare providers in America would be operating at a loss by the end of 2017 as a result of this cut.
As a result, thousands of providers may be forced to close their doors if this cut stands uncorrected, directly impacting 1.3 million American seniors and costing the jobs of 465,000 home healthcare professionals, according to Avalere Health.
While 38 lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have signed on to legislation that would stop the Medicare home health cut and replace it with sustainable Medicare payment reforms, there is still much work to be done to ensure the future health of our seniors.
Therefore, the future of Medicare home health home health will be defined, in part, by how seniors vote when they mail their ballots from home or enter the voting booths tomorrow. After all, the sustainability of home health significantly depends on public officials who truly understand the wishes of their constituents and fight for the wellbeing of senior citizens across the nation.
We would like to thank Senator Mitch McConnell and Congressman David McKinley for their support of home healthcare and the SAVE Medicare Home Health Act.
During the recent Save Home Health rallies in Kentucky and West Virginia, Senator McConnell and Congressman McKinley spoke out about the unprecedented 14% Medicare cuts to home healthcare and the negative impact it will have on patients and jobs.
There are 3.5 million seniors and disabled individuals who rely on the Medicare home healthcare benefit for their care. The SAVE Medicare Home Health Act aims to protect access to care for these patients.
It is critical that we join Senator McConnell and Congressman McKinley in support of Medicare’s most vulnerable patients. Ask your member of Congress to sign on to the bill today.
This week, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council hosted the Future of Home Health Care Workshop, sponsored by the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (AHHQI), to discuss the current state of home health in the nation’s health care delivery system in order to improve the understanding of the role home health care will play in the future.
As a member of AHHQI, we were pleased to see experts representing academia, think tanks, government, accrediting bodies, healthcare delivery systems, national associations and other thought leaders in the health care community examine trends affecting Medicare home health care today and the changes needed in home health care to optimally serve patients and the U.S. health care system in the future.
You can see a recap of the #FutureofHH conversation on Twitter here.
The Future of Home Health Workshop was one piece of the four-phase Future of Home Health Project. We look forward to learning more in the next phase of the project at the symposium this January.
September 17 is Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, commemorating the signing of the United States Constitution 227 years ago today.
Being a citizen of the United States comes with many rights – and none is more important than our right to vote.
Voting is an easy task for many Americans, but it can be difficult for our homebound seniors who rely on Medicare’s home health benefit to receive quality, skilled care at home. This November, it is especially important for Medicare’s most vulnerable patients to make their voice heard. On January 1, 2014, the Medicare home health benefit was hit with an unprecedented 14 percent cut over the next 4 years, placing millions of patients, hard working medical professionals, and small businesses at risk.
Although they cannot vote at the polls in person, we can help by bringing the vote home to America’s 3.5 million Medicare home health patients.
The video below from Bring the Vote Home gives patients, caregivers, advocates, and clinicians the tools to register, obtain absentee ballots, and submit ballots from home!
Every election season, it is important for Americans to exercise their right vote. However, for some Americans, this can be a challenge.
The 3.5 million seniors and individuals with disabilities served by the Medicare home health benefit are considered homebound, and therefore cannot travel to polling locations.
This November, it is especially important for Medicare’s poorest, sickest, and most vulnerable patients to make their voice heard. Recently, Medicare slated the home health benefit to be cut by 14 percent over the next 4 years, placing at risk millions of patients and hard working professionals as well as thousands of American small businesses.
While many of our patients cannot vote in person, we can help them get to the polls by bringing the vote home. The video below highlights an initiative that gives patients, caregivers, advocates, and clinicians the tools to register, obtain absentee ballots, and submit ballots from home!
A study conducted by MedStar Washington Hospital Center found that home-based primary care incurred 17 percent lower overall Medicare costs over a course of two years.
The report published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society found patients who received home-based care had:
- 10 percent fewer ER visits,
- 9 percent fewer hospitalizations, and
- 27 percent fewer stays in a nursing home.
The study comes at an interesting time, when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently imposed cuts of 14 percent on the Medicare home health benefit as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
The results add confusion to an already unprecedented, value-blind decision to cut cost-effective programs for our country’s most vulnerable patients – and it lends serious weight to objections to these cuts.
Eric De Jonge, MD, co-founder of the Medical House Call program at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, discussed the study in more detail in the video below:
Forty-nine years ago today, the Medicare program was established.
For nearly half a century, Medicare has provided access to quality, comprehensive healthcare to Americans 65 and older without fear of bankruptcy.
Today, home health is one of the most important benefits included in the Medicare program, providing care to 3.5 million of the poorest, sickest, and most vulnerable beneficiaries in the country.
However, rebasing cuts from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (as a result of the Affordable Care Act), threaten the future of home healthcare services.
As we reflect on 49 years of progress, we must remember to protect Medicare for the Medicare senior populations of today and tomorrow.
You can help to protect Medicare and the home health benefit by asking your lawmaker to support the SAVE Medicare Home Health Act and by sending a letter to your local paper to remind others how important this Medicare benefit is for senior and disabled Americans!