Save Home Health Rallies Show Support for the SAVE Medicare Home Health Act

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.

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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.

Future of Home Health Care Workshop

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Citizenship Day

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!

Help Bring the Vote Home for Our Seniors

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!

Report: New Data Show Home-Based Care Saves Medicare Money

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:

Happy Birthday, Medicare!

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.

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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!

Lawmakers, Media, and Community Leaders Agree: We Must Save Home Health!

On July 15, Representatives Greg Walden (OR-2) and Tom Price (GA-6) introduced the Securing Access Via Excellence (SAVE) Medicare Home Health Act to protect America’s seniors.

This bill replaces the unprecedented Medicare rebasing cuts with payment reform to achieve savings by improving care for Medicare beneficiaries and reducing avoidable spending on preventable hospital readmissions. In doing so, the bill would enable millions of seniors to remain in their homes, rather than institutional settings, achieving significant savings for the Medicare program.

In the two weeks since the bill’s introduction, media outlets, lawmakers, and leaders from senior, rural and caregiving communities across the country have joined in support of this important legislation.

Below are some highlights of the support we have seen thus far. You can take action to save home healthcare on Twitter using #SaveHomeHealth, or by sending a letter to your lawmaker in Congress today!

 

Celebrate Men’s Health Week

This week we celebrate Men’s Health Week with people across the country. This year’s theme is “Awareness. Prevention. Education. Family.”

We are thankful for this movement that encourages men to seek medical care and lead healthy, preventative lifestyles. Yet, what better way to honor the men in our lives than to make sure that they can always receive care in the setting they prefer?

Keeping in line with the Men’s Health Week theme, we encourage all Americans, particularly Medicare patients and their loved ones, to:

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BE AWARE: Unfortunately, not all Medicare patients know skilled home healthcare is even an option. Know the options – Skilled care can be provided in the comfort and security of a patient’s home.

EDUCATE YOURSELF:  Learn more about the issues impacting your healthcare. Medicare cuts put home health at risk.  Over the next four years, the Medicare home health benefit will be cut 14 percent by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.  Encourage your lawmakers to protect home health!

PREVENT AVOIDABLE HOSPITAL STAYS: Home health is critical to preventing expensive hospitalizations and other facility-based care for Medicare beneficiaries by helping patients manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and congestive heart failure.

BE WITH FAMILY: Home health is keeping America’s fathers and husbands home where they want to be.

Let’s stand by the 1.4 million male Medicare beneficiaries who depend on home health by advocating to protect the clinical care services that bring home prevention and improved health.

Celebrating National Women’s Health Week

Each year, the Department of Health and Human Services kicks off National Women’s Health Week following Mother’s Day. This year, they are focusing on the theme of “Becoming Well Women.”

While this week serves as a great opportunity for healthcare providers to think about ways to help women stay healthy, home healthcare providers are already focusing on caring for women in America every day of the year.

In fact, the nation’s home health community is largely made up of women. A recent Avalere analysis shows women make up:

  • 90% of home health professionals
  • 75% of family caregivers
  • 60% of home health beneficiaries

Particularly for women in their senior years, home healthcare can provide necessary care so patients are able to remain independent at home.  The Medicare home healthcare offers these patients access to clinically advanced, cost-effective care in the home that can keep women well by preventing further injuries and illnesses.

While home healthcare offers services, support, and resources to 2.1 million senior women year-round, National Women’s Health Week offers an opportunity for us to remember and honor the female patients we serve, their care teams and the important role home health has in helping them be well women!

Celebrating Older Americans Month

Each May, we join the nation in celebrating Older Americans Month to recognize older Americans for their contributions and discuss ways to help them stay healthy. This year, the Administration for Community Living is focusing on injury prevention with the theme “Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.”

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Older Americans are at a higher risk of injury than the rest of our population, but home healthcare can help them stay safe, healthy, and independent well into their golden years.

Skilled home health offers a wide range of care for patients who are homebound or in need of skilled care, including: post-acute care, skilled nursing care for chronic conditions, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, medical social services, and assistance with daily living.

Since the vast majority of seniors (89%) say they want to age in place (i.e., live independently and remain in their home), we must ensure that they can do so in a safe and healthy manner. Home healthcare can be instrumental in preventing unintentional injuries and unnecessary hospitalizations for our seniors.

While home healthcare provides services, support, and resources to 3.5 million seniors year-round, Older Americans Month offers an opportunity for us to remember and honor the patients we serve and the important role home health has in helping them improve their health today and a better tomorrow.