Home Health Leaders Applaud Proposed Rule to Expand Veterans' Access to Home Health Care

February 26, 2013
Contact: Emily White

Home Health Leaders Applaud Proposed Rule to Expand Veterans' Access to Home Health Care

VA proposal strengthens continuing initiative to serve chronically-ill patients at home

WASHINGTON, DC — The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare today commended a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to ease regulations permitting Veterans to access skilled home healthcare services. The proposed rule would allow the VA to establish provider agreements with non-VA providers who are currently participating in their State Medicaid plan, eliminating barriers to entry that require non-VA providers to establish federal contract status before they can provide home healthcare services to Veterans. Further, the rule encourages providers to partner with the VA by reimbursing providers for services at Medicare and Medicaid rates.

"The VA has once again demonstrated their understanding of home healthcare's important role in providing clinically-advanced and cost effective care to chronically-ill Veterans," stated Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare. "By allowing more providers in more communities across the country to serve the Veteran community, the VA is enabling more Veterans to achieve optimal health and independence at home while reducing healthcare costs."

The VA has long been a leader in promoting and utilizing the value of home health through their Home Based Primary Care (HBPC) program, which provides comprehensive disease management and patient care to Veterans with chronic conditions. By providing comprehensive in-home care delivered by skilled interdisciplinary teams, HBPC enables Veterans and their dependents to receive the care they need without having to leave their homes for more costly institutional care.

The HBPC program's focus on providing clinically advanced care in the home has enabled it to achieve unprecedented outcomes. VA data indicate the HBPC has reduced inpatient hospital days by 62 percent and long term care days by 88 percent, resulting in a 24 percent decrease in total healthcare costs for HBPC participants.

The VA HBPC has been characterized by leading researchers as "a model to emulate for the care of persons with complex, chronic disabling conditions, improving quality without added cost, and maximizing their independence through comprehensive longitudinal interdisciplinary care delivered in their homes."

"Since its inception, the Partnership has encouraged lawmakers to look at the VA's HBPC program as a model for Medicare reform," added Berger. "We commend the VA for its leadership in utilizing home healthcare services to reduce costs while improving patient outcomes."

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