Home Health Leaders Applaud Bipartisan Measure to Extend Care for Chronically Ill Seniors

April 23, 2015
Contact: Emily Adler

Home Health Leaders Applaud Bipartisan Measure to Extend Care for Chronically Ill Seniors

The Independence at Home program allows for increased care coordination and better patient outcomes among 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 Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Michael Bennett (D-CO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) for their bipartisan leadership in passing the Medicare Independence at Home Medical Practice Demonstration Improvement Act of 2015 (S. 971), extending the delivery of care to chronically ill seniors in their homes.

The bipartisan bill extends the “Independence at Home” demonstrations currently operating in 13 states and the District of Columbia for another two years, allowing for seniors to age in place and receive care in their preferred setting- the home.

“The Partnership strongly supports the extension of the Independence at Home Demonstration as our nation’s seniors rely on skilled healthcare services in their homes to manage chronic conditions and prevent hospital admissions,” stated Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare. “Programs like Independence at Home foster better care coordination and provide cost-effective solutions for keeping patients healthy at home.”

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.

“We thank the Senators Wyden, Bennett, Burr, Isakson and Markey for passing this important bill in the Senate and stand ready to work with their colleagues in the House to ensure timely passage of this important measure and strengthen chronic care delivery for our nation’s sickest seniors,” added Berger.

Each year, 3.5 million American seniors and disabled individuals rely on clinicians, therapists and other health professionals to mange their conditions and medications 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.

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