Congressman David McKinley Joins WV Home Health Leaders to Discuss Value of Home Healthcare, Medicare Reforms

October 16, 2012
Contact: Emily White

Congressman David McKinley Joins WV Home Health Leaders to Discuss Value of Home Healthcare, Medicare Reforms

Home healthcare leaders discuss opportunities for strengthening the Medicare program, improving quality care and cutting healthcare costs

BRIDGEPORT, WV — Congressman David McKinley (WV-1) joined home healthcare providers, clinicians, patients and family members today to discuss the value of home healthcare services for West Virginia seniors as well as the importance of post-acute care reforms to strengthen the Medicare program, foster the delivery of quality care and reduce Medicare costs.

West Virginia's home healthcare community welcomed today's event as an opportunity to share how home healthcare providers are efficiently and cost-effectively providing skilled healthcare services to patients who may otherwise seek care in costlier settings. Home healthcare professionals are providing care to Medicare beneficiaries who require treatment for illnesses related to acute, chronic or rehabilitative needs.

"Home healthcare is helping to reduce healthcare costs and improve patients' quality of life across our great state," said Representative David McKinley (WV-1). "Through my work in Congress, I am collaborating with my fellow lawmakers and the home healthcare community to find creative alternatives to strengthen Medicare by improving efficiencies and reducing spending to benefit patients and providers."

Across West Virginia, 56 Medicare-certified home health agencies provide specialized in-home care to 21,000 Medicare beneficiaries, and clinicians made more than 516,000 million home visits in 2010, according to data from the according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

"The skilled nursing care services we provide are vital to the patients we serve, particularly because patients want to be cared for at home. As a rural state with a uniquely high senior population, the accessibility of home healthcare is essential to ensuring patients receive the care they need," said Andra Hardin, President of the Board of the West Virginia Council of Home Care Agencies (WVCHCA). "We applaud Representative McKinley for his deep understanding of the value of home health and his commitment to protecting home health for our state's seniors. We are honored to have the opportunity to share our perspectives with the Congressman today."

In addition to addressing the value of home health to West Virginia seniors, participants in today's roundtable discussed new landmark research that demonstrates the role home health can play in strengthening the Medicare program, improving care delivery and reducing Medicare spending. The Clinically Appropriate and Cost-Effective Placement (CACEP) Project study finds that the Medicare program could save as much as $100 billion over the next 10 years and extend the Medicare Trust Fund by 2.5 years if post-hospital patients are served in the most clinically appropriate, cost effective setting — including home health.

"With this research, the home health community is looking for ways to strengthen the Medicare program, which we hope lawmakers will find useful for future policy-making decisions to ensure patients receive care in the setting that offers the most clinically-appropriate level of care at the lowest cost," stated Mara Benner on behalf of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare. "Rep. McKinley's support of this research and his attention to Medicare reforms are illustrative of his commitment to ensuring seniors can access quality care within the current Medicare program."

Nearly 3.5 million Americans receive Medicare home healthcare services, and the anticipated demand for skilled home healthcare services is expected to rise due to projected growth in the nation's senior population, as well as the preference of the vast majority of seniors to receive care in their own home. Many healthcare treatments that were once only available in a hospital or other institutional setting are now being safely and effectively provided in patients' homes by skilled clinicians.

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