Legislation proposed last week that aims to improve care and lower costs for Medicare beneficiaries was recently met with applause from the home health industry.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Congressmen Erik Paulson (R-MN) and Congressmen Peter Welch (D-VT) intend their proposal, the Better Care, Lower Cost Act of 2014 (S.1932/H.R.3890) will improve the management of care for Medicare beneficiaries living with chronic conditions.
Their efforts were recognized by The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare, a coalition of home health providers established to assist government officials in ensuring access to skilled home health services for seniors and those living with disabilities.
“The Partnership supports the goals of the Better Care, Lower Cost Act of 2014 to improve patient outcomes and lower Medicare costs by encouraging coordination and integration of senior care services,” Eric Berger, CEO of The Partnership, said in a statement.
There is a considerable need for such an initiative that assists chronically ill seniors, according to The Partnership, as it notes there are currently an estimated 3.5 million American seniors and disabled people currently relying on clinicians, therapists and various other health professionals to help them receive care services in their homes.
“Since the inception of the Medicare program, skilled home health professionals have served as leading providers of chronic condition management and prevention services for millions of the Medicare population’s frailest patients,” Berger said. “Drawing on this experience, the home health community looks forward to helping achieve creative, clinically appropriate and cost-effective solutions for the delivery of care to all chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries.”
Medicare beneficiaries that utilize home health services typically live with multiple chronic conditions compared to those non-home health beneficiaries, according to recent analyses from Avalere Health.
About 75% of Medicare home health beneficiaries live with at least four or more chronic conditions, compared to 48.5% of non-home health beneficiaries, Avalere found.
“As the most cost-effective senior care setting, home health is essential to providing high-quality, cost-effective care,” said Berger. “The Partnership looks forward to working with Senators Wyden and Isakson and Representatives Paulson and Welch to ensure timely passage of this important measure and strengthen chronic care delivery for our nation’s sickest seniors.”
Written by Jason Oliva