VNAA Launches New Advocacy Parent Organization

The Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) has launched a new, non-profit organization to advocate for affordable home care as a central part of the health care delivery system. The new entity, ElevatingHOME, will act as a parent organization of VNAA and include for-profit and non-profit members across the industry.

The 501(c)6 organization brings together a “myriad voices” of the industry, and includes bigwig leaders from major home health care companies among its founding board of directors, including leadership from Bayada Home Health, Trinity Health at Home, VNA Health System, The Council of State Home Care Associations, Alacare Home Health and Hospice, Sutter Care at Home, and Fazzi Associates.

ElevatingHOME aims to shift the health care system to put an emphasis on home-based services first. Currently, home health care’s status along the continuum of care is an afterthought, often following a hospital stay, and providers are reacting with a “whack-a-mole” approach to combat issues as they pop up one at a time, says Tracey Moorhead, CEO and president of VNAA. Instead, a big-picture approach is needed for a grander shift.

“The solution for us is to encourage more care in the home,” Moorhead told Home Health Care News. “Why would would we not start there? Instead of responding to little things, let’s talk about the bigger picture system and where we [in home care services] fit.”

The Council of State Home Care Associations is also a founding member of ElevatingHOME, connecting VNAA with state-level advocacy efforts.

Bridging Voices

While the new organization is a non-profit, executive members taking part come from different corners of the home health care industry. The group forms a unique bridge over for-profit and non-profit operators. The ultimate goal of ElevatingHOME is to shift home-based services to the center of the health care delivery system, but industry leaders will focus on creating a unified message.

“The first step is bringing together the leaders of the industry to message how we re-envision home care,” Moorhead said. “The founding directors are a breadth of perspectives, with a wealth of historical experience and a passion for this new vision.”

Such collaboration can help push the health care system into incentivizing more home-based care, where costs are generally lower with high quality outcomes for patients, says Joseph Scopelliti, president and CEO of VNA Health System of Shamokin, Pennsylvania, and chair of ElevatingHOME.

“Most patients—seniors, but others too—prefer to receive medical care at home when possible, but the current health care delivery system design is originated around the costly and sometimes unnecessary hospital stays,” Scopelliti said in a press release. “When people can receive the care they need in their own homes, amidst familiar surroundings with family and friends nearby, they often have better health outcomes at lower costs.”

Advocacy Efforts

The new organization has been in the works for nearly two years, according to Moorhead, when board members of VNAA first started discussing the need for a new, broader organization that encompasses more players in the industry. On April 5, 2016, VNAA members voted to change its bylaws and allow for ElevatingHOME to move forward.

The organization will take on the challenge of communicating to policymakers the vision of home care and hopes to design what the system could look like. It starts with gathering a unified vision within the industry.

ElevatingHOME will focus on a few advocacy directives, including:

-Demonstrating the role of home-based care in meeting patients’ health care needs at home

-Developing and disseminating best practices for home-based care

-Establishing a high standard of operational integrity

-Elevating the level of public, private, foundation, academic and legislative support for the patients and families served

-Advancing financial models to support a robust home-based care industry while delivering value along the broader health care continuum

With its launch, ElevatingHOME will soon begin its strategic planning phase to determine its priorities for 2017 and beyond.

Written by Amy Baxter

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Amy Baxter
Assistant Editor at Home Health Care News
When not writing about all things home health, Amy fulfills her lifelong dream of becoming a pirate by sailing in regattas and enjoying rum. Fun fact: she sailed 333 miles across Lake Michigan in the Chicago Yacht Club "Race to Mackinac."