Can a Tweet Storm Save Home Health Care?

The home health care industry is fighting back against the proposed Home Health Groupings Model (HHGM), and a new social media and phone campaign aims to bring President Trump into the issue.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) has launched a digital campaign to rouse home health and hospice stakeholders to tweet at, post about and call the White House about the groupings model, which threatens to cut $950 million in payments in 2019 alone. The campaign, which is based on a NAHC web page, enables anyone to post, tweet or call with the click of a button. The tool was put together in collaboration with government relations and public affairs counsel group Liberty Partners Group, a software company based in California, and NAHC.

“This year, we have taken a number of steps to energize virtual advocacy, compared to the standard Washington scene to lobby and walk the halls of Congress, seeing Congressional members and staffers,” Bill Dombi, interim president of NAHC, told Home Health Care News. “But in virtual campaigns, we can have a much more amplified voice in terms of number of people.”

Namely, Dombi noted the roughly 2 million caregivers in the U.S., and millions of people who utilize or know someone who utilizes home-based care services.

The industry found some success in its efforts to fight back again the groupings model, as more than 1,300 public comments were posted to the Federal Register in response and 49 U.S. Senators signed on to a letter urging CMS to pull back the model.

Now, NAHC wants home health players to get in touch with the White House, and specifically President Trump, who is well-known for his active Twitter account.

“We believe one of the forces at play is the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and OMB is part of the White House,” Dombi said. “We think targeting the White House makes a lot of sense. The president heads up all of the agencies… we figured we’ve got to do something a little different to keep people engaged in advocacy.”

The NAHC campaign instructs participants to #SaveHomeHealth in a direct tweet to the president’s Twitter handle.

“Best case scenario is the president tweeting out, ‘I’m on board with you,’” Dombi said. “That would make us delirious.”

However, NAHC is not expecting that response. Instead, the association is looking to add tens of thousands of people—and potentially hundreds of thousands—to the discussion through social media and virtual lobbying.

The groupings model, which was introduced in the Home Health Prospective Payment System (PPS) 2018 Update, proposes a number of changes that would radically change the way home health agencies operate, including redistributing reimbursement rates and changing the current 60-day episode of care to 30-day payment periods.

The campaign is not likely to be a one-off event for NAHC, which hopes to similarly engage constituents virtually in pressing home health issues down the road.

The full campaign can be found here.

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."