If anyone was unsure of the home-based care industry’s pull in Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump’s national address on Friday should put any doubts to rest.
After declaring a national emergency, Trump pulled home health executives up to the lectern to ease the nation’s anxiety during the COVID-19 outbreak. COVID-19 is more commonly known as the coronavirus.
Addressing the nation were Trump plus a slew of public health care officials and executives, including Bruce Greenstein of LHC Group (Nasdaq: LHCG) and David Pierre of Signify Health, a technology-enabled health care services provider. As former chief technology officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Greestein is no stranger to the ins and outs of D.C. politics.
Both he and Pierre stood behind Trump as the president addressed the nation’s concerns, describing actions that were being taken by both government organizations and private health care companies.
“The home health industry has been treating patients and seniors in the safety and comfort of their own homes for decades,” Greenstein, LHC Group’s executive vice president and chief strategy and innovation officer, said during the national address. “We’re very proud to be part of the equation for testing in their own home. For Americans that can’t get to a test site, or live in rural areas far away from the retail establishment, we’re here to help.”
LHC Group is one of the three largest home health providers in the country.
Greenstein added that the Lafayette, Louisiana-based company would be partnering with hospitals and physicians, among others, to help distribute coronavirus tests to those that were in need.
The address was further evidence that the government will be relying on the in-home care industry as the attempted mitigation of COVID-19 — now officially a global pandemic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) — continues.
Moments after Greenstein spoke, Seema Verma, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced that stricter guidelines were on the horizon for nursing home visits.
“Later, CMS is going to be issuing guidance directing nursing homes to temporarily restrict all visitors and non-essential personnel, with a few exceptions, such as end-of-life situations,” Verma said. “We fully appreciate that this measure represents a severe trial for residents of nursing homes and those who love them, but we are doing what we must to protect our vulnerable elderly.”
As the coronavirus outbreak worsened over the past few weeks, home health executives touted the industry’s ability to take on at least part of the challenge. After Friday’s national address, it’s clear that the government is banking on it.
“We are the largest house call provider in the U.S., and we go to the homes of the most vulnerable and elderly,” Pierre said during the address. “Through our network and our logistics engine, we stand ready to help and provide our clinicians where they’re needed — whether in retail clinics, or in the home.”
After Greenstein left the stage, he elected to knock elbows with Trump in lieu of shaking hands.