Almost all home-based care providers are trying to move toward value- and risk-based care, either because they want to or have to.
In order for the home health care industry to move toward risk, it will need the right collective data to bring to the table. And in order for individual providers to move toward value, they’ll need the internal data to do so.
“A lot of what we do is looking backwards so that we can look to the future, because we can’t really move forward until we know exactly what we’re dealing with,” Jennifer Schiller, the executive director of the Research Institute for Home Care said at Home Health Care News’ VALUE event last week. “I don’t think that will surprise anybody that there’s a lack of data. But there is.”
The mission for Schiller’s organization — formerly the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (AHHQI) — is to increase its output in order to give home-based care an authoritative, free-standing source of research and information.
As part of that mission, Schiller is passionate about the need for more information in the home-based care space through research and partnerships.
“What we’re really focused on is trying to get that data, trying to publish that data and trying to make that data available,” Schiller said. “It’s really fundamental to not just working with other provider settings and other payers but with policymakers, regulators, etc., in order to move forward.”
Schiller also said there needs to be more transparency from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to make sure more data is made publicly available.
One of the annual reports that the Research Institute for Home Care publishes is the Home Health Chartbook, which provides information on home health users, industry trends and outcomes, among other benchmarks.
And it’s important for providers to use those available resources and benchmarks, especially given the scarcity of available data, according to Paul Pino, the co-founder and chief development and analytics officer of Integrated Home Care Services (IHCS).
“You’ve got people like Jennifer [Schiller] who are constantly publishing benchmarks, and if something appears to be completely off, then chances are it’s completely off,” Pino said at VALUE.
In other words, Pino stressed that health data — in general — is not always actionable at first glance. Being able to take it from one step to the other is key.
“Unless you have the ability to synthesize it, really run through it, benchmark the information and understand what it’s telling you, you’re going to struggle a bit,” he said.
The Florida-based IHCS is both a home-based care provider and payer, managing over 2.2 million total lives.
The company announced Thursday its goal of serving an additional 800,000 patients under a value-based care model by the end of 2023.
Home-based care providers should also use consultants for underwriting whenever possible to make sure information received is validated, Pino said.
Real value in HHVBP
Despite impending complications, Schiller believes the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing (HHVBP) Model can bring true value to the industry.
“There is actually some real value in value-based purchasing,” Schiller said. “[In the nine-state pilot program], we saw things like IDI visits with and without hospitalization go down or improve. We saw some patient experience metrics improve as well, so there is value in value-based purchasing. It isn’t just there to make everyone’s lives harder. I think it has shown some real opportunities.”
As long as people in the industry support the kind of work that research institutes and other advocacy organizations do, Pino said the data and information will continue to pile up, slowly but surely.
“I think reimbursement within the home care space is going to improve,” Pino said. “But, organizations like [The Research Institute for Home Care] need to have other organizations, like ours, come together to support them and discuss findings and share information.”
Jumping on it now, Schiller argued, will pay dividends for the industry – and individual providers – down the road.
“[Value based purchasing] is here to stay,” Schiller said. “I don’t think that’s a surprise to anybody, and I think the research and the data is going to be really critical, because it’s not just about being reactive, it’s about being proactive.”