Providence (RI) Business News: Advantages, Barriers to Physician Use of Home Health Services

The recently released survey conducted by the Massachusetts Medical Society, in collaboration with the Home Care Alliance, was covered in a July 6 story by the Providence Business News.

Click here to see the story and check out the Alliance News Feed to see the results of the MMS survey.

Some of the higlights include:

Advantages: The main advantages to home services cited by physicians were better compliance with the patient’s care plan (78% of respondents), reduced stress on caregivers (73%), improved coordination of care (65%), and fewer visits to emergency departments (63%). An overwhelming number of physicians – 97% – say the services help them better manage their patients’ care at home.

Barriers: The main barriers to using these services cited by physicians were administrative burdens (paperwork, 54%), reimbursement issues (40%), and availability of workers (33%). The barrier of reimbursements, however, appears to be one that can be readily fixed by education and information: of the 71% of physicians who reported that they did not submit charges to Medicare for the services, 64% of those said they were unaware of the reimbursement.

Reduced Stress on Caregivers: The benefit of reducing caregiver stress by using these services was cited by 73% of physicians – an important consideration as more and more family members are pressed into caring for their elders for longer periods of time. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, an estimated 44 million Americans age 18 and older – about 21% of the population – provide unpaid care to another family member. And recent surveys and published reports have indicated the economic recession has put further strain on caregivers: as services are cut, caregivers are carrying much more of the financial load for care and in many cases are dividing time between working and caregiving.

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