A Challenge to Home Care

Interesting and at least a bit encouraging, the CMS Director Don Berwick references home health as an essential part of a coordinated, seamless, patient centered care team in his October 20th, editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine (“Making  Good on ACO’s Promise). But, Dr Berwick leaves home health out of the definition of what will be required of applying entities to become Medicare’s first ACOs.  Dr Berwick presents  a vision in which Medicare beneficiaries “should find their care experience enhanced by a program that supports providers in engaging with their patients to deliver on the three-part aim: better care for individuals, better health for populations, and lower cost growth through improvements in care.”

Clearly Dr Berwick’s  vision is one that we all of share.  “Coordinated care,” he writes, ” is meant to allow providers to break away from the tyranny of the 15-minute visit, instill a renewed sense of collegiality, and return to the type of medicine that patients and families want.”  In this brave new world of coordination and collegiality, it will still be up to home care  to “sell” these organizing entities that home care has long understood and practiced patient centeredness, and that we have experience to spare and to share.

The Alliance is committed to helping us rise to Dr Berwick’s challlenge.

Find a full copy of the rule, here.

CLASS Act – Over Before it’s Begun

Once again, the needs of an aging nation in terms of support for long term care have been pushed aside with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius’ announcement that the Obama Administration will not proceed with plans to implement a federally coordinated, voluntary national long term care insurance plan – known as the CLASS act

According to today’s Wall Street Journal, HHS officials gave up after “actuaries spent 19 months attempting to design a voluntary long-term care insurance program that met the requirements of the law.”  That called for making sure the program would remain fiscally solvent and pay for itself for at least 75 years.

Although the Class Act provision is little linked to the Affordable Care Act provision around providing basic health insurance universally, its  demise has inched open further the door to those who seeking to dismantle all of ACA piece by piece.   Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said. “It is worth remembering that the Class Act is only one of the unwise, unsustainable components of an unwise, unsustainable law.”

Just what is unwise and unsustainable in your opinion: providing basic coverage and seeking a collective and shared solution to an aging society?   Or doing nothing?

Reports: CLASS Act Program is Being Removed from Health Care Reform

News outlets across the country are reporting on the elimination of the CLASS Act (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports), which would have provided a modest long-term care insurance benefit to help elders access community care services and remain in their homes.

This provision would have been a boost to home health, but research and reports by Health and Human Services found that there was no way to ensure that the program would be sustainable and the official announcement to repeal the program came late Friday afternoon.

The move itself, aside from political posturing, does not change the fact that there is “an enormous need” for long term care insurance as HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius put it. The New York Times quoted Secretary Sebelius as adding “At $75,000 a year for a nursing home and $18,000 a year for home health care, most families cannot afford to pay out of pocket.”

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

“At $75,000 a year for a nursing home and $18,000 a year for home health care, most families cannot afford to pay out of pocket,” she said.

Home Care Alliance Promoting DEA Drug Take-Back Program

Unused Drug DisposalThe Home Care Alliance and participating member agencies are encouraging home health patients and their families to participate in the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 29, 2011, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Across the state and the nation, collection stations will be available at police stations, fire stations, senior centers and other facilities so that people can turn in unused and unwanted medications so that they can be disposed of safely. This year’s event marks the third annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day, where the first two programs combined to collect 309 tons of prescription drugs that were turned in, according to the DEA.

The Alliance has a press release template for member home health agencies interested in participating in this program and can contact James Fuccione at HCA for details.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Home Care Innovations, Star Award Nominations Open

This December, the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts will present a unique event to showcase home care innovators and honor the best and brightest in the industry.  This day-long celebration of  innovation and excellence will take place Wednesday, December, 7, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.

The Home Care Innovations Showcase will highlight programs, services or policies that represent the best in innovative thinking at our member agencies. The winning entries will be invited to make a brief presentation at the Dec. 7 event, with a focus on the innovation’s positive impact on their clients, their community, their agency or the delivery system at large.  Alliance member agencies are invited to nominate an innovation that has enhanced the health and well-being of their patients and clients, the efficiency of their operations, the health of their community or the well-being of staff.

The 2011 Home Care Star awards will be presented during a special luncheon program at the Dec. 7 event. The Star Awards celebrate the exceptional accomplishments of the everyday heroes who make such an incredible difference in the lives of their patients and clients.

Nomination materials for both the Home Care Innovations Showcase and the Home Care Star Awards are available on the Home Care Alliance website.  Nominations are due by October 17, 2011.