Northeast Leadership Summit – Boston, 2015

October 28, 2014

The Northeast Home Health Leadership Summit, now in its 13th year, is the premier gathering of home health agency leaders from throughout the northeast. This cutting-edge conference is attended by home care executives seeking to take their operation to the next level by gaining insights on the latest trends in home care and leadership.

This year’s theme is Turn on Your Leadership Light and includes a superb lineup of speakers joining us in Boston on January 20 to 22, 2015. Registration for the conference is now open.

This program is sponsored by the following state home care associations: Connecticut Association for Healthcare at Home; Home Care & Hospice Alliance of Maine; Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts; Home Care Association of New Hampshire; Home Care Association of New Jersey; Home Care Association of New York State; New York State Association of Health Care Providers; Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care; Vermont Assembly of Home Health Agencies. If your organization is a member of one of these associations, you are welcome to take advantage of the member discount.

The venue for this year is the Colonade Hotel in downtown Boston.

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CDC, Mass DPH Release Updated Ebola Guidance for Healthcare Workers

October 21, 2014

On October 20th, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released stricter guidance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) recommended for healthcare workers treating patients with the Ebola virus.

The new enhanced guidance from CDC is centered on three principles:

  • All healthcare workers undergo rigorous training and are practiced and competent with PPE, including putting it on and taking it off in a systemic manner
  • No skin exposure when PPE is worn
  • All workers are supervised by a trained monitor who watches each worker putting PPE on and taking it off.

These principles and other guidance listed on the new advisory appear to be geared towards healthcare facilities and are based on lessons learned from those hospitals and clinics that have treated Ebola cases in the US thus far, including Emory University Hospital, Nebraska Medical Center and National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.

Also on October 20th, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and Boston Public Health Commission released updated clinical guidance on sending in patient specimens for laboratory testing for suspected Ebola cases. According to DPH, prior to sending a sample, the facility should consult the MDPH Hinton State Laboratory Institute for specimen collection, handling, packaging and transport advice via the 24/7 lab number (617-590-6390).

More information will be shared as it becomes available.

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MA Cancer Prevention & Control Network Readying Palliative Care Survey for Home Care

October 20, 2014

The Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Prevention & Control Network (MCCPCN) is putting the finishing touches on a survey on palliative care geared towards treating cancer patients.

The Home Care Alliance is a part of an MCCPCN task force that built the survey, which will be distributed to agencies via email form DPH.  Agencies are strongly encouraged to take the time to respond. MCCPCN is under the Department of Public Health and a cover letter from Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett explains the reasoning and background to the survey as well as how it will help advance palliative care services.

Questions on this issue can be directed to James Fuccione at the Alliance.

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Ebola Preparedness Info and Resources Released by DPH

October 14, 2014

Through press conferences and announcements, state officials have repeatedly stressed that the likelihood of an Ebola case is Massachusetts is “very low,” but that does not mean local healthcare providers should not be prepared and the general public should not be educated on the issue.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has posted information and resources on a special webpage  with guidance for clinicians and other helpful information. Misinformation about the disease has caused some of the concern, but the state continues to monitor the situation.

Here is part of a recent Public Health Advisory:

Massachusetts is well prepared to handle an incidence of Ebola, in the unlikely event that a case should occur in the Commonwealth. The public can have full confidence that our hospitals have the expertise, preparedness and capacity to handle such a situation. The infectious disease controls in Massachusetts and the United States are world class. Should a patient present Ebola symptoms, the patient would be quickly isolated and treated to prevent the spread of this disease.

Please see the resources below that are listed on

DPH Guidance for Clinicians

General Information About Ebola Virus

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Pavasaris Testifies at Healthcare Cost Trends Hearing

October 10, 2014

The MA Health Policy Commission (HPC) held its 2014 Healthcare Cost Trends Hearing on October 6th and 7th. During the two-day event, representatives of major health systems, individual providers and insurers were called to present recommendations on the direction of cost and quality in the Massachusetts healthcare marketplace.

HCA Board Member Beverly Pavasaris of the Brockton VNA was on a panel looking at post-acute care, which the HPC has spotlighted in recent reports as more highly utilized in Massachusetts relative to the rest of the country. Pavasaris noted the heavy use of acute care services in the state in general and the fact that the high use of post-acute care is not necessarily a bad thing, as patients are receiving appropriate follow-up care when they leave the hospital setting.

Dr. Richard Lopez of Atrius Health, which is affiliated with VNA Care Network and the VNA of Boston, also spoke of the pressures on reforming post-acute care and the need to do so. The first thing Atrius looked at when their ACO was formed, he said, was post-acute care. A post on the Atrius blog goes deeper into the comments submitted by the organization and the responses of Dr. Lopez on the panel.

Each day of the annual hearing was led off by speakers like Governor Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and legislative leaders of health care committees. A major topic throughout the hearings from presenters, speakers and panels was saving costs in behavioral healthcare, which was unanimously labeled as overly complex with no consistent way to report spending and a severe lack of financial and infrastructural support.

The Home Care Alliance will continue to work with the HPC on elevating home care and promoting our quality, cost-efficiency, and array of possible services that can be provided.

For more on the 2014 Cost Trends Hearing, see the HPC webpage.

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MassHealth Recruiting HCBS Waiver Providers

October 3, 2014

The MassHealth Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Provider Network Administration Unit is recruiting service providers to serve people with disabilities and/or elders who live in the community.

The Provider Network Administration Unit will host several HCBS Waiver Service Provider Technical Assistance Sessions in the coming months to provide an overview of the HCBS Waivers and services offered, as well as an in-depth review of the application forms and submission requirements/process.

Sessions are scheduled for:

  • Oct. 7, 1:00-3:00 PM, Lenox Library, 18 Main St.,Lenox
  • Oct. 23, 2:00-4:00 PM, UMass Medical School, 333 South St., Shrewsbury
  • Nov. 6, 1:00-3:00 PM, Flint Public Library, 1 S. Main St., Middleton
  • Nov. 20, 2:00-4:00 PM, UMass Medical School, 333 South St., Shrewsbury
  • Dec. 4, 2:00-4:00 PM, Forbush Memorial Library, 118 Main St.,Westminster
  • Dec. 11, 2:00-4:00 PM, UMass Medical School, 333 South St., Shrewsbury

To RSVP, please contact the HCBS Provider Network Administration Unit at (855) 300-7058 or email to

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