In our previous installment, we heard from Rich Chesney, president of Healthcare Market Resources, as he shared his thoughts and insight into what recent payment legislation means for the future of the home health industry.

National Association for Home Care and Hospice President Bill Dombi continues our series with home care experts as he provides his thoughts on the direction of Home Health in 2018.

Home Health in 2018

As we begin 2018, home health care is well positioned to expand its role on healthcare at large. Recent innovative care delivery models and value-focused reimbursement opportunities have demonstrated that the use of home health care reduces overall care costs. With value-centered healthcare reforms, home health care needs to take the stage with advocacy that is targeted broadly to Washington and state capitols to gain support in Medicare, Medicaid, and other government-based healthcare programs and designed to remove barriers to access to home health care. Currently, innovative programs in Medicare do not permit waivers of the unnecessary “homebound” requirements. In Medicaid, while long term services and supports (LTSS) primarily now supports home care over nursing home care, there remain a number of states where the institutionalization of the elderly and persons with disabilities predominates.  Strong and continuous advocacy from all stakeholders in home care can bring about the changes needed to fully realize the value of care in the home.

One very important aspect of home care must be included in these advocacy efforts – expanding the workforce of caregivers. If we do not address the growing workforce concerns, the demand for care will outstrip its supply. Currently, home care employment is considered the fastest growing sector in our economy. However, limited financial supports for workers puts continued care at risk when caregivers can find living wages in retail and fast foods, but not in home care. All parties with interest in home care, from consumers to their families to workers and their employers along with the healthcare programs that purchase this care need to come together to develop and implement practical solutions that stabilize and expand the home care workforce as the US population ages and needs for care increase. We must not wait until it reaches crisis levels. The time is now.

Join us next time as we continue our series featuring the expert opinions of home care professionals with Home Health Strategic Management’s Arnie Cisneros and Kimberly McCormick. Together, they dive into making the transition to value-based payment models from the home health perspective. Stay tuned for more!