Home care is less expensive, reduces hospitalizations, and ‘key step in achieving optimal health outcomes for many patients’
WASHINGTON D.C. (April 15, 2011) –The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) praised a Joint Commission positioning statement released this week, which reinforces that safe, quality, highly skilled and high-tech home care is the preferred choice of many Americans. The report – calling home care a ‘safe environment despite sicker patients’ – outlines the important role home care providers play in managing the transitions of patients out of institutional care settings, all while improving outcomes and harnessing costs.
“The Joint Commission is a recognized leader in establishing safety and quality practices, and we’re pleased they acknowledge the value and contribution of safe and effective home care services for American seniors,” said Val J. Halamandaris, NAHC’s president. “Millions of seniors and disabled persons depend on Medicare-provided home care and an additional 10,000 Americans reach Medicare eligibility age every day. Improving our commitment to high-quality care must remain a top priority. Just like the Joint Commission, our community is dedicated to fostering ongoing improvements in quality and outcomes-based care. I look forward to exploring how our efforts can work in concert.”
The report comes on the heels of President Obama’s recently announced Partnership for Patients initiative which, among other goals, aims to reduce hospital readmissions by 20 percent by managing preventable complications. Achieving this outcome would mean more than 1.6 million patients would recover from illness without suffering a preventable complication requiring re-hospitalization within 30 days of discharge.
According to the report, re-admissions of Medicare beneficiaries to the hospital within 30 days of discharge costs the federal government more than $17 billion. These re-admissions, mainly a result of gaps in follow-up, present an opportunity for home health providers who are increasingly managing the transitions of sicker Americans out of acute-care settings and into the home. Appropriately managed transitions can also help patients avoid medication errors and unintentional falls, which cause thousands of deaths and cost approximately $19 billion per year.
“The Joint Commission’s position makes it clear they are invested in advancing their accreditation practices in line with the advancing breadth of home care in the United States,” said Halamandaris. “It’s clear that we share the same commitment to ensuring the availability of safe, quality, outcomes-driven and cost-effective care.”
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is a nonprofit organization that represents the nation’s 33,000 home care and hospice organizations. NAHC also advocates for the more than two million nurses, therapists, aides and other caregivers employed by such organizations to provide in-home services each year to some 10 million Americans who are infirm, chronically ill, disabled and dying. Along with its advocacy, NAHC is committed to excellence in every respect and provides information to help its members maintain the highest quality of care. To learn more about NAHC, visit www.nahc.org and www.caring.org.