March 26, 2012

VA Eliminates Copayment to Expand Home Health Access

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced plans to remove copayment requirements for in-home video tele-health care in the hopes of making the home a preferred place of care, when medically appropriate for the patient.

The Partnership applauds the decision to eliminate copayment requirements for in-home video tele-health care.

With healthcare costs on the rise, it is important that we do not discourage our veteran populations from seeking cost-effective care options by requiring out-of-pocket payment. By removing the copay requirement, the VA will eliminate a barrier that may have previously discouraged veterans from choosing in-home video tele-health as a viable, cost-effective care option.

Home Based Primary Care: A Model for Reducing Healthcare Costs

Through the Home Based Primary Care (HBPC) program, the VA has provided comprehensive primary care services to veterans in their homes since 1972.

The program has proven to be highly effective in reducing preventable emergency room visits and inpatient hospital days.

The HBPC successfully reduced inpatient hospital days by 62 percent and nursing home days by 88 percent, resulting in a 24 percent decrease in total healthcare costs.

The VA HBPC has been characterized as “a model to emulate for the care of persons with complex, chronic disabling conditions, improving quality without added cost, and maximizing their independence through comprehensive longitudinal interdisciplinary care delivered in their homes.”

We applaud the VA for its leadership in providing quality home healthcare programs and for its latest decision to make home health a more affordable, accessible option for our nation’s veterans.