October 30, 2014

Home Health Leaders Applaud the Department of Veterans Affairs for Increasing Veterans’ Access to Healthcare in Their Homes

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The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare – a leading coalition of home health providers dedicated to improving the integrity, quality, and efficiency of home healthcare for our nation’s seniors – today commended the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for their Caregiver Support Program, which engages Caregiver Support Coordinators to assist family caregivers of veterans and provides services to aid in caring for their loved ones.

Today, many aging veterans require physical or occupational therapy or skilled nursing care, which can be cost-effectively delivered in their homes. By providing veterans and their family members with access to a Caregiver Support Coordinator, the VA is assisting veterans and their families to receive the treatment they need in the setting they most prefer – home. Surveys indicate that 9 out 10 seniors prefer to age in the safety and dignity of their homes rather than in an institutional setting.

The VA’s Caregiver Support Coordinator program complements other steps the VA has taken to foster greater use of clinically-advanced, cost-effective and patient-preferred home healthcare, including the highly-regarded Home Based Primary Care (HBPC) program. Established in 1972, HBPC delivers comprehensive in-home healthcare services, which are provided by a skilled interdisciplinary team of clinicians under the management of a VA physician. By providing a range of healthcare services in the home, this program enables veterans to avoid costly hospitalizations and other institutional care.

“The VA has consistently demonstrated its leadership in providing home-based care, and the addition of the Caregiver Support Program ensures that those who bravely fought for our nation as well as their families have a complete understanding of all the services available to them, including home health,” stated Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare.

In addition to delivering clinically effective care, the HBPC program also significantly reduces healthcare costs for veterans. VA data indicate the HBPC has reduced inpatient hospital days by 62 percent and long term care days by 88 percent, resulting in a 24 percent decrease in total healthcare costs for HBPC patients.

“Thanks to the VA’s focus on home health and the support it is providing to family caregivers, many more of our nation’s veterans will be able to receive clinically advanced care at home to manage chronic illness and recover from a hospital stay,” added Berger. “We encourage the health policy community to look closely at these programs as a potential model for Medicare reforms that can expand seniors’ access to skilled, cost-effective home healthcare.”