June 15, 2020

Insights from the Frontlines: A Discussion with Washington State Home Health Providers About the COVID-19 Crisis

While communities across the nation begin to re-open following the COVID-19 outbreak, the home health community continues to work aggressively to protect patients, front-line home health workers, and the communities we serve.

As a community of highly skilled professionals caring for vulnerable populations with disabilities and multiple chronic conditions, home healthcare agencies are uniquely qualified to treat individuals diagnosed with COVID-19.

The Partnership recently spoke with representatives from the Home Care Association of Washington about their experiences during this time. See their answers below:

What are your overall observations about how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted home health patients and providers in Washington state?

Christine Opiela, Executive Director of the Home Care Association of Washington:

Some of the patients most at risk of COVID-19 transmission, such as older Medicare beneficiaries and those with multiple chronic conditions, are also the most in need of home health. How are you continuing to reach your patients right now?

Gretchen Anderson, PT, Administrator at Sunshine Home Health:

I’ve seen some stories on how home health can provide relief to hospitals who are experiencing a rapid influx of patients. Can you explain?

Christine Opiela:

What are some of the biggest barriers or issues your frontline home health and hospice providers are reporting?

Gretchen Anderson:

How can Congress and the Administration help unleash home health?

Christine Opiela:

While Congress and CMS have taken significant steps to provide regulatory relief to enable expanded access to home health and ensure patient safety, more must be done to fully unleash home health in the fight against COVID-19. Send an email now asking your policymakers to optimize the use of this skilled care during the pandemic.