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Latest News from the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation
December 2015

Dear Members and Friends:

As 2015 draws to a close, we would like to offer our sincerest thank you to all who have helped the Alliance have another fantastic year.
 
Earlier this month, the Alliance and the Visiting Nurse Associations of America announced a partnership focused on collaborations supporting research, educational endeavors, quality initiatives, and events. The goal of the partnership is reduce fragmentation of industry leadership and resources to achieve long-term affiliation and alignment of programs and services for the benefit of the home-based care industry, the respective members of each organization, and for the public good. A full press release on the partnership is available here, while a blog with Frequently Asked Questions is available here. The partnership will also see the Alliance moving into shared space with VNAA next month. VNAA is located just across the river from the Alliance’s current location, in Crystal City, Virginia. 
 
Additionally, the Alliance would like to introduce our new chairperson, Kathleen Gilmartin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Interim HealthCare and Caring Brands International. She has been an active member of the Alliance’s Board of Directors, and brings a number of exciting and fresh ideas to the Alliance’s leadership.
 
In welcoming Ms. Gilmartin to the Alliance’s Executive Leadership, we would like to offer a huge thank you to outgoing chair Dr. Steven Landers, President and Chief Executive Officer of VNA Health Group. Dr. Landers served as the Alliance’s Board chair for three years, overseeing tremendous growth in our organization. He led the charge on the Future of Home Health Project, as well as a number of other Alliance initiatives. We’re thrilled to have Dr. Landers staying on in a leadership capacity as the Alliance’s vice-chairperson.
 
The Alliance has seen a whirlwind of change in the last couple months, none of which would be possible without the support of our members, colleagues, and partners. We hope to hear more from you all in the future, and encourage everyone to reach out to me at tlee@ahhqi.org or (202) 239-3671, or to the Alliance’s Director of Communications and Events Jen Schiller at jschiller@ahhqi.org or (202) 239-3206 at any time regarding membership, comments, concerns, or ideas.
 
Happy New Year!


Very Truly Yours,

Teresa L. Lee, J.D., M.P.H.
Executive Director

 
  • On November 3rd, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule on discharge planning for hospitals, critical access hospitals, and home health agencies. The proposed rule would revise previously existing discharge requirements for the mentioned providers and implement IMPACT Act discharge planning requirements. The proposed rule is published in the Federal Register here. Comments are due by 5 pm ET on January 4, 2016. 
  • Health Affairs recently issued a policy brief on the Bundled Payment for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative. BPCI aims to change both the delivery and payment of health care services, and consists of four different models under which the initiative operates. Models 1 and 4 refer to inpatient acute care hospital stays alone, but models 2 and 3 include either post acute care only, or inpatient stay plus post acute. 
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) just issued its final rule on the comprehensive care for joint replacement (CCJR) model, which will begin on April 1, 2016 in 67 metropolitan statistical areas. More information can be found here. 
  • The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced a new initiative called the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network. The Network will serve as a convening body working to increase the adoption of value-based payment models. Stakeholders from across the healthcare spectrum are encouraged to participate. More information is available here. 
  • The final version Workshop Summary from last fall’s IOM/NRC “The Future of Home Health Care: A Workshop” is now available to download. The Workshop Summary contains a comprehensive write-up of the opinions expressed by speakers at the Fall 2014 workshop. Key themes raised in the summary include: need for better care transitions, increased and appropriate use of technology, new payment arrangements, a focus on bringing together community resources, workforce improvements, and more. The Summary can be downloaded on the IOM website here
  • Alliance Executive Director Teresa Lee will be the keynote speaker at the Home Care Association of Florida 2016 Winter Gathering in Fort Lauderdale on January 11th. If you’re interested in attending the two-day event, information and registration is still available at http://www.hcafconference.com/. 
  • Earlier this month and late last month, the Alliance submitted more comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and its contractors regarding measures under consideration. Alliance comments to RTI on the proposed discharge to community measure are available here; comments to RTI on the proposed potentially preventable readmission measures for PAC are available here; and comments to CMS on the 2015 measures under consideration can be accessed here. 
  • Alliance members can check out a replay of the Alliance’s 2015 Member Webinar on the Members Only portion of the website. On the call the Alliance introduced new Chairperson Kathleen Gilmartin and looked ahead to the future of the organization. Replay is available here.
  • The Alliance (@AHHQI) hosted the December edition of the #HomeHealthChat on Twitter, on December 8th with co-host the National Quality Forum (@NatQualityForum). The December chat focused on home health and home and community based services. A full recap is available here. If you are interested in co-hosting an upcoming Twitter chat with the Alliance, please contact the Alliance’s Special Assistant Jennifer Schiller at jschiller@ahhqi.org or (202) 239-3206.
The December #HomeHealthChat was co-hosted by National Quality Forum (@NatQualityForum). The National Quality Forum leads national collaboration to improve health and healthcare quality through measurement.
The #HomeHealthChat focused on Home and Community-Based Services.

Read more here.


 
Attention Medicare Recipients and Advocates: Get Face to Face with a new Paperwork Mess
Huffington Post, 12/16/15
“Visiting nurses and other home health professionals are the hidden angels of American health care--they are highly mission driven and in the course of helping people in need they routinely overcome many challenges like bad weather, high crime neighborhoods, traffic conditions, complex health problems and stressed out families--but, they're now confronting a new obstacle, a paperwork mess created by a little known Affordable Care Act (ACA) "face to face" rule. The timing is terrible because home health access and quality is being hurt at the very moment when extra focus on improving home health is needed to prepare for rapidly growing numbers of older Americans.
To read more, click here.

Signs a Tech Startup Could Be a Good Home Health Partner
Home Health Care News, 12/15/15
“When Lively launched in 2013, the aging-in-place technology startup had $7.6 million in funding and had access to resources as one of the first participants in Aging 2.0’s GENerator accelerator.”
To read more, click here.
 
Fix Public Health the Cleveland Clinic Way
Huffington Post, 12/7/15
“Doctors and hospitals, who have historically emphasized facility-based care, are realizing community health and human services are essential for great outcomes and cost-effective care. The perfectly performed surgery or hospital stay can be for naught if the person returns home without basic supports and primary care. Often people are expensively treated in hospitals and emergency rooms because of inadequate community resources. Government and private sector reformers are responding to these challenges by changing payment incentives for doctors and hospitals to drive efficiency and quality improvement. This medical industry transformation is being called "population health," "accountable care," and "value-based care." No matter their name, the new financing arrangements will struggle to improve quality and costs without high performing primary care, public health, and related social services.”
To read more, click here.
 
Home visiting program can help reduce hospital, nursing home visits, study says
Star Tribune, 12/7/15
“House calls from health care workers can help reduce costly admissions to the hospital or nursing home, according to a new report.”
To read more, click here.
 
Doctors prescribe old-fashioned house calls when treating the old and frail
The Washington Post, 12/6/15
“Haydee Hernandez, 83, suffers from seizure disorder, degenerative joint disease and hypertension, and cannot walk well enough to visit the doctor. In many places in the country, the retired cafeteria worker would be in an assisted living facility. She is able to stay in her Columbia Heights apartment, surrounded by her plants and ceramic figurines, because her doctor comes to her.”
To read more, click here.
For the latest home health research, fact sheets, and value materials, visit www.ahhqi.org.
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