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Latest News from the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation
November/December 2016

Dear Members and Friends:

As we sprint towards the end of the year, I would like to highlight two key items involving the value of home health.
 
First, check out our recently published paper that is available online first in Home Health Care Management and Practice on the “Untapped Potential of Home Health Care Innovations to Improve Outcomes with Bundled Payment Initiatives.” As the Medicare final rule on episode payment models appears to be on the brink of publication, we hope this paper will shed light on home health’s critical role in bundled payment arrangements.   
 
Also, did you know that patients who refuse home health in post-acute care have twice as high odds of 30-day and 60-day readmissions? On December 7th, the Alliance co-sponsored a roundtable with the United Hospital Fund on addressing patient and caregiver refusals of home health, and the overall barriers to accessing home health. The Roundtable convened key thought leaders from academia, patient and consumer groups, and the home health community to review the literature to date on refusals and to focus on how to address these issues through research, practice and policy. A United Hospital Fund article on the Roundtable can be found here, and a white paper summarizing the issues and recommendations is forthcoming in 2017.  
 
As the Alliance gets set to wrap up 2016, we would like to thank all of you who enabled us to continue our mission of leading and supporting research and education on the value of home health care to patients and the healthcare system. Among the year’s highlights were the publication of the paper on “The Future of Home Health Care: A Strategic Framework for Optimizing Value” in the November issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Home Health Care Management & Practice. The Alliance also released data relevant for understanding home health’s role in the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) model earlier this year. The full data set and one pagers are available at: http://ahhqi.org/research/joint-replacement-data.
 
We look forward to 2017 and engaging with all of you. Stay tuned for registration information coming soon for the 2017 National Leadership Conference, co-hosted with VNAA, on April 19 – 21 in San Diego, California.
 
Please reach out to me at tlee@ahhqi.org with any questions or feedback.
 
We hope you have a wonderful, healthy holiday season and happy new year.


Very Truly Yours,

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

 
  • In December, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the “Overview of the Home Health Groupings Model” first mentioned in the CY 2017 Home Health Prospective Payment System. The case-mix methodology refinements outline changes to payment which will be implemented at a yet-to-be-determined time. The full analysis is available here, and the Alliance will be holding calls with the Quality & Innovation Work Group to discuss.
  • Earlier this month, the Senate Finance Committee’s Chronic Care Working Group introduced the “Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2016.” The proposed bill, introduced by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) seeks to, among other things, extend the Independence at Home (IAH) demonstration for an additional two years. The bill also proposes to raise the maximum number of beneficiaries from 10,000 to 15,000. A full copy of the proposed bill can be found here.
  • The Alliance recently submitted comments to RTI on the proposed “Quality measures to satisfy the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act) domain of: Transfer of Health Information and Care Preferences When an Individual Transitions.” The comments focused on concerns about placement of burden on home health agencies for transfer of information, language regarding sender of information, and timing of transfer of information. The Alliance’s full comments are available here.
  • CMS released a fact sheet on “Transforming Post-Acute Care Through Standardization and Care Coordination” available here. The CMS fact sheet focuses on CMS’s efforts toward data standardization in assessment instruments, which are required by the IMPACT Act.
 
  • In early December, the Alliance staff traveled to New York City for a roundtable, co-sponsored with the United Hospital Fund focused on home health care refusals. The discussion featured more than 20 national and regional leaders in the space brought together to discuss reasons behind refusals and ways to improve communications in an effort to ensure the highest quality of patient care. A brief summary of the event is available here, and a full report will be released in early 2017 with recommendations forged at the event.
  • On December 12th, the National Academy's Forum on Aging, Disability, and Independence co-hosted the "Affordable and Accessible Housing for Vulnerable Older Adults and People with Disabilities Living in the Community" workshop with the Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and the Elimination of Health Disparities in Washington, DC. The workshop looked at the role housing plays in the health of older and disabled Americans, especially minority and low-income patients. Slides and other meeting materials from the workshop are available here.   
  • “The Future of Home Health Care: A Strategic Framework for Optimizing Value” was released in the November issue of the peer-reviewed journal Home Health Care Management & Practice! The report, a culmination of the Alliance’s Future of Home Health Project, provides a framework for the Medicare-certified home health agency of the future, and includes key roles of, recommendations for, and pillars of a successful home health agency. The full available is available for free on Sage Pub here.
  • Stay tuned! Registration information coming soon for the 2017 National Leadership Conference, jointly sponsored by the Alliance and VNAA, in San Diego, Calif. April 19th – 21st. The conference offers organizations the chance to highlight innovative practices in deliver high-quality cost-effective home-based care.
  • Interested in sponsoring Alliance and VNAA events next year? Check out the 2017 Corporate Partnerships Prospectus, available online here. For more information, reach out the Alliance’s Executive Director Teresa Lee at tlee@ahhqi.org.
  • On June 30th, the Alliance hosted “Framing the Future of Health Care in America,” which included the release of case studies and appendices that will inform the upcoming independent publication of the Future of Home Health paper. Kathleen Gilmartin, CEO of Interim HealthCare, Sally Rodriguez, Director, Avalere, and Dr. Steven Landers, President and CEO of VNA Health Group. Materials are available here.
  • Check out the Alliance’s new state one-pagers on home health’s role in post-acute care! You can also check out the updated patient and workforce state one-pagers and packets with information from the 2015 Home Health Chartbook and supplements. Updated one pagers are available on our website: http://ahhqi.org/home-health/state-data
  •  The Alliance (@AHHQI) will host the December edition of the #HomeHealthChat on Twitter on a special day, today, December 20th at 2 pm ET with co-host West Health Health (@WestHealth). The December chat will focus on acute care at home. If you are interested in co-hosting an upcoming Twitter chat with the Alliance, please contact Jen Schiller at jschiller@ahhqi.org.

The November #HomeHealthChat was co-hosted by Honor (@honor).

Honor provides personalized home care for people who want to continue to live in the homes they love—safely and happily—as they age.

 

Read more here.

Technology Boom in Home Health Care May Offer Benefits to All

HomeCareDaily.com, 12/19/16

“When the federal government announced a significant 14 percent cut for Medicaid reimbursements to the home care industry, coupled with the pressure it placed on hospitals to reduce readmissions, there were many questions brought up. Most of those questions revolved around how people would be able to receive adequate care at home, especially as home care agencies were being pressed financially.”

To read more, click here.

 

CMS Releases Data on Hospice Quality, Home Health Use

Home Health Care News, 12/18/16

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published on Friday new updates to two different hospice data sets—one on the thoughts of consumers, the other on hospice quality measures.”

To read more, click here.

 

Harvard Report: Home Care to Surge as Population Ages

Home Health Care News, 12/13/16

“Within the next decade, the number of Americans 65 and older is going to surge. But as this happens, the demand for housing to accommodate those who wish to age in place will also increase drastically.”

To read more, click here.

 

For the latest home health research, fact sheets, and value materials, visit www.ahhqi.org.
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