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Project aims to clarify home health role for future

May 8, 2014
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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Three key challenges prevent Medicare skilled home healthcare from meeting the needs of older adults, according to the non-profit Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (AHHQI):

  • Silos in traditional Medicare payment policy, which promote volume over value;
  • Homebound and face-to-face requirements as well as practice level restrictions; and
  • Lack of adequate support and infrastructure—such as caregiving, transportation, housing and meal supports—for people to age in place and receive care at home.

The AHHQI has launched the Future of Home Health Project in an effort to clarify understanding of the current and potential roles of home healthcare as well as identify major issues and challenges that need to be addressed to improve healthcare provided in this context. A white paper released by the group aims to provide background for launching the project and demonstrate how, through home health, the “triple aim” of improving the experience of those who receive care, improving the health of populations and reducing the per-capita cost of healthcare can be achieved.

“We believe that the value proposition of home healthcare is strong for both patients and the healthcare system, but that belief must be tested through further research, analysis and discussion,” says Teresa Lee, executive director of the AHHQI. “We look forward to working with leaders across our community and the healthcare continuum to better define the role of home health and to identify key changes needed to achieve an optimal future role in providing care to seniors and Americans with disabilities.”

As part of the project, the AHHQI plans to sponsor a public workshop conducted by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council as well as hold an autumn symposium on the future of home healthcare. The group plans to release the results of its research and its strategic framework in 2015.

Sponsors of the project include the Community Health Accreditation Program and Axxess Technologies.