Home Care: A Health Care Idea We Can All Support
WILMINGTON, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The following is an opinion editorial provided by Anthony Zizzamia, president of Liberty HomeCare & Hospice Services:
Finding a common cause in America can prove as challenging as balancing the federal budget. Citizens in North Carolina have differing views on politics, and particularly about health care, but there is one health care ideal that crosses property lines and party lines: the importance of home care.
November is National Home Care Month, and no matter what Americans think of the recent health care reform law, they believe in the importance of home care. A recent study by Genworth Financial showed that 80 percent of respondents preferred receiving treatment in the home instead of outside surroundings. Another in-depth study by Avalere Health concluded that patients receiving Medicare home health services soon after a hospital discharge saved Medicare almost $2 billion over those who did not receive such care. Those receiving home care get better faster, at a significantly diminished cost, than those who are treated in hospital rooms.
The need for home care continues to increase. The Detroit Free Press reported earlier this year that one in four households in the U.S. cares for someone 50 or older, and more than 7.6 million Americans receive home care. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that from 2000 to 2007, the industry saw an increase of almost 300,000 workers, a surge of almost 150 percent.
In addition to a new focus on chronically ill elderly patients with multiple diagnoses, new advances such as telemonitoring and other medical treatments now available in the home could also increase that demand. Yet those advances, and the needs of home care patients, face challenges because of proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Those two programs fund a combined 57 percent of home health costs, Medicare alone has already cut home health reimbursement by more than 8% since 2008 and will cut another 5% in 2011. The proposed cuts could limit the availability of those advances and give home care patients fewer choices.
North Carolina residents won’t let those changes happen without a fight. Almost 1,000 letters have been sent to Congress members from the state, urging lawmakers to pass the Home Health Care Access Protection Act. The Home Health Care Access Protection Act would stop those cuts from happening, and maintain the full range of services that home care provides.
Liberty HomeCare & Hospice Services believes in the future of home care, and we aren’t alone. Millions of people choose to receive care in the home. We have seen patients make remarkable recoveries in homes we visit, and there are thousands of other success stories throughout North Carolina.
That’s why supporting the Home Health Care Access Protection Act is the first step in helping keep home health care an affordable option in the health care continuum. We want the best for patients and caregivers, and that legislation is a good way to start.
Anthony Zizzamia is the president of Liberty HomeCare & Hospice Services, which has 22 offices throughout North Carolina and serves more than 19,000 patients annually.
For Liberty HomeCare & Hospice Services
Kevin Cary, 704-262-1118
KEYWORDS: United States North America North Carolina
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