CHICAGO (October 29, 2018)—The American Academy of Home Care Medicine (AAHCM), a professional organization for physicians, nurse practitioners and other providers of home-based primary care (HBPC), announced the release of a digital toolkit of educational resources to help payers and providers understand how HBPC significantly improves quality and reduces costs for more than two million seriously ill and home-limited older adults. AAHCM made this announcement at its annual meeting in Chicago, which focused on empowering HBPC professionals to “Drive the Change to Value-Based Care.”

AAHCM’s new research-based educational initiative is part of a national awareness campaign funded by The John A. Hartford Foundation and West Health. It aims to remove barriers to HBPC programs, which provide appropriate primary and palliative care to vulnerable, functionally impaired patients who typically have complex health problems and are unable to visit physicians’ offices.

HBPC providers, including independent and hospital-based practices, work as interdisciplinary teams that include physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers and nurses. Through preventive care support and timely interventions, they preempt avoidable, high-cost emergency department visits and hospitalizations and give vulnerable, under-served patient’s access to continuous care.

Multiple studies have shown that HBPC delivers significant cost savings and improves patient satisfaction; one program cut heart failure readmissions by 50 percent. As important, HBPC teams improve quality of life for patients and families by caring for them according to their preferences, in their own homes.

“These patients represent about 3 to 5 percent of Medicare patients, and HBPC can better support them and their families and also rein in health care costs,” said Mindy Fain, past-president of the AAHCM and principal investigator for the project. “The Academy is working with the Home Centered Care Institute (HCCI) and other organizations to help payers and providers integrate this critical type of care into their standard array of benefits and services.”

The free toolkit includes a comprehensive set of materials that:

  • Explains how HBPC adds value to payers through prevention of avoidable high-cost events while enhancing quality of life for patients and family caregivers;
  • Provides examples of successful HBPC programs, including Medicare’s Independence at Home (IAH) Demonstration project, that reduce readmissions, emergency department visits, and complications;
  • Features a video vignette that showcases how receiving medical care in the home improves individuals' health and well-being.

“We would like to thank The John A. Hartford Foundation for their support of this vital work. By providing this information to payers, we hope to increase their use of HBPC and implement value-based payment for home care medicine providers,” said Dr. Eric DeJonge, president of AAHCM. “These efforts will enable the fast-growing population of home-limited older adults with serious chronic illness to maintain their health and dignity."”

“Leaving the home is a struggle for millions of older adults every day, putting them at risk for poor health outcomes and high health care costs. But we have a solution in home-based primary care," said Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, president of The John A. Hartford Foundation. "By offering education on the value of interdisciplinary team care in the home, AAHCM is expanding its availability and ensuring its sustainability as an integral part of the age-friendly health systems we all need and deserve.”

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