By Glenda Motta RN, MPH
Most individuals with chronic conditions would much prefer to remain at home in familiar surroundings than be relocated to a nursing care facility. Yet, the largest expenditures under state Medicaid programs involve providing institutional care for the chronic, long-term care population.
Over the years, many states have developed programs to provide services aimed at reducing institutionalization. Now, Medicare has announced a new demonstration project called the “Independence at Home” program. In keeping with the theme “everything old is new again” the Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that, “This program gives new life to the old practice of house calls, but with 21st Century technology and a team approach.”
Those of you in home care know the limitations under the “skilled care” mandate of the present Medicare benefit. The intention of this demonstration is to greatly expand the scope of in-home services Medicare beneficiaries can receive. The Independence at Home Demonstration will provide chronically ill patients with a complete range of primary care services.
Medical practices led by physicians or nurse practitioners will provide primary care home visits tailored to the needs of beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions and functional limitations. The Demonstration will reward health care professionals who provide high quality care while reducing costs. Practices may propose varying levels of monitoring and mobile diagnostic technology.
Practices are required to use remote monitoring and mobile diagnostic technology in order to provide timely monitoring and evaluation. This will also help minimize trips to the emergency department or outpatient facilities that are difficult for the target population to reach.
Today, house calls are practically extinct in most areas of the country. Hopefully, providers will respond to the call for a new era in home care. More information about this demonstration can be found here.
About The Author
Glenda Motta RN, MPH is a reimbursement consultant and wound care expert, publishing over 125 articles and books, serving as the President of the WOCN (1987-1989), and founding GM Associates, Inc., a healthcare marketing and reimbursement firm.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.