Tucked inside the new healthcare reform bill is a mother lode of resources and dynamic opportunities for the home healthcare industry. In my role as a consultant, I have spent the past few months scrutinizing the bill, sorting out its strengths and, more importantly, discovering how the new legislation will help my clients grow their businesses.
Americans, as they age, want to remain in their homes whenever possible. Congress heard this message and, as a result, there are many strong mandates within the legislation that make it possible for home healthcare and community-based services to be the wave of the future. While hospitals, doctors, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities will be part of the new healthcare delivery system, the new bill makes it clear that home health, hospice, and private duty home care, more than ever, will be taking center stage.
As the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Series (CMS) determines how to care for the millions of Americans who need healthcare, over the next few years the new legislation will support multiple demonstration grants. Additionally, several billions of dollars have been set aside for these projects. As the Medical Homes, Hospital at Home, Independence at Home, and Chronic Care Model demonstration projects come into focus, home health, hospice, and private duty home care will be looked to as the partners of choice.
Within the context of the legislation, there will be significant opportunities to partner with hospitals and physicians to discover ways to decrease hospitalization and emergency room visits. Another wave of the future is the large number of physicians who are launching their own medical homes, hiring nurses, and attempting to develop community-based services. Existing agencies are the perfect partner to step in and take over these roles.
Agencies need to begin preparing their organization and staff for the upcoming opportunities. Make your agency known to your marketplace and partner with as many other providers as possible. Many strategic providers still do not understand the value of home health, hospice, and private duty home care. With the strength of the new legislation behind you, now is the time to let these entities know how your organization can contribute to the quality of their business and the stability of their bottom line
Healthcare reform is a call to action for our industry. Brush off your old ways of thinking and start developing new partnerships that will support your agency as it moves forward to a more profitable and stable future.