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Since Governor and Legislators Agree on Value of Homecare, Advocacy Group Says Time is Now to Make it Available to More Pennsylvanians
Date:4/8/2008

irector of the Pennsylvania Homecare Association.

A Carnegie Mellon Study conducted on behalf of Blue Shield of California is an example of how in-home care can help in reducing health care costs. The study examined the importance of "patient-centered management" on about 700 patients with chronic conditions. Each patient received coordinated care from a team of physicians, nurses, homecare, hospice and social workers. The results showed a 38 percent decrease in hospital admissions, a 30 percent decrease in emergency room visits, and a savings of $18,000 per person. But the most significant result was a 22 percent increase in homecare utilization.

The Pennsylvania Homecare Association is seeking a $10 million increase in the state's 2008-09 budget allocation to increase the Medicaid reimbursement to $100 per visit for skilled services. The increase will help offset the cost of nursing and therapeutic care, rising gasoline prices, and workers' compensation premiums for home health agencies.

Medicaid provides basic health care for low-income individuals under the age of 60 and for the elderly under the state's Aging Waiver program. Nearly two million people are covered by Medicaid in Pennsylvania, but only about 10,000 of those receive at-home health care and another 12,000 people under the Aging Waiver, Hoak said.

Hoak applauds the Administration officials who have shown support in shifting care from long-term care facilities to home-care of community-based services. She added that this gives patients the ability to choose how and where they would like to receive their care. But she still sees a disconnect between the intent and the action.

"We know the Rendell Administration believes in home healthcare and the increasing role it should play in the continuum of care. We just wish he would give the instruction clearly to the state's various departments and agencies to 'make it so,'" said Hoak.

The Pennsylvania Homecare Associa
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SOURCE The Pennsylvania Homecare Association
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