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Americans Favor Investment in Community and Home-Based Health Care, According to Harris Interactive Survey, September 2011
Date:9/27/2011

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In mid September, Harris Interactive polled more than 2,000 adults about federal spending priorities for health care and which types of Medicare spending cuts they would favor, if cuts were necessary to reduce the budget deficit.  

Nearly four out of five Americans (79 percent) said the federal government should strengthen patients' access to home medical equipment and services, according to the online survey.  Most Americans (61 percent) said they favor investment in community- or home-based care to improve cost-effective health care. The online survey was conducted on behalf of the American Association for Homecare between September 13 and September 15, 2011.  

Tyler Wilson, president of the American Association for Homecare, commented, "These findings underscore the fact that home and community-based care is recognized as part of the solution to the nation's health care challenges. Home medical equipment and services and other forms of home-based care help to reduce time spent in more expensive institutional settings, and this type of care allows millions of Americans to remain safe and independent in their own homes. And as we saw during Hurricane Irene, providers of oxygen therapy and other types of home medical equipment and services are first-responders during emergencies. We urge Congress and the Obama Administration to preserve and strengthen the nation's infrastructure for providing homecare."

Survey Results
Asked whether the federal government should "strengthen access to home medical equipment and services" given its potential to reduce hospital length of stay and healthcare costs, respondents replied:

  • Agree (79 percent);
  • Disagree (11 percent);
  • Not Sure (9 percent).

Asked "Where should the U.S. government invest the most money to improve health care and cost-effective delivery of care?" respondents replied:

  • Community health clinics (37 percent);
  • Patients' homes (24 percent);
  • Hospitals (23 percent); and
  • Doctors' offices (15 percent).  

Given four choices for ways the government might cut Medicare spending to help reduce the budget deficit, respondents selected:

  • Raising the premiums high income Medicare recipients have to pay (59 percent);  
  • Raising the age people start receiving Medicare benefits (24 percent);
  • Cutting Medicare spending on home medical equipment such as oxygen, wheelchairs, and other equipment and services in their homes (9 percent); and
  • Raising the premiums all Medicare recipients have to pay (9 percent).  

Wilson commented, "The continuing, disproportionate cuts to Medicare reimbursement for home medical equipment and services only weaken the safety net that homecare providers bring to the nation's healthcare system when we should be encouraging more home-based care to help control spending."  

Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of American Association for Homecare between September 13 and 15, 2011 via the QuickQuerySM online omnibus service among 2,028 U.S. adults age 18+.

Results were also weighted as needed to reflect the composition of the U.S. adult population by age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income.

The American Association for Homecare represents durable medical equipment providers, manufacturers, and others in the homecare community that serve the medical needs of millions of Americans who require oxygen systems, wheelchairs, medical supplies, inhalation drug therapy, and other medical equipment and services in their homes. Members operate more than 3,000 homecare locations in all 50 states.  Visit www.aahomecare.org/athome.


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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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