Four Current Home Health Trends Advancing into 2015

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Vice President, Strategy, McKesson
4 Current Home Health Trends in 2015

You can call 2015 “home health’s greatest hits.” Compared to the nearly nonstop changes since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, this year will be one of refinement.

Value-based purchasing is coming to home health, as is the ICD-10 transition. The importance of post-acute care to help reduce readmissions and participate in care coordination strategies will keep up, as will the need for home care organizations to focus on operational efficiency. Let’s look closer at each.

  1. Value-based purchasing. Nearly one-in-three seniors are in risk-based Medicare Advantage plans, and 10% participate in an accountable care organization (ACO). That’s a lot of folks with chronic conditions who are likely to become heavy benefit users. We know the importance of home-based services to manage conditions and help patients age in place. But our referring partners may need reminding. The announcement this fall of home health pilot expected to begin next year (2016) will give home health organizations in five states the opportunity to participate.
  2. ICD-10 implementation. I know you’ve heard this before, but it does appear unlikely that the October 1, 2015, deadline will be pushed back again. Premier Inc.’s recent announcement that its alliance of 3,400 hospitals and more than 110,000 providers supports the 2015 deadline is powerful. Remember that McKesson Homecare™ and McKesson Hospice™ already feature the ability to dual code, so your organization can be ready in plenty of time for the changeover.
  3. Focus on post-acute care (PAC). The passage in October of the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014 will harmonize assessment data and quality metrics across care settings as implementation begins next year. In addition to home health, the Act includes skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehab facilities and long-term care hospitals. Although the hospital readmission rate is going down, more hospitals are being hit with readmission penalties. If the health systems in your area haven’t already reached out for help managing care transitions, your organization may find it helpful to reach out to them.
  4. Importance of operational efficiency. The spotlight on home health and hospice organizations has never shone brighter. Your organization is being asked to do more, which can be a two-edged sword if you don’t understand your organization’s cost structure or aren’t operating at peak efficiency. A home health agency management solution can give you the insight you need to make important decisions.

To discover more home heath trends impacting the home health industry, visit the McKesson Homecare Talk Resource Center.

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