Time for Agency Action to be Prepared for Accountable Care

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)

Home Health Agency - Decisions Accountable careMcKesson colleague Rose Higgins and I were honored to kick off a three-part series on accountable care that we believe gave home health agencies actionable information on this important topic.

Home health agencies are on one of three trajectories:

  • Head in the sand, focusing on keeping up with regulatory changes and avoiding audits
  • Staying the path, believing the time for change is when it is required
  • Stepping out and taking some shots, getting involved with CMS pilots, getting at the table with commercial payers or taking steps to create the infrastructure to deliver care coordination and case management services

If your agency is in group described as having your “head in the sand,” you’re not alone. But we believe it’s time for agencies to start exploring options to get prepared for the changes afoot to move accountable care models forward. After all, patients spend a majority of their lives in their homes. When it comes to delivering post-acute care at the lowest-cost, home care agencies are best-equipped to do that.

Higgins, vice president of Payer/Provider Solutions, says there are three emerging commercial ACO models. The first is payer-led, offering turnkey ACO packages to providers. The second is payer-enabled, offering specific services to support providers who are undertaking risk- or gain-sharing arrangements with analytics or care management.

The third model, the provider-independent model, where providers equip themselves to offer alternatives to traditional payers has been the area of greatest interest to McKesson clients.

But in order to collaborate effectively, accountable care partners need four basic building blocks: connectivity, analytics, care management and payment mechanics. Having an effective home health software solution can facilitate all four pillars of being able to be a valued partner in an accountable care model. Research from healthcare advisory firm Wyatt Matas links care management activities such as those offered by ACOs to greater agency valuations.

The purpose of this webinar series is to get home health and hospice agencies thinking about where they fit into the post-acute care picture. It’s clear to us that doing nothing is not an option. The pace of change is too great to take a wait-and-see attitude.

Listen to the three webinars in the ACO series.

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