Caregiving Playing a More Prominent Role in Healthcare Delivery
Blog Contributor: Gavin Ward, 24 Hour Home Care’s Regional Director of Strategy and Partnerships
I have had the privilege of serving in the professional caregiving industry for 10 years. When I first started in the industry, many hospitals and healthcare organizations would give their patients needing additional help at home a list of caregiving agencies and wish them luck in their search. Organizations providing a list of agencies didn’t see home care as a vital service in the process of recovery and rehabilitation, and therefore didn’t invest the time and effort to vet quality homecare organizations to refer to.
I believe that there are two main reasons that healthcare organizations didn’t pay much attention to the professional caregiving industry until this decade. The first of which is that homecare is traditionally not a covered healthcare insurance benefit (for the purposes of this writing, homecare is not to be confused with home health, which is prescribed by a licensed physician and in which care is performed for 30 minutes to 2 hours by a licensed nurse, therapist, or certified home health aide a few days per week for typically a few weeks). Discharge planning professionals would frequently, more easily refer patients needing care to either home health or skilled nursing (also referred to as a convalescent home), as these services provided nursing and therapy services, and were also covered by their healthcare insurance.
Secondly, hospitals were not held to the same strict accountability standards for the results of their patients after they left the hospital as they are today through the Affordable Care Act, which financially penalizes hospitals for results such as 30-day preventable readmission rates. If a hospital has a high readmission rate for seniors with conditions such as heart failure, pneumonia, heart attacks, COPD, and elective hip and knee surgery, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services can withhold up to 3% of their payment to the hospital, which can be millions of dollars in penalties. Before the Affordable Care Act, there was no financial gain for a hospital to invest the time, effort, and other resources to ensure that their patients were receiving all of the care that they needed, and often hospitals would only refer patients to home health agencies and skilled nursing facilities as those services were covered benefits. But what about patients that didn’t qualify for either, and/or still needed additional support in their home with activities of daily living, such as meal preparation, transportation to their doctor’s appointments, dressing assistance, etc.?
Many individuals don’t have friends or family caregivers available to help after a hospitalization, or their support network may not have the skills and experience necessary to aide in the recovery process. These individuals were left on their own with a long list of companies to call and research, with no way of knowing which agencies provided quality results.
24 Hour Home Care has been at the forefront of shifting the thinking of these healthcare organizations as to why the type of care provided by 24 Hour Home Care’s team is vital. Through the results of our caregiving efforts, such as yielding low readmission rates for our clients (3.8% compared to the nationwide average of 19%), 24 Hour Home Care is now formally partnering with more than 30 healthcare organizations, including some of the most prestigious in California, Arizona, and Texas. These organizations are funding care, with the ultimate goal of having our clients recover at their own home and transition back to independence.
Gavin Ward is 24 Hour Home Care’s Regional Director of Strategy and Partnerships and the Host of PopHealth Podcast. He is the 1st Certified Fellow in Readmission Prevention by the National Readmission Prevention Collaborative and has over a decade of experience serving in the homecare industry.