Home care is the Core of the Accountable Care Organization Model

The team at Thornberry attended and exhibited at the NAHC Financial Management Conference in Dallas, TX this week. In addition to the expo, that provided the opportunity to meet with financial managers, CEO’s and CFO’s in the homecare and hospice industry; the learning opportunities were plentiful. My takeaway from the conference was to validate what I already knew – the value of homecare in the new world of Accountable Care Organizations (ACO).

Homecare is the core of the health care continuum and plays a huge role in the new physician driven model of the ACO. The core values of an ACO are to provide care coordination, with quality and accountability with a patient-family centered care approach.

The quality of an ACO needs to measure outcomes based upon the CMS Outcome Assessment (OASIS), The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) and Home Health Care Survey (HHCAHPS) and the Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement (QAPI) for all hospice patients and families.

Patient-Family centered care involves all the people, processes and resources of a homecare or hospice business: nursing visits, physical therapy falls program, occupational therapy cognitive function assessment and plan, social services to meet the family needs and private duty care available to both the patient and family.

The accountability piece comes into play with the goal to reduce hospital readmissions, compliance with medication therapy, fall prevention and care coordination. Care coordination can be implemented and operated with weekly case coordination meetings, automated and paperless communications, Community Liaisons and transitions bundle.

Measure the results continuously to identify quality outcomes, process outcomes and patient engagement (HHCAHPS) and satisfaction.  This is the secret sauce for homecare – to prove and show the physician-led, integrated care team that your homecare or hospice business belongs as the center of their ACO.  By showing the value of your organization with reduced operating costs because of highly efficient processes and effective people that deliver good patient outcomes – your business will be the top of the heap and provider of choice.

One other thought was posed to the group – be specialized and create a palliative care program to enhance your service offerings.  Is this part of your plan for your homecare or hospice business?

Thank you to the team at NAHC for providing this unique learning opportunity for our industry!