Our weekly list of news, reports, and information about home health and hospice care. Learn about new studies, trends, CMS regulations and more.
The Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Philadelphia, the premier Home Health, Palliative and Hospice provider for 132 years, has announced the implementation of the home care industry’s leading software solution from Homecare Homebase (HCHB). According to Brian Sharkoski, Chief Information Officer for VNA Philly, the non-profit agency had been looking to significantly upgrade its software for several years. In recent months, with support from a new management team under the leadership of CEO Elwood Hungarter and continued partnership from HCHB, the agency was able to substantially upgrade its entire data operations to meet the increased demands of its 1,500+ user base in multiple locations.
By 2030, all baby boomers will be older than 65 years old, according to the Census Bureau. As the silver tsunami and seniors’ preference to age in place continues to raise demand for home healthcare, the leading national franchisor of home care, hospice and healthcare staffing, Interim HealthCare Inc., reveals its 2019 predictions for the industry. Here are a few of the trends forecasted:
1. Caring for caregivers will become increasingly crucial.
2. Chronic care will come home.
3. Value-based care still front and center.
4. Technology will improve care quality and industry efficiency.
5. Medicare Advantage will encourage greater education and partnership.
The home health and hospice industries are expected to see significantly more mergers and acquisitions in 2019 than in years past. The growing popularity of lower-cost, value-based care and other factors are largely to thank. That’s according to Norwalk, Connecticut-based market intelligence firm Irving Levin & Associates, which collects and studies M&A data. The boom comes after a record breaking 2018, when the sector closed 82 deals — the most in recent history. Before that, 2014 held the record with 81 home health and hospice deals.
Home health agencies are still unsure what a recent overhaul of Medicare’s accountable care organization (ACO) program means for them. They will be affected, experts say, but how and to what extent remains unclear. Called “Pathways to Success,” the new policies for ACOs were announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) about a month ago. Among other changes, the new policies shorten risk-free periods and offer more regulatory flexibility, including for providing telehealth to people in their homes. The effects of these modifications will continue to be monitored by the National Association of ACOs (NAACOS). “[The rule’s] final impact on ACOs or the broader health community is not yet clear,” the association told Home Health Care News in a statement. “However, it’s almost certain given the reach ACOs now have within our health system that home health agencies will experience at least some residual effect.”