LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., January 18, 2007 – Home health associations and home health agencies in New York have joined IPRO, the state’s Medicare Quality Improvement Organization, in launching the 2007 Home Health Quality Improvement National Campaign. The 12-month interdisciplinary campaign, which is sponsored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, unites the home care community under a shared vision of reducing avoidable hospitalizations to improve the quality of patient care for Medicare beneficiaries. Local partners include the Continuing Care Leadership Coalition, the Healthcare Association of New York State, the Home Care Association of New York State, Inc., and the New York State Association of Healthcare Providers. Together with IPRO, these organizations will serve as New York’s Local Area Network for Excellence (LANE) for the campaign.
“The home health community has come together with us to help ensure that care is provided in beneficiaries’ homes when home care is the best option,” said Clare B. Bradley, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Medical Officer, IPRO. “Our collaborative effort to reduce avoidable hospitalizations will equate with improved quality of care for many New Yorkers.”
The initial goal of the New York State LANE is to recruit at least half of the state’s Medicare-certified home health agencies to participate in the campaign. Agencies that register to participate will have access to educational tools and resources, best-practice guidelines, success stories and other resources targeting reduction of avoidable acute care hospitalization. Each participating agency will also receive reports on its performance, comparing it with national and state benchmarks. In addition, the LANE will conduct a series of teleconferences and learning sessions to provide guidance and support on implementation of the campaign strategies. Among the learning sessions will be programs in which home health agencies share their best practices and help others improve their care processes. Registration for the campaign is free and voluntary, as is participation in the educational sessions.
Two New York State agencies — Visiting Nurse Services of Rochester & Monroe County Inc. and Jewish Home & Hospital Home Health Care (serving metro New York City) — have led the way to registration by signing up for participation in the campaign at the January 11 Home Health Quality Initiative Summit in Baltimore, which launched the national campaign.
“Enabling our clients to remain in their homes when medically appropriate is key to our mission of supporting the health, individuality and dignity of the elders we serve,” said Bridget Gallagher, Vice President, Jewish Home & Hospital Home Health Care. “Our partnership with IPRO has helped us to uphold this mission. We look forward to collaborating with the LANE and other agencies to disseminate the lessons learned from this work and feel this is an exciting initiative for the home health community.”
Experience has shown that patients prefer to stay at home whenever possible while recuperating from an injury or illness. Being hospitalized can create financial and emotional burdens for patients and their families. Currently, more than one in four home health patient episodes will result in a hospitalization. The campaign seeks to reduce those hospitalizations that are avoidable by providing tools and resources, information sharing, best-practice sharing and benchmarking.
“The commitment to quality improvement is the cornerstone of our current and future success,” said Victoria Hines, President, Visiting Nurse Services of Rochester & Monroe County Inc. “Ultimately, our patients benefit from better care, our staff are professionally satisfied through the recognition that comes with achieving benchmark clinical outcomes, and our agency fiscal health is strengthened as patients and physicians choose VNS because of the high quality of care we provide.”
More information about the campaign can be found on its official Web site, www.homehealthquality.org.