Much has happened in the last 10 months since Housecall Providers became a member of the CareOregon family. We instituted process improvements that have generated quick wins across all departments. We’ve charted a course that we believe will lead the organization to becoming a thriving, sustainable business model within the next couple of years.
The community’s support of Housecall Providers remains as important as ever, and we are so very grateful to our donors who are walking every step of this journey with us.
While we are not naïve about the extent of this undertaking, we know we have the right group assembled to achieve this goal: a team of dedicated providers, clinicians and staff who are experts in delivering home-based medicine to seriously ill people. What we need beyond that is acknowledgment from our partners, namely the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), that value-based reimbursement, not fee-for-service, is the right payment model to provide home-based medicine for the vulnerable population we serve.
There are positive signs that CMS is slowly moving towards a value-based system for home-based medicine. Members of the American Academy of Home Care Medicine, like Housecall Providers, rejoiced over the two-year extension of the Medicare Independence at Home Demonstration Project (IAH) that was included in the recently passed tax package.
This year marks IAH’s sixth year of operation. While Housecall Providers and the other 14 sites are grateful to be part of this landmark demonstration and share in the cost savings provided by home-based medicine, millions of chronically ill people across America need a health system that works for them. They need Congress to act and make home-based medicine a permanent Medicare program as it did with hospice in 1986. Estimates are that such a program could bring $10 to $15 billion in savings over the next 10 years.
Our support and membership within national home-based advocacy groups, as well as our quality and cost outcomes, are helping to shape the nationwide conversation around the benefits of primary care house calls for the chronically ill. We are committed to doing everything that we can to move home-based medicine forward, because we know what is at stake.
At the heart of our work is the desire to be there for our patients, delivering the right care, at the right time. We enter into meaningful partnerships with companies, organizations, and community groups that share our mission of enhancing the lives of our patients.
One such group is the Wilsonville Piecemakers. Since 2015 we have been fortunate to receive beautiful, colorful quilts three to four times a year and to be able to lay those works of art onto the welcoming laps of our patients.
This year, we also began a partnership with The Bloom Project. Each Tuesday, a volunteer drops off flower arrangements to Housecall Providers so our team members can deliver bouquets to the patients they plan on seeing that week. Feedback from the quilts and the flowers has been extremely positive, and we are so thankful that these groups feel as passionate as we do about supporting our patients.
When all is said and done, what truly matters is the impact we have had in the lives of our patients and families and, ultimately, the entire community. The long hours and late-night charting doesn’t seem to matter when we receive cards like the following from Richard, whose wife of 61 years was under our care.
“You were there and on call, the ENTIRE time, until the passing of my wife. Right there with sympathy and understanding through an incredibly difficult time. Please know that I can’t thank you all enough for the help and understanding that you gave me.”
From all of us at Housecall Providers, thank you again for your continued support of our program. Together, we can move home-centered medicine forward so that one day this care will be available to all who need it.
Wishing you a spring full of possibility,
Rebecca Ramsay, MPH, BSN