CAST Sponsor: How Care at Home Can Reduce the Deficit

by Published On: Nov 09, 2011

Meaningful deficit reduction can't take place without a serious look at health care spending. However, health care spending cannot be reduced significantly “without radical rethinking of how we provide care,” according to Louis Burns, chief executive officer of Intel-GE Care Innovations, a CAST sponsor.

Burns’ comments appeared recently on The Hill, a Washington, DC-based newspaper written for and about the U.S. Congress. In the publication’s Congress Blog, Burns urges legislators to make it easier for high-cost patients with multiple chronic diseases to receive proactive, preventive care in the place they call home.

Already Being Done 

Burns shares 3 examples of programs that have already proven that they can deliver better quality care and save health care dollars by keeping patients at home: 

  1. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Based Primary Care program manages the care of aging veterans who are battling complex chronic diseases across 48 states. The program has seen reductions of 62% in hospital days, 88% in nursing home days, 24% in VA costs and 11% in Medicare costs for high-need beneficiaries. Satisfaction ratings for the program exceed 80%.
  1. Ohio’s PASSPORT program includes a Medicaid waiver that screens patients who are at risk of nursing home or hospital admission in order to determine if additional clinical support and resources could help them stay in their homes instead. The program has helped the state save millions of dollars and has reduced Medicaid growth by half.
  1. The Independence at Home (IAH) program, authorized by the Affordable Care Act, provides proactive, in-home care for the highest cost Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions. The IAH Coalition estimates that a fully implemented program could save Medicare between $21 and $35 billion over 10 years.

Technology is the Key 

Technology could make it possible for millions of older Americans to recover from an illness or serious operation at home instead of in a hospital or nursing facility, says Burns.

“By harnessing the power of technology, we can give seniors more control over their health, help them avoid more complex or new conditions and make more efficient use of our physicians, nurses and other caregivers,” he writes. Burns also suggests that reaching out to deliver care to people where they live is preferable to waiting for patients to seek care on their own or waiting until those patients experience an emergency.

“Today, our system is reactive and acute-driven, and we know it doesn’t work,” concludes Burns. “Any new legislation to reduce Medicare and Medicaid spending should incentivize proven solutions that deliver what seniors want and our country needs—high quality care at a lower cost.”


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