There are a lot of questions surrounding elder care and the most effective way to go about it. What’s the best course of treatment? How can everyone involved help to maintain quality of life for as long as possible? These questions are still not agreed upon by everyone, which can leave those who are ailing stuck in the middle.
Independence at Home Act
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) aims to prove that home care for diseases such as Alzheimers, cancer, etc is a more economical and ethical way to treat those afflicted. Private home care has long been considered a luxury, but it doesn’t need to be. For such illnesses that will require long-term treatment, it is actually more cost efficient to offer home care.
It should be no surprise that a relative few people are the ones that spend the majority of our dollars on health care. According to a USA Today analysis of the 2012 Medicare data, 15% of those on Medicare have 6 chronic diseases or more and account for 41% of all Medicare spending. And as life expectancy increases, so does the rate of illness amongst the older population. While this is to be expected, we also need to determine the best way to care for people without putting a larger financial burden on taxpayers than necessary.
The Independence at Home Act has shown success in the pilot programs in large cities across the United States. Health care at home is not a new concept. The Home-Based Primary Care program has been a major boon to cutting costs for our veterans since 1972. Those in charge of veterans care have had many years to perfect this system which is why the initial pilot was modeled on their processes. While each person’s care will be individualized, it generally involves having professionals like doctors, nurses, therapists and psychologists coordinate visits (around three a month.) The rest of the time, the person is expected to be able to perform basic acts such as eating, washing and using the restroom. The savings, which can cut Medicare costs up to 24%, are allocated to both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and practices. The risk to taxpayers is essentially nothing, as this program does not have any kind of additional spending built into the model.
This program largely rests on the attitudes of those who implement the many steps to make it all happen. You’ll need those in the industry to be on-board so that they adopt the strategies to make this all come together. It has already been proved through the veterans program and initial pilots that this can be a successful strategy to combatting the rising costs of healthcare. However, when such wide-scale projects are introduced, they can be met with resentment from those who need to make a huge upheaval in their careers and routines. If we can continue to focus on the many benefits, we can increase the amount of people who are able to stay in comfortable surroundings while coping with chronic illnesses while drastically reducing our cost of care.
“The promising start prompted Congress to approve (SB 971) a two-year extension of the project, which Obama signed into law July 30.” (Heather Drost, California Healthline, 2015.)