03 Aug House Calls for Seniors Cuts Medicare Costs
We were overjoyed to see that Medicare’s recent announcement in June 2015. When the idea of house calls was first presented, Medicare decided to launch the Independence at Home Demonstration Project, an initiative designed to find out whether bringing primary care directly into the home of was worth the effort.
“Home-based primary care allows health care providers to spend more time with their patients, perform assessments in a patient’s home environment, and assume greater accountability for all aspects of the patient’s care. This focus on timely and appropriate care is designed to improve overall quality of care and quality of life for patients served, while lowering health care costs by forestalling the need for care in institutional settings.
The Independence at Home Demonstration will build on these existing benefits by providing chronically ill patients with a complete range of primary care services in the home setting. Medical practices led by physicians or nurse practitioners will provide primary care home visits tailored to the needs of beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions and functional limitations.”
Just as we suspected, the project has proved to be a major success. Just last month, Medicare announced that services like ours have helped to save the federal government more than $25 million in its first of three years.
“House calls are starting to make a comeback amid a rapidly graying population, although they’re still rare. The idea: A doctor or nurse-practitioner, sometimes bringing along a social worker, makes regular visits to frail or homebound patients whose needs are too complex for a typical 15-minute office visit — and who have a hard time even getting to a physician’s office.
Today’s house calls can include high-tech equipment, including administering an EKG and on-the-spot tests for infections. Providers can use portable X-rays, check medicine bottles to tell if patients are taking their pills, spot tripping hazards, and peek in the kitchen to see if healthful food is on hand.
‘‘It helps you avoid the emergency situations,’’ said Naomi Rasmussen, whose 83-year-old father in Portland, Ore., is part of Medicare’s Independence at Home study.” Read more of this exciting news here