Central PA Medicine Fall 2017 - 12

daup h i n cm s .org
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Features

CHECK-UP TIME
for Consumer Choice & Home-Based Care

H

By TODD OWENS

istorically, healthcare patients and their loved ones have
been rendered passive about treatment and provider
options. Their input has been underutilized or even
excluded from choices about care in a system that's
been overcomplicated and less than transparent about safety, price
and quality data issues.

than 65 years will outnumber those younger than five years and the
population of people 80 and over will triple between 2010 and 2050.

As Americans age and live longer, an increasing number of people
will experience a chronic condition or, more likely, multiple ones.
Many experts forecast dire fiscal implications as a result. One,
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum
My, how times have changed! According to a recent study by and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, warns,
Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA), "consumer choice" "I cannot emphasize enough the budgetary problems facing the
is now a primary force changing healthcare in America. Today's U.S....we are on an unsustainable trajectory."
consumers especially younger ones are more savvy and skeptical.
They want to know what they're getting for their money. Along with
There's very little doubt that in-home healthcare provides a
clearly defined pricing, they also expect user-friendly interfaces, plus cost-saving measure. One example is cited by Dr. Steven Landers,
a variety of provider and product options that best suits their needs. CEO of VNA Health Group, who says a person who undergoes
surgery and is transitioned to home care for a month can expect
The American Public Health Association describes four con- a bill for about $1,200 as opposed to a $12,000 bill for a skilled
tingencies that must be met in order for quality information to nursing facility. While he notes that in some cases patients need a
influence consumer action and behavior. This chain of events range of medical help that only a nursing home can provide, "more
includes consumer awareness, knowledge, attitudes, and then a people can go home."
resulting change in behavior.
Choosing home-based care (principally home health and hospice
TREATING A CHRONIC FISCAL CONDITION
services) addresses not only the financial concerns of all parties
Perhaps the consumer choice trending with the broadest implications involved, but it can also have a positive impact on consumer safety,
is home-based care. We all know that the "graying of America" is satisfaction and transitioning as patient needs evolve.
a very real phenomenon. Studies tell us that by 2019, people older
12 Fall 2017 Central PA Medicine


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