Accountable Care Organizations and Private Duty Home Care

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posted by Ryan Whittington on February 28, 2012

The Health Care industry in the United States is undergoing a transformation in the way in which it operates and the mechanism through which it serves the people. Some of the changes include formation of ACO’s or Accountable Care Organizations that bring together health care providers to provide services for which the reimbursements are linked to quality metrics and the savings in the cost of care for the targeted population of patients. Further, the provision of home health care services like medication reminders, dementia/Alzheimer’s care and continued companionship are slowly changing the way in which health care is provided and managed in the US.   Though some of these changes were being conceptualized earlier, the passage of the Affordable Care Act has provided an impetus to drive these services.

The ACO and private duty home care model works on the quality metrics or the savings that results the service provided. It is important to note that provision of any service to patients that reduce the overall costs of providing health care to the patients is a positive outcome. Considering the fact that the ACO and private duty home care industry is estimated to be a $140 Billion business, it is no wonder that the ACO’s are concentrating on improving the home care services aspect.

By providing services like medication reminders, home care of people suffering from dementia and providing trained and compassionate personnel for continued companionship, the ACO and private duty home care providers are creating a win-win situation for the patients as well as themselves. The elderly need someone who they can talk to and also be a source of succor in their old age. And good bedside manners go a long way in improving the chances of recovery for patients. Further, the cost of treating patients at home spread over the patient population that the ACO and private duty home care caters to is substantially less than extended hospital stays.

Medication reminders are a cost effective way of reducing the risk associated with patients not taking their medication on time which might lead to complications and deterioration of their condition. Further, the chances of recovery are enhanced because of the quality of the care provided by the home care providers. By providing dementia and Alzheimer’s care, the ACO and private duty home care providers significantly improve the quality of life that the patient enjoys and hence reduce the chances of hospitalization or accidents arising from forgetfulness and memory loss which is a sign of the condition. By providing continued companionship, the ACO and private duty home care providers increase the well being of the patients by offering much needed psychological and emotional support.

Since ACO’s work according to a business model that ties in their reimbursements to the outcomes of their services, any service that improves the outcomes is indeed beneficial to the ACO and private duty home care providers. With the critical success factor being the accountability to the quality, cost and overall care of Medicare beneficiaries, the ACO and private duty home care providers need to focus on these specific factors.

The provision of medication reminders greatly reduces the need for the patients to visit the hospital frequently and hence lowers the overall cost to the ACO. With the personalized care provided to dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, the ACO and private duty home care providers increase the quality of the health care administered to patients. Finally, continued companionship improves the overall care of the beneficiaries and enhances their quality of life.

To conclude, provision of home care services indeed improves the outcomes associated with Accountable Care Organizations.

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