November is Homecare and Hospice Month, a time to recognize the hard work and dedication of more than 1,800 home health, homecare and hospice agencies providing care to 405,000 Pennsylvania seniors and disabled residents.
Celtic Healthcare, headquartered in Mars, PA currently serves approximately 1,500 residents per day in their homes in the Pittsburgh and Western PA region, as well as Central and Northeastern PA and parts of Maryland.
While home health care may have started more than 100 years ago with a visiting nurse coming to a family’s home to change dressings, vaccinate children or to check on a sick mother, today’s industry has evolved into a high-tech, high-touch health care profession. Today, home health and hospices nurses use laptops to assess patients’ conditions, monitor vital signs remotely using telehealth devices and provide therapy at home for patients recovering from hip fractures or joint replacements.
“Today, we’re doing amazing things at home, and we’ve been extremely successful in helping people avoid unnecessary admission or readmission to the hospital,” comments Arnie Burchianti, CEO at Celtic Healthcare. “Our homecare and hospice nurses and therapists are also teachers. They help patients manage chronic conditions like CHF, COPD, and Diabetes so they can live as independently as possible.”
Recent trends show that health care is coming home. “Health care reform is all about providing more efficient and effective health care,” explains Burchianti. “That is what home health is. It is one-on-one care provided in an individual’s home. Whether we’re providing medical, personal or end-of-life care, receiving care in one’s home is less expensive and is preferred by most patients.”
Celtic Healthcare is a member of the Pennsylvania Homecare Association, a statewide organization of more than 425 homecare and hospice agencies providing quality care to the residents of Pennsylvania in their homes.
The group advocates for homecare patients and their families on a variety of issues. Currently, PHA is urging passage of the Family Caregiver Support Act (H.B. 210/S.B. 639), which would help families who are caring for loved ones. On the federal level, advocates are urging Congress to oppose a co-pay for home health services. “This co-pay would be a significant financial burden on seniors whose budgets are already tight,” said Burchianti. “And history has proven this to be an ineffective method of overall cost-reduction.”
“Celtic Healthcare is proud to join other homecare and hospice professionals who provide in-home services to advocate on behalf of our consumers, who many times are unable to speak for themselves,” added Burchianti.
Another company that is in the forefront when it comes to telehealth and telemedicine is HExL, Inc. Founded by investment banker and venture capitalist Rick Kimball, HExL aims to transform the US healthcare system from volume to value to be able to make a shift from the fee for service environment to value based reimbursement through a series of investments, consulting and board positions.