Reps. Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) and Allyson Schwartz (D-13th District) announced they have succeeded in their fight to continue a healthcare program on which nearly 1,000 seniors depend. The program, Health Quality Partners, also employs 15 nurses and providers who would have been laid off had the program's funding not been restored.
For nearly a decade, Health Quality Partners in Doylestown has cared for chronically-ill seniors, helping manage their conditions through a model they helped pioneer, which involves coordinating care and developing long-term relationships between nurses, doctors, hospitals and patients.
But this past Christmas, program operators learned that the Medicare funding for this program would be terminated despite HQP's demonstrated success in reducing hospitalizations and lowering costs for seniors at higher risk.
Dozens of seniors who depend on the program contacted the two representatives, asking them to intervene and keep HQP's doors open. They did and after months of fighting, HQP has received word from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the program's sponsor, that they will be allowed to continue operations. In the upcoming extension, HQP will expand services to higher risk Medicare beneficiaries in southeastern Pennsylvania.
"Keeping Health Quality Partners open means that seniors stay healthier and that 15 healthcare providers who would have lost their jobs remain employed," Congressman Murphy said.
In his remarks, Murphy told of one woman who wrote to him after the news broke that HQP would be terminated and asked him to intervene. Eighty-seven year old Elenora from Sellersville has participated in the program for eight years. She suffers from cardiovascular disease and said she wanted the program to stay open because it keeps her healthy and, as she wrote, "I'm just not ready to relinquish my zeal for living."
Before HQP came into her life, Elenora said she was a frequent visitor to Grandview Hospital's emergency room. She credited the care and monitoring of HQP providers as the reason that people at the hospital now recognize her only for her volunteer work there -- not as a patient.
"Dr. Ken Coburn and his team at Health Quality Partners are improving patient care, keeping our seniors healthy, and reducing costs all at the same time," Congresswoman Schwartz said. "I advocated for Medicare to continue investing in this program because it is the most successful of its kind in the nation at both improving health outcomes for seniors and reducing costs. I am thrilled that Medicare has announced that Health Quality Partners will be used as a national model for care coordination, and that it will be available to more seniors in Southeastern Pennsylvania very soon."
Doylestown Hospital President and CEO Richard A. Reif is a longtime supporter of the groundbreaking program. "HQP is a roadmap for improving care for seniors," Reif said. "The value of a community-based effort, supported by hospitals, physicians and nurses, can be demonstrated by the data but it is first experienced by the patients who enjoy better health.
"Doylestown Hospital, Health Quality Partners and our patients are appreciative of the support and insight offered by Reps. Murphy and Schwartz and their staffs in fighting to continue the demonstration, prove its sustainability and produce excellent health outcomes."
The Representatives were joined at the press conference by Dr. Ken Coburn, the President and Medical Director of HQP, as well as seniors participating in the program. Helen Colgan, a senior from Doylestown, thanked Reps. Murphy and Schwartz for saving a program that has been integral in keep her healthy. Helen said she has successfully managed her chronic thyroid condition and avoided hospitalization thanks to HQP's guidance on preventive care and disease management.
Health Quality Partners (HQP) is a not-for-profit health care quality research and development organization dedicated to improving population health outcomes through advanced care coordination and health system redesign. HQP has developed an effective community-based model of advanced care management that improves health outcomes, longevity, and costs for chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries working in collaboration with primary care physicians, specialists and hospitals.