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Public Statements

Protecting Access to High Quality and Cost Effective Healthcare Services

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. AMODEI. Mr. Speaker, true healthcare reform will lower costs, improve care, provide greater patient choice, and increase access to care for all Americans. Congress missed an opportunity in 2010 to achieve these goals in the extensive legislation enacted by Democrats. As a result, we must go back to the drawing board and consider real options to address the rising costs in our healthcare system. As we pursue these goals, we should look to solutions that have already been effective in reducing costs and meeting the needs of patients.

Skilled home healthcare is one example of the type of effective care that Congress should protect. In 1972, the US Department of Veterans Affairs established the Home Based Primary Care Program (HBPC) in order to meet the needs of its growing population of chronically ill veterans. This program established a novel and creative model of care for the VA's growing population of chronically ill Veterans--providing skilled and high quality care to these patients, and promoting their independence by providing this care to patients in their own homes.

The results of this program have been remarkable. Studies show that this program has provided high quality care and resulted in great satisfaction among patients. What is truly impressive, though, is that this program resulted in a substantial reduction in nursing home stays and hospitalizations for its program participants. The HBPC has achieved a 62 percent reduction in inpatient hospital days and an 88 percent reduction in nursing home days, achieving a 24 percent REDUCTION IN TOTAL COSTS.

I am not aware of any reform to our healthcare system or to Medicare that has ever achieved similar results. We must reform the Medicare program because it is not solvent in its current form, and will reach insolvency by 2024. As we consider reform to the Medicare program, I believe that we should be incentivizing cost-effective and high quality services that show results. I urge my colleagues to look to the success of the HBPC at the Veterans Administration as a possible model for how Medicare can provide high quality care and lower costs.

Forty years of data from the HBPC program proves that many medical treatments that were once offered only in a hospital or a physician's office are now being safely, effectively, and much more cost-efficiently provided in patients' homes. These services are typically less expensive, more convenient, and as effective as care provided in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. The success of the Home Based Primary Care program at the VA is evidence that skilled home healthcare not only is good for seniors, but also good for taxpayers. Mr. Speaker, skilled home healthcare is an asset that we need to fully utilize in order to further reduce costs in our Nation's healthcare system. As Congress works to improve our healthcare delivery system, we should avoid changes to the Medicare program that would limit patient access to proven and cost effective services like skilled home healthcare.


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