Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Cost of Care, Part 4

The fourth part of the Dallas Morning News’ five part series called “The Cost of Care” covered home health agencies in Texas and the soaring amount of spending on home health care in the state. You can access the series here.

The article once again aims to examine the fine line between the need for home health agencies and the great services they provide and the abuses of the system and its patients, which can account for a part of the huge increase in costs. It also points to decreases in Medicaid reimbursement rates that some have suggested as a solution to these abuses.

It seems unwise to cut reimbursement across the board for a very necessary service that does much good for patients in order to end some abuses to the system, especially because home care can, in many instances, decrease the cost of care since patients can be treated outside the hospital. Perhaps Texas should re-examine instituting a certificate of need statute as one possible part of the solution.

CHRISTUS HomeCare services are available in Texas, Louisiana and Utah, and we are continuing to invest in those necessary programs. I have blogged before about how we have been realigning our portfolio from its heavy focus on acute care to include one-third non-acute care and one-third international operations because of the trends we’re seeing in our industry and the culture worldwide.

In fact, we continue to believe that advances in technology like remote monitoring devices may make home care services less costly and more effective in the future. They are already assisting us in provide high quality home care today.

Yes, home health care is an important part of the CHRISTUS ministry, and therefore we believe it should remain an important part of the health care fabric in our country.

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