Letter sent to state legislators citing physician survey

The Alliance sent an email to all state legislators announcing the results of a survey of Massachusetts physicians who overwhelmingly believe that home health provides multiple advantages to improving care and reducing costs without compromising outcomes.

The survey was conducted by the Massachusetts Medical Society in collaboration with the Home Care Alliance and represents one of the few efforts to learn more about the under-examined area of physician use of home health services such as skilled nursing care, physical and occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, and medical social services provided in the home.

The email to state lawmakers briefly summarized the results while drawing special attention to the barriers physicians noted get in the way of accessing home health services for their patients. The message to legislators also asks that, as the state looks to contain costs, home health is given the attention it deserves within the Massachusetts healthcare system.

See the letter text below:

Recently, an important healthcare study was completed that demonstrates how Massachusetts patients and their families, as well as taxpayers, can save money. The survey, which was conducted by the Massachusetts Medical Society in collaboration with our organization, the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts, analyzed physicians’ attitudes and utilization of home health care services.

The results of the survey, enclosed for your convenience, represent one of the few efforts to learn more about the under-examined area of physician use of home health services such as skilled nursing care, physical and occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, and medical social services provided in the home. In addition to some important findings concerning caregiver stress, disparities in home health utilization between primary care doctors and specialists, and support for telehealth, the survey also found that:

  • Nearly 90 percent of responding physicians believe home health services can reduce inpatient hospital admissions,
  • 63 percent say home health care can reduce emergency room visits,
  • 78 percent reported better patient compliance with care plans, and
  • 97 percent say home health services help them better manage their patients’ care at home.

I invite you to review the enclosed materials, as well as a NECN story on the study results. I would like to draw your attention to the barriers mentioned in the results as well. Home health care saves money by keeping patients out of the hospital, emergency room and nursing home, yet 53 percent of physicians reported they had to prolong a patient’s stay due to lack of access to services. As the state looks to contain health care costs wherever possible, our hope is that you ensure home health plays a prominent role in the Commonwealth’s health care system.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or to request more information. To find home care providers in your district, you can visit our website, www.thinkhomecare.org.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

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