Serving the home health, home care and hospice industry since 1999.
Dear Healthcare at Home Colleague,
We at Home Care Technology Report join with our thousands of readers who are marking the passing of the first and only president of the National Association for Home Care, Val J. Halamandaris. Val's death truly signifies the end of an era, one of only two eras our healthcare niche has ever known. The first spanned from the birth of Medicare in 1965 to Val's founding of NAHC in 1982; the second from 1982 to Val's departure last week. No one since Lyndon Johnson has had as significant an impact on seniors in need of care. Looking forward, it is unlikely that any future era, including the one that begins now, will be defined by one man as the first two eras were.
This is my hope, that this new era will be defined by not one but instead by many Healthcare at Home leaders, thinking and acting as one. Imagine the benefit to the frail elderly population, those who originally inspired Val, if all the men and women whose compassion and dedication have driven them to the top of their provider organizations, or their state and national associations, were able to come together and represent us to Congress, MedPAC, Managed Care Organizations, and the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services with a single, unified voice.
As one whose own Medicare card is not even wrinkled and dog-eared yet, I watch with great interest — and dismay — as rifts within the party currently in power in Washington keep them from making any improvements in the national healthcare system. Casting my gaze closer to home, I see similar rifts among our Healthcare at Home leaders. Like a prism, these rifts take one message — in-home care means better outcomes at lower costs — and diffuse it among multiple voices, each one a weak substitute for the whole.
Imagine the strength that would result if leaders of trade and advocacy associations for hospice, for-profit home health, not-for-profit home health, Medicaid-focused home health, non-medical home care, pediatric home care, and all who purport to speak to legislators and regulators for Healthcare at Home providers and their patients, would speak to each other.
Imagine them sitting down as equals, like knights at a round table. Maybe they would agree to check their egos at the door. To keep them focused on their lofty goal, the meeting room walls surrounding the round table would be covered with photos of octogenarians with multiple co-morbidities. Does there exist in our community a King Arthur type who could call such a meeting and then step away from power and submit himself or herself to the consensus of the knights? If not a king, is there an inspirational mediator who is respected by those who may not respect each other? Perhaps he or she will soon step forward.
Or perhaps I am asking too much. Possibly. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. And it is not in our nature to dream small, to accept the status quo as if it were immutable. It never is. I invite you to dream big with me. 3D, iMax, Technicolor dreams in full Dolby surround sound. There are 76 million Baby Boomers counting on all state and national associations to keep in-home care a viable, thriving sector of our complex national healthcare system so that it will be there when they need it. As one of them, I look forward to this third chapter and stand ready to help you shape it.
Tim Rowan, Editor