AARP endorses home care as patient preferred, cost effective

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WASHINGTON – The AARP came out firmly on the side of home care this month by endorsing two bills designed to keep patients at home and out of the hospital.

On June 4, the AARP gave its support to the “Empowered at Home Act” (H.R. 2688). This bill, sponsored by Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Diana DeGette, D-Co., would provide incentives and greater opportunities for states to expand access to home and community-based services. The AARP has also endorsed a bipartisan companion bill in the Senate sponsored by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

According to research by the AARP's Public Policy Institute, 89% of people 50-plus want to remain in their homes as they age. The AARP estimates that, on average, Medicaid can care for three people with home and community-based services for the same cost as one person in a nursing home.

On June 9, the AARP endorsed the “Medicare Transitional Care Act.” This bill is designed eliminate the thousands of preventable hospital readmissions that occur each year by providing coordinated followup care to Medicare beneficiaries through a team of caregivers. Such a benefit could help save some of the estimated $17 billion Medicare spends each year on preventable hospital readmissions and significantly reduce the 20% of people in Medicare who are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of their first visit, according to the AARP. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Charles Boustany, R-La., are sponsoring this bill.

The AARP has urged lawmakers to ensure that comprehensive healthcare reform includes a Medicare followup care benefit to help people safely return to their homes after a hospital stay, coordinate their healthcare needs and prevent unnecessary hospital readmissions.