Author: Harper Dion
Posted Date: September 19, 2023
Scrutiny, waste, fraud, and confusion is unfortunately prevalent in the post-acute industry. Simultaneously, however, this industry is of utmost importance in providing essential care to the aging population. Caregivers that join the post-acute environment do so because of their unwavering dedication and passion to improving the lives of those in need. These caregivers’ efforts ultimately keep the aging population out of hospitals while providing them with a comfortable transition towards end-of-life. These selfless caregivers are often subject to burnout as the heavy scrutiny, regulation, and budget cuts increase documentational burden and back-office responsibilities. To avoid audits and scrutiny from CMS, caregivers are increasingly required to fulfil responsibilities in addition to their primary role, which increases burnout and stress, in some cases even taking priority over patient care.
As this alarming trend continues, it is essential for dedicated members of the industry to band together in unity. This passion-driven avenue of care is not just an afterthought for those discharged from hospitals, it is an essential aspect of life providing comfort and security to the aging population throughout their final chapter. This essential branch of care has only grown in popularity following the pandemic. As it becomes increasingly prevalent, so does the opportunity for scrutiny and cuts. Notable figures, providers, and entities must create positive advocacy in the industry to ensure the aging population receives the best possible caliber of guaranteed, continuous care.
The discussion of advocacy begins with the people of the industry making their voices heard. In the focus of positive change, industry members must stand with distinguished leaders, dedicated to uniting over the creation of positive impact. To do so, organizations like the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) materialize to assist in focusing efforts and amplifying impact.
NAHC is the leading professional association representing the interests of chronically ill, disabled, and dying Americans alongside the caregivers who provide them with essential home health and hospice services.1 “NAHC plays a central role in advocating for the interests of home care and hospice agencies, working to ensure that patients have access to high-quality, cost-effective care in their homes, and that providers can deliver these services in a supportive, regulatory and legislative environment,” said Kimberly Mulquin-Shumway, member of the NAHC advocacy board, and Director of Quality at Maxwell Healthcare Associates. The organization stands in support of home care and hospice providers, as well as private duty and state services. Furthermore, NAHC provides educational materials for the clarity of patients and families to navigate any trying times within post-acute environments. NAHC is the premier entity surrounding open support for home care and hospice agencies in the United States. Their non-profit resources and programs support over 30,000 entities and continue the fight for stronger conditions and support for caregivers and patients nationwide.1 The advocacy council within NAHC is the number one force petitioning CMS for reduced cuts and better overall consideration amid new legislation and regulation.
As an industry experiencing unprecedented growth in recent years, the post-acute environment is constantly subject to change and scrutiny as it grows into its own. Oftentimes, the public is vastly unaware of the importance and prevalence of these services. These essential programs need support from their constituents to remain able to grow and prosper amid regulatory scrutiny. Caregivers and professionals within post-acute care are the heartbeat that runs the industry, and with enough collaboration can be the deciding factor for growth and change. Unfortunately, the public sentiments surrounding advocacy is often one of hopelessness. Many people believe their voices are too small to make a difference but that is not the case, especially with a group as passionate as post-acute clinicians. In support of advocacy efforts, Kimberly Mulquin-Shumway said, "Healthcare advocacy is essential for safeguarding patient rights, improving access to care, enhancing the quality of healthcare services, influencing healthcare policy, empowering patients, and addressing ethical and public health issues. It plays a pivotal role in promoting a fair, equitable, and patient-centered healthcare system.” Efforts on the advocacy front have been successful in the past. Efforts channeled through NAHC have received many positive results, including the support of advanced telehealth provisions, and the passing of the Timely Access to Care Act. Furthermore, the NAHC Advocacy group introduced the Preserving Access to Home Health Act, and the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act.1
At MHA, we are proud to support a leading team of industry veterans from all walks of the post-acute field. With our vast roster of experience also comes a strong dedication to the importance of advocacy and the longevity of this essential branch of care. Comprehensive, protected care for the aging population has been viewed as a privilege in the past, but with strong awareness and advocacy it is shifting towards a right for seniors everywhere. It is imperative we continue to fight for improved quality of post-acute care. We will all be there one day, and we owe our seniors and ourselves the best possible outcomes as we approach the end of life. MHA stands in support of advocacy efforts across all facets of the post-acute environment. If you’d like to learn more about what we do, visit www.maxwellhca.com. To get involved with advocacy efforts visit www.nahc.org/advocacy/.
1. National Association for Home Care & Hospice. "Advocacy." Accessed September 8, 2023. https://nahc.org/advocacy/