Mid-January 2019
How Home Health Kept Linda Out of the Hospital
From the Executive Director
What are we doing differently? Are we making Vermonters’ lives better? How are we controlling costs? Those of us working on “health care reform” ask ourselves those questions every day. 

One of the greatest opportunities presented by the all-payer model is more flexibility to do what makes sense for real Vermonters, based on their individual needs. When home health agency leaders think about how we might use that flexibility, they think about people like Linda. 

Policy Updates
Federal Update
CMS is making progress on a new benefit for Medicare beneficiaries with serious chronic or advanced illness. The model would effectively extend palliative care services to these individuals, bridging a gap in coverage. 

The new benefit could bring many of the strengths of the Medicare hospice benefit to people who are still receiving treatment for their conditions and who are not yet at the end of their lives. It would allow home health agencies to deliver team-based care at aimed managing pain and distress, helping individuals function as well as possible with their condition, and reducing hospitalizations and emergency room visits. 

A memo recently released by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) confirms that such a model is being formally considered. This is very good news. Many individuals, not just those at the end of life, could benefit from a program that addresses their physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and cultural needs and preferences. We will follow progress on this program closely.
Vermont Update
The 2019 legislative session kicked off last Wednesday. Because it’s the first year of a new biennium, the first week was largely dedicated to ceremony, speeches, legislative committee assignments and the appointment of new committee chairs. One committee that has a big impact on home health and hospice agencies saw some significant changes. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee will now be chaired by Senator Virginia “Ginny” Lyons (replacing the now-retired Senator Claire Ayer). Senator Rich Westman will join the committee as vice-Chair. This is very good new; both are strong supporters of home health and hospice services. 
Educational Opportunities
Webinars and In-person Events
Second Thursday of each month | 3 to 4 p.m.
Select one from the series or save by attending six or 12.
Hosted by VNAs of Vermont

QI Scholars Initiative : Space Available
Began September 27 | 3 to 4 p.m.
CME/CEUs offered for this event
Hosted by VNAs of Vermont
10-month program
Webinars and in-person sessions

Jan. 30, Mar. 20 | 3 to 4 p.m.
Still left in the series:
Jan. 30: Pain and Symptom Management
Mar. 20: Methadone Use at End-of-Life
Hosted by VNAs of Vermont
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