The Choose Home Care Act of 2021 has been tabled for now, but this groundbreaking bill may introduce lots of changes to how home care agencies operate and care for patients in post-acute care.
If it passes, nursing home-eligible Medicare beneficiaries will have more options on how they recover after hospital stays, including home care, skilled nursing at home, and telehealth. But should your agency prepare for Choose Home, even if it’s not guaranteed to pass and be put into law? That’s a great question. Get the details in this blog.
What Is The Choose Home Care Act of 2021?
As with more legislation, the Choose Home Care Act of 2021 is rather complex. But it boils down to this – since home care has been proven to be a great alternative to nursing homes and Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), lawmakers have proposed an expansion to Medicare.
This expansion to Medicare payments would mean that qualifying patients would be able to choose between stays at SNFs, or use a mix of home care, skilled at-home nursing and physical therapy, and telehealth as they recover from a hospital stay.
Essentially, this means that the role of home care agencies could be expanded quite a bit. But the catch is that the priority would be given only to certain “Choose Home” agencies that meet specific requirements. Because of this, you may be wondering if preparing for the Choose Home Care Act of 2021 is really worth it.
Should My Agency Prepare For The Choose Home Care Act?
Some home care agencies are preparing for the Choose Home Care Act already, taking steps to prepare their business, and ensuring that it will be easier to qualify as a Choose Home agency if the bill passes. And this is not a bad plan, since the act could be a major tailwind for home care agencies. However, there’s no guarantee that it will pass through Congress, despite strong bipartisan support.
If you have the capital to do so and you believe in the bill – or you believe that it’s only a matter of time before a similar bill is passed – preparing your agency could have major financial rewards if the legislation is passed. A few steps you could take to prepare could include:
- Prepare for an influx of clients – If the Choose Home Care Act does pass, this opens up a whole new market for home care agencies. It’s a good idea to make sure you have a strong network of caregivers, as well as scheduling software like CareConnect that will make it easier to fill your schedule.
- Be ready to expand into nursing services – Since Choose Home will allow Medicaid dollars to be spent on skilled nursing at home, expanding into skilled nursing services can help you turn your home care agency into a “one-stop shop,” which offers both traditional home caregiving and more skilled care that patients may need after being discharged from hospitals.
- Network with local hospitals – Expanding your relationship with local hospitals may be critical for success if the Choose Home Care Act passes. Home care agencies will be working closely with hospitals after patients are discharged, and your agency could get higher priority if they have relationships with nearby local hospitals and medical facilities.
However, if you are less willing to risk it, waiting for the bill to pass may be a wise decision. In either case, you should perform a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threats) analysis to determine your position in your local market.
You should also collect data on your own operations to assess your readiness, and study competing home care agencies to learn more about their unique position in your market. Whether or not you choose to prepare for the Choose Home Care Act of 2021, this data can be used to improve your operations, drive results, and prepare for the future of home care.
Empower Yourself With Workforce Optimization Through CareConnect
Whether or not you decide to prepare your agency for the Choose Home Care Act of 2021, CareConnect can help you optimize your workforce and improve your agency. Even if the act doesn’t pass, you can use our data and information to enhance your services and your position in the local market. Contact us now to schedule a demo and learn more about what we have to offer.