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Looking Back on a Landmark Year for VNAA

On behalf of the VNAA Board of Directors and staff, I write to express sincere gratitude to each of our outstanding members for supporting VNAA and believing in the deep importance of our mission. It has been a pleasure to serve you over the past year, and I look forward to the many opportunities we'll have to work together in 2016.

Among the many exciting developments to look forward to in the New Year are VNAA's newly announced partnership with the Alliance for Home Health Improvement and Innovation and the release of VNAA's 2016-2018 Strategic Plan.

As we say goodbye to 2015, we can reflect on what your support allowed VNAA to accomplish.

Strategic Planning

Throughout 2015, VNAA's Board of Directors and Strategic Planning Committee worked to establish a new strategic plan to guide VNAA's activities across 2016-2018 on behalf of home-based care providers. Announced to members on December 21, the new strategic plan will guide transformation of home-based care through advancing quality, value and innovation. The new goals and priorities include initiatives to lead home-based care innovation in value-based health care delivery models, membership growth and brand expansion for VNAA.  Members will receive additional details on the new plan in early January including many exciting new member benefits and services.

Policy, Innovation and Legislative Affairs

2015 was action-packed year for home-based care policy. VNAA and our membership can celebrate a number of significant achievements, including:

  • Introduction of bi-partisan legislation in the U.S. Senate to resolve the significant and deleterious consequences of Medicare's implementation of the face-to-face documentation requirements. This legislation provides retrospective relief and a more streamlined and fair approach to documentation moving forward. VNAA is working closely with the U.S. House of Representatives to have companion legislation introduced early in 2016.
  • In a truly collaborative, multi-stakeholder process, VNAA, along with colleagues representing beneficiaries, other providers, private payers and others, successfully advocated for Medicare to cover advance care planning consultations for Medicare beneficiaries. This is the first step in a number of reforms that VNAA is advocating for to ensure that individuals have the right medical, social, and spiritual support when experiencing advanced illness. In 2016, we will continue to advance legislation to improve provider training in hospice and palliative care and advocate for coverage of palliative care concurrently with curative care.
  • Successfully opposed more significant cuts to home health reimbursement. Home health has been hammered in recent years by payment cuts. This year, policymakers attempted to advance more significant cuts through a post-acute care value-based purchasing program and an excessive and unwarranted case-mix adjustment. VNAA fought successfully to halt or reduce the payment reductions.
  • Advanced a more rational and fair hospice payment model. VNAA successfully supported updates to the hospice payment model that better align payment with resource use, resulting in increased payment for short hospice stays while reducing the incentive to enroll individuals who may not yet be ready for hospice and who ultimately have long stays.
  • VNAA launched the VNAA Healthcare Transformation e-Toolkit, the industry's first one-stop shop for care delivery and payment innovation resources. The Toolkit provides education on emerging care delivery and payment models and provides tools for home-based care provides to use to assess their role in a changing healthcare environment.

Quality and Performance Improvement

VNAA continued to develop best practice information and resources to support members in continuously improving quality throughout 2015. VNAA also advocated for performance measures and public reporting that accurately reflects the high quality, person-centered care delivered by our members. 

  • Met regularly with leadership of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to discuss concerns with and improvements to Home Health Compare and Star Ratings, and the Hospice Quality Reporting System.
  • Rolled out several new modules of the VNAA Blueprint for Excellence.  We convened members to interest and share base practices, and combined these expert recommendations with evidence based guidelines to develop several new modules. 
    • VNAA's Blueprint for Excellence modules on Congestive Heart Failure and COPD address clinical standards, patient education and teaching, symptom management, and other home health approaches to managing these complex conditions.
    • The new VNAA Blueprint for Excellence Hip and Knee Joint Replacement module provides timely information to assist members with the new CMS Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement value based purchasing program.  The module covers development of a fast track program, partnering with referring organizations, and clinical interventions to ensure high quality outcomes. 
  • Actively participated in the National Quality Forum's Measures Advisory Panel workgroup on Long Term Care and Post-Acute Care, advocating for adoption of measures in CMS programs that accurately reflect the populations served and quality care provided by home-based care agencies.
  • Educated members on draft performance measures under development by CMS and its contractors and submitted comments during the development process. These include IMPACT Act measures such as Discharge to Community, Potentially Preventable Admissions, and Drug Regimen Review.
  • Lead continuous improvements in consistent clinical practices in the home health and hospice industry by launching the Hospice and Palliative Care Procedure Manual and promoting the updated VNAA Clinical Procedure Manual.
  • Convened a Work Group on 5-Star Operational Best Practices to help members share strategies for improving quality to achieve 5-Star Status on Home Health Compare and will launch a 5-Star Best Practice website in early 2016.
  • Promoted the voice of home health by nominating VNAA members to Technical Expert Panels, accreditation organization advisory panels and other national opportunities, and highlighted innovative member practices through VNAA's Voice, our column in Home Healthcare Now.

Events and Education

Annual Meeting

VNAA's 33rd Annual Meeting in New Orleans, La. in April 2015 was an outstanding success with more attendees than any other recent meeting. The continued growth of VNAA's Annual Meeting is testament to the high quality educational programming, networking opportunities and exhibit hall resources. Lively keynote sessions on Managed Care Partnerships and Community Partnerships with Nontraditional Partnerships were key highlights of the event. Members may access slide presentations for all keynote and breakout sessions here.

VNAA also honored its 2015 National Award winners at the Annual Meeting. The following awards were presented:

  • Outstanding Agency Leader: Norene Mostkoff, HCI Care Services & VNS of Iowa;
  • Outstanding Clinician: Erin O'Rourke, Ridgefield VNA;
  • Outstanding Innovation Leader: Adele Pike, VNA Care Network Foundation and Subsidiaries;
  • Outstanding Quality Team: VNA Care Network Foundation and Subsidiaries; and
  • Outstanding Volunteer: Mindy Minerva, VNA Health Group Foundation Board of Trustees.

In additional to the great peer networking opportunities, Annual Meeting attendees had the opportunity to network with over 75 vendors of products and services to home health and hospice providers in the exhibit hall.

We hope that you'll join us for VNAA's 2016 Annual Meeting, April 6-8 at the Hyatt Regency Miami.

Public Policy Leadership Conference

Over 120 attendees, a record number of VNAA members, convened in Washington, D.C. this September for VNAA's Public Policy Leadership Conference, which highlighted key policy and legislative issues impacting home health and hospice providers. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) delivered the keynote address, providing a policymaker's perspective on the current health policy landscape. Sean Cavanaugh, from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, later provided a regulatory perspective.

VNAA honored several Congressional Champions for their contributions to mission-driven home health and hospice, including Reps. David McKinley (R-W.V.) and Blumenauer, as well as Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). Kathy Keough, of VNA Care Network Foundation, was honored as VNAA's 2015 Outstanding Public Policy Advocate of the Year.

The 2016 Public Policy Leadership Conference will be held Sept. 14-15 in Washington, D.C. at the Washington Court Hotel.

Financial Leadership Summit

In November, VNAA's annual Financial Leadership Summit convened in conjunction with LeadingAge's Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass. The topic of the Summit, "Financial Considerations for Today's Home-Based Care Providers," Highlighted presentations from William Simione, III (Simione Consulting), Mark Sharp (BKD Consulting), Richard Gundling (Healthcare Financial Management Association), Patrick Brown (Penn Care at Home), and Lillian Hummel (Avalere Health).

In 2016, VNAA will partner with the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation for two regional meetings. The first, June 22-23 in Cincinnati, Ohio, will highlight Executive Leadership training for home-based care providers.. The second regional meeting, scheduled for October 2016, will comprise the annual Financial Leadership Summit.

VNAA Manual of Hospice and Palliative Care

In April of 2015, VNAA launched the first edition of its all new publication, the VNAA Manual of Hospice and Palliative Care. This manual contains procedures specific to the needs of hospice and palliative care providers.

VNAA Clinical Procedure Manual, 19th Ed.

In early 2015, VNAA launched the 19th edition of its Clinical Procedure Manual, the most comprehensive procedure manual for home health and hospice care providers. The Manual was first introduced nearly 30 years ago, and continues to be a beacon in the industry, with a variety of packages available that can be scaled to fit any size organization.

Education@VNAA

Thanks to a financial contribution by CHAP, VNAA was able to launch a new online learning platform, Education@VNAA, to provide on-demand continuing education to home health and hospice providers on a variety of topics. The site serves as a repository for a variety of resources, to include recordings of member calls and webinars. We hope you'll avail yourself of the vast information that is available in this site.

Nonprofit Industry Research Database

Finally, VNAA's Nonprofit Industry Research Database is heading into its second year. The Advisory Board has met monthly to establish a metrics dashboard and research project agenda designed to support VNAA's strategic goals. Thirty-four VNAA member agencies now contribute data to the database with additional agencies joining weekly.  Data from this important new initiative has been used to develop comments to CMS on issues related to discharge planning and development of Medicaid access standards for home-based care. Please contact Eileen Grande at egrande@vnaa.org to enroll your organization in this complimentary member benefit.

Membership

In 2015, the VNAA membership program grew to include more than 140 non-profit home-based care providers, 22 state associations, 4 individual members and 29 corporate partner organizations providing an incredible range of benefits and services to the home-based care industry. VNAA membership spans all regions of the United States, with representation in 37 states. At the local level, VNAA's state association members meet monthly to discuss top industry topics, including policy, legislative, regulatory and operational issues.

Please join VNAA in welcoming the  new 2015 members:

Affiliate

  • Allina Health Home Health
  • CentraCare Health Home Care & Hospice
  • FirstHealth Home Care
  • Harbors Home Health and Hospice
  • Trinity Home Health Service
  • Union Hospital Home Health Agency
  • Visiting Nurse Services of Connecticut
  • Visiting Nurse Association of Indiana County
  • VNA of Texas

Associate

  • 5 Star Consultants, LLC
  • American Red Cross
  • Blackbaud
  • Epstein Becker Green
  • Home Health Strategic Management
  • Kinnser Software
  • Simione Healthcare Consultants

State Association
 

  • Homecare Association of Louisiana
  • Illinois Homecare & Hospice Council    
  • Kansas Home Care Association  
  • Maryland-National Capital Homecare Association
  • Midwest Care Alliance
  • Nebraska Association of Home & Community Health Agencies       
  • West Virginia Council of Home Care Agencies

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