VNAA and AHHQI Submit Response to Washington Post Article
On April 29, the Washington Post published an article titled, "Hospital discharge: It's one of the most dangerous periods for patients." The article features the story of Joyce Oyler, a home health patient who died after receiving the wrong medication, and highlights the sometimes difficult transition from hospital to home health care. In response, VNAA and the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (AHHQI) submitted the following Letter to the Editor.
The April 29 article “Hospital discharge: It’s one of the most dangerous periods for patients” sheds light on important quality and patient safety issues in the care transition from hospital to home.
Federal initiatives are propelling home health quality and performance improvement. Home health quality measures have long been publicly reported and the Medicare program has even begun to assign agencies star ratings for quality and patient experience. On January 1, Medicare also began to test a home health value based purchasing model, tying payment to performance.
These initiatives are a start, but your article accurately underscores the need for policymakers, home health agencies, hospitals, and patient advocates to collaborate in addressing gaps. Health information technology can potentially enable coordination of care, but home health agencies were not eligible for federal funding in this area. We can and must address policy gaps to improve care transitions, prevent medication errors and avoid unnecessary hospital readmissions.
Recognizing the importance of care transitions, the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) and the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation have identified and disseminated evidence-based practices and tools for home health agencies to use in quality and patient safety improvement efforts. The VNAA Blueprint for Excellence and the Alliance’s home health model for care transitions emphasize medication reconciliation and management as components of an effective care transition, and provide free tools and resources for agencies to use.
Executive Director, Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation
President and CEO, Visiting Nurse Associations of America