This week a record number of attendees from VNAA member organizations met in Washington to kick off VNAA's 2014 Public Policy Leadership Conference (PPLC). This year's conference focused on current regulatory issues such as face-to-face documentation requirements while looking ahead to the future with sessions focused on how nonprofit home health and hospice providers can collaborate with accountable care organizations, opportunities in Medicaid managed care expansion and updates on the Independence at Home pilot program.
On Monday, Mary Ann Christopher, President and CEO, Visiting Nurse Services of New York and Chair, of VNAA's Public Policy Council welcomed attendees and outlined the agenda for the coming days. Monday's two keynote presentations included thought provoking discussion of avenues for home health and hospice to advance other innovations in healthcare. Frederick Isasi, Division Director at the Health Division of the National Governors Association, focused on the role home health and hospice can play in changing Medicaid delivery systems and reducing costs. Judy Murphy, Director of the Office of Clinical Quality and Safety and Chief Nursing Officer at Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, focused her presentation on how HIT plays into the six priorities of the National Quality Strategy.
Tuesday's keynote presenters again echoed the opportunity and desire for more partnerships in new business models for home health and hospice. Jim Pyles, Principal at Powers Pyles, Sutter & Verville PC discussed the independence at home model as a way for home health to position itself for future care of a large aging population. Jeff Myers CEO, Medicaid Health Plans of America, raised Medicaid opportunities for home health and hospice providers to serve vulnerable patients at all stages of life including wellness and preventative care.
Speakers Nancy Brown from the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Robert C. Wardwell from Robert C. Wardwell Health Policy Consulting and Joanne Cunningham, President, Home Care Association of New York State updated attendees on financial and regulatory issues impacting VNAA members. Brown detailed challenges in the auditing process and steps providers can take to avoid compliance problems. Wardwell and Cunningham covered the ongoing efforts to revise the face-to-face narrative documentation mandate.
Two sessions surveyed the current political landscape and the current priorities on healthcare policy. Paul Singer, Politics Editor of USA Today and Ceci Connolly, Managing Director at the Health Research Institute, PricewaterhouseCoopers discussed the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the upcoming mid-term elections. Advocacy and policy strategists Brian Reardon of Venn Strategies, Neleen Rubin of Rubin Health Policy and Lena O'Rourke of O'Rourke Strategies presented a look at current legislation of interest for VNAA members including the IMPACT Act.
PPLC concluded Tuesday night with a reception honoring four Congressional leaders and their advocacy on behalf of the nonprofit home health and hospice industry. The honorees included Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Representatives Diane Black (R-TN) and Paul Tonko (D-NY). The honorees were introduced by VNAA members from their states and all gave remarks praising providers for their commitment to quality, cost effective care that places patients first.