Ron Wyden Talks Home Health--Specifically, VNAs

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) spoke last week at a typically Washington, D.C. health briefing sponsored by National Journal. Wyden is Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee and a long time progressive advocate for health care reform. His remarks focus on "four major reforms in the next 50 years." His first likely reform is that Medicaid and Medicare will lead a revolution in caring for people at home. He mentions "non-medical" programs to "provide nutrition, fix floorboards and do things like mold checks" to keep people out of the hospital.

During Q&A with the moderator, Wyden states that home care is the best platform for getting into long-term care (LTC). He cited the Federal Independence at Home (IAH) and Veterans' Affairs programs as "other governmental efforts" to make an impact on LTC needs. While IAH is a physician-led home-based care model, Wyden clearly continues to support these models and the role of our providers.

Finally, during Q&A from the audience, Wyden is asked if he has a preferred home care model. The question presents two models for "home services" - one "private sector model" with unskilled workers without benefits and with long hours and the other, "the visiting nurse associations' model" - highly trained, non-profit. Wyden responds by noting his preference for the visiting nurse model and notes that it is much better and a basic matter of fairness for workers.


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