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The Growing Need for Home-Based Primary Care

Website provided by Home Centered Care Institute

The statistics are shocking – 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day, and by 2030, the number of Americans over 65 will have grown by 75 percent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that close to 86 percent of individuals age 65 and older have one or more chronic disease. Medically complex patients, including these older, chronically ill Americans, currently consume up to half of our total healthcare costs, and their ranks are growing.

Healthcare is advancing rapidly to address these demographic shifts, from novel diagnostic technology to transformative chronic disease treatments. But as we continue to push into this future, it’s important to remember those who can easily get left behind.

With an estimated two million people in the U.S. completely or mostly homebound – and an additional two million who are frail, chronically ill or functionally limited – a significant population struggles to access these advancements. In fact, only 12 percent of current homebound patients can receive primary care services at home.

In this changing landscape, the healthcare system needs to advance toward these patients – not turn away from them.

This is where home-based primary care (HBPC) makes a real difference. HBPC is a care model that brings the expertise of physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants directly to the patient in the comfort and convenience of their own home.

For older, chronically ill Americans and other medically complex patients who have difficulty traveling, home-based primary care increases access to care, improves medical outcomes, enhances patient and family experience, and reduces healthcare spending. Without home-based services, these patients often fail to schedule or keep appointments, are noncompliant with medications or other treatments and rely heavily on emergency care.

And providers also benefit from fortified relationships with their patients. HBPC physicians find the relationships developed in the homes of patients and their family members rich and rewarding, and enjoy hearing their patients’ stories, gaining a better understanding of their environment, and learning more about what matters most to them. It’s a two-way dialogue that cultivates deeper understanding, empathy and, ultimately, better care

Yet, home-based primary care providers are in short supply. The Home Centered Care Institute (HCCI) estimates there are only 1,000 providers in the U.S. making most of the home-based primary care visits.

In this changing environment, HCCI is dedicated to engaging current and future home-based primary care providers by equipping them with the education and training they need to be a part of this pioneering effort to change how healthcare is provided to medically complex patients best cared for in the home.

To help meet this goal of growing the HBPC workforce, HCCI recently launched the HCCI Centers of Excellence (COEs) for Home-Based Primary Care, a first-of-its-kind, CME-accredited program featuring the only comprehensive HBPC curriculum in the U.S.

The HCCI Essential Elements of Home-Based Primary Care program is available for physicians and other healthcare professionals interested in establishing, growing, or joining a house call program. The goal is to educate 5,000 healthcare professionals over the next five years through COE programming offered at HCCI’s nationwide network of eight partner institutions, which include leading academic centers and health systems such as the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, among others.

The curriculum, which was developed by nationally recognized home-based primary care thought leaders, focuses on the economics and operations, as well as the clinical aspects, of patient care. The year-long program begins with a two-day training course followed by a mini-fellowship and group mentorship. Additional learning opportunities will be available through HCCI’s online learning system, HCCI University.

Physicians do not need to be affiliated with the COE institution to participate in the training, and can visit the HCCI website learn more about the COEs or to register for an upcoming training.