February 02, 2005

Crapo Sees Role For Home Health CareIn Chronic Illness

Senator addresses national homecare conference

Washington, DC - Home care health treatment can play a key role alongside traditional health care facilities in the fight against chronic illness, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo told a national conference on health care issues today in Washington, DC. Crapo, who founded the Congressional Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Caucus on Capitol Hill, was invited to speak before the American Association for Homecare Conference.During his speech, Crapo said the federal government should take better note of the benefits to patients presented by home health care options. â??Most acute-care services for the elderly are expended for evaluation and treatment of acute aggravations of an underlying chronic condition,â?? Crapo said. â??The episodes can be managed better given access to effective outpatient services-home care being the most obvious service.â??Crapo said awareness of preventive measures could improve the health of seniors and save money for both seniors and taxpayers contributing to health care costs. He said treatment of COPD ailments such as emphysema and chronic asthma were good examples of the need for such review measures.â??COPD accounts for over $18 billion annually in direct medical costs,â?? Crapo added. â??Annual per capita expenditures for Medicare beneficiaries with COPD are 2.5 times higher than those without COPD. The World Health Organization estimates that by 2020, COPD will rank as the disease causing the fifth-highest major public health burden nationwide. Currently, it is 12th on that list.â?? Crapo also points to statistics showing that while death rates related to coronary heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases have fallen by up to two-thirds in the last 35 years, the COPD death rate has risen by 163%.Crapo said part of the mission of his Congressional COPD Caucus would be to demonstrate to the public and the medical community at large the true value home care provides in reducing spending costs and effectively treating patients. He called for federal officials and programs like Medicare to pay more attention to innovative programs, such as some of those in the home health care field, because federal spending plays such an integral role in the direction of health care programs. He added payment procedures for the use of inhalation drugs may be inadequate under the newly revised guidelines. # # #