Lynn C. Jones, FACHE, president of Christiana Care Visiting Nurse Association, begins a two-year term as chairman of the board of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) in June. The VNAA is the national association for nonprofit, community-based home health and hospice organizations who care for and treat approximately 4 million patients each year.
As board chair, Jones says he will concentrate much of his effort on three key goals for the association.
First is to “build the case” and articulate the special needs and costs necessary to provide care for the most vulnerable patients. To that end, Christiana Care VNA has participated in a detailed study to better understand these factors.
“We participated in a study with nine other agencies, spearheaded by the VNAA and supported by the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, to identify and quantify the impact of these patient characteristics,” Jones says. “With this information, VNAA will work with MedPAC and CMS as they revamp the reimbursement mechanism for home health services, to better match payment with the actual cost of care. This will in turn provide needed financial support for those ‘safety net home health agencies’ who accept all patients for care, without regard to ability to pay or complexity of care required.”
A second major goal for Jones as VNAA board chair is to ensure that, as part of health care reform, VNAA will have a voice and role in the development of new models of care.
“Our outlook is that community-based home health and hospice organizations have a lot to offer in terms of keeping patients well and independent and at home,” Jones says. “We represent the lowest-cost option, as well as the setting where most patients prefer to be cared for. That is a great value for the health care system, and for the patient. We contend that by strengthening our collaborations with hospitals, physicians, skilled nursing facilities and other providers, even more can be accomplished to drive greater value and to reduce unnecessary costs.”
A third key effort for Jones during his coming term will be to increase VNAA membership and to strengthen the value offered by the association to its members.
“During this time of reform, nonprofit home health and hospice organizations are even more challenged to maintain their commitment to providing care without regard to ability to pay, while remaining strong financially,” Jones says. “This is a critical time for organizations like ours, with great risks and great opportunities before us. It is also a critical time for the VNAA to provide strong advocacy and member education, and to generally support safety net agencies to expand on and to better articulate the value they bring to their communities.”
Jones has been on the VNAA Board for six years and has been chair of its Public Policy Council over the past two years.