Home care physicians to honor Wyden, Markey

The American Academy of Home Care Physicians (AAHCP) will honor Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) on Capitol Hill Tuesday for their work promoting physician house call programs.

Legislation sponsored by the two lawmakers — the Independence at Home Act — became the basis for a national home care demonstration project created as part of the Democrats' new health reform law. Under the demo, up to 10,000 of the country's frailest seniors will receive primary care treatments at home instead of having to travel to hospitals and doctors offices.

Supporters maintain that such programs not only improve care but also cut costs by reducing the need for care in emergency rooms and other acute care settings. The program is modeled on a successful house call program offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"It's not something that's new and untried," said Constance Row, AAHCP's executive director.

The home care demo is scheduled to launch in 2012, though AAHCP is pushing to expedite that timeline.