Attorney General Jeff Landry made high points with the home health care professionals seated around the conference table June 25 in the LHC Group offices in downtown New Iberia.
“I know why LHC is so successful, they have so many women,” Landry said surrounded by caregivers and coordinators from the company’s leadership. “Health care has been something on the top of my agenda since I served in the U.S. House of Representatives. We were dealing with the impact of the Affordable Healthcare Act which continues to be a disrupter and it came at a time when all of healthcare was transforming. At one time, the doctor went to the patient, not the other way around.”
Landry was in town visiting the LHC Group recently ranked No. 4 by Forbes and Statista in an inaugural list compiled by independent study as one of America’s Best-in-State Employers for 2019. According to Forbes the survey, conducted from October 2018 to February 2019, included approximately 80,000 part- and full-time workers at companies with at least 500 employees in its U.S. operations. Founded in 1994, the Lafayette-based LHC Group is a leading national provider of in-home health care services providing quality care in 35 states and the District of Columbia.
These are most often elderly frail patients who don’t want to go to the hospital, one caregiver said, often the only person the patient might see or interact with during a week or as much as a month’s time. Landry said when a patient is able to have home care it opens up beds for those in need of acute care in hospital settings.
The interaction between the caregivers and the Landry was an open and casual conversation about the best care for patients, and the anticipation of baby boomers aging that will bring more need for home care services in the future.
LHC’s Spencer Thibodeaux reported on the Joint Commission’s recognition of Acadian HomeCare of New Iberia. The not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the U. S. through on-site evaluations and performance measures every three years, has accredited AHC of New Iberia, one of LHC’s agencies, since September 2014. AHC of New Iberia is the only Joint Commission Accredited HC agency in the surrounding parishes. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, per the Affordable Care Act, distinguishes home health providers based on performance and implementation of best practices, patient outcomes and patient perception of care. They rated AHC of New Iberia 5 Stars, the only home care company receiving top honors for both patient quality and satisfaction. In 2018 it was named to the Top 500 HomeCare Elite and the last four years they were either Top 500 or HC Elite Status. Other LHC agencies do well but the accomplishments of the New Iberia team was one of significance, Thibodeaux said.
A home visit to one of the oldest patients in New Iberia under the LHC care was made by Landry and the case worker in order to hear first hand what this type of health care means to the patient as well as the family members.
“Healthcare has been a big part of what has gotten me involved with government, in leadership and elected service to begin with,” Landry said. “I’m constantly seeking ways to understanding what’s going on in the health care industries, what is effective and cost efficient in caring for people. LHC is like a shining star in the way they run their business, process information and especially from my vantage point. Our Medicaid fraud unit consistently sees fraud, waste and abuse in those systems. When companies do it right, play by the rules and find efficiencies, they should be rewarded. What that does is allow government or health insurers to stretch those particular dollars. LHC is one of those leadership organizations that we should be looking toward to replicate and improve upon.
“When you see a tremendous amount of fraud, waste and abuse in the health care industry as a whole, to see a company like LHC whose compliance record is spotless, you want to say great job. Then you want to look at everyone else and say, what is the problem?” Landry said. “Services to veterans, every time there is inefficiencies, waste, fraud and abuse, that’s less money the next veteran has for the services you’re giving them. Every time you can make that efficient, that makes more dollars available not only in the federal government, but through insurance as a whole.”
Landry also addressed ways for health care providers to activate their patients to contact their congressional representatives through phone calls or emails, and write letters to the editor, to address the need for homecare providers to have admit-rights for hospitalization. This would allow orders from nurse practitioners, home health providers and physician assistance to write orders for hospitalization. With LHC’s 25,000 patients annually and 2,000 workers, U.S. Senate Bill 433 and House Resolution 2573 can impact how payment laws should reflect client based evidence, actual patient care going forward, not based on assumptions.