The Affordable Health Care Act, known as Obamacare, is intended to reduce healthcare costs through multiple methods. One way is through a pilot program known as “Independence at Home” that utilizes technology to monitor a variety of health conditions. Known as “e-care”, the program was specifically designed for Medicare patients that traditionally cost the most to treat.

ObamacareProgram Basics

The program was implemented in Jan. 2012. It’s supposed to provide a better level of care, prevent hospital readmissions, achieve a greater level of patient satisfaction, and ultimately, save money.

Medical teams deliver care to Medicare patients in their homes or through a community-based center.

If the team achieves the goals of the Independence at Home program, they’ll receive substantial financial rewards.

E-care can be used to monitor an array of vital signs, providing seniors with convenient, primary care services at home. For the disabled, seniors who find it difficult to leave their homes, and those with chronic illnesses, Independence at Home offers an alternative to expensive long-term care facilities.

Care management teams include practitioners in multiple specialties, from social workers and medical professionals to mental health providers.

Convenience Over Care?

ObamacareThe program opens up new and convenient possibilities for seniors, but all services are no so easily delivered. Those who require extensive physical therapy may not benefit from the pilot program.

The Independence at Home program may have the best of intentions, but it’s confusing for many Medicare recipients who believe they can receive virtually any healthcare service while remaining in their home.

The program could easily encourage seniors to remain in their homes and limit themselves to the available care rather than leave their home to seek services that include physical therapy.

At the other end of the spectrum, patients have expressed concern that the in-home program will promote the use of only basic services and that other options may not be explored in an effort to restrain the cost of care.

Rehabilitation and therapy services will be terminated if the medical team members determine the patient has attained the minimal skills and range of motion needed to conduct daily living activities, or if family members are available to perform those daily activities for them.

The Independence at Home program under Obamacare has the potential to underutilize or limit some treatments in favor of cost savings to a segment of the population that typically has more need and higher healthcare costs.

For physical therapists, it has the potential of providing them with a means of expanding their services into new venues for increased revenues.