Healthcare worker helps woman in home with physical therapy

Home care and home health care workers could play a greater role in their patients’ care if more physicians sign up for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s (CMS) Primary Care First (PCF) model, physician and healthcare adviser Arif Kamal, M.D., told McKnight’s Home Care Daily. The deadline for signing up for the second cohort of the voluntary program is April 30.

Kamal, chief medical officer for healthcare technology company Acclivity Health Solutions, said the value-based care model for primary care physicians compensates providers who take a holistic approach to care delivery.  Kamal said that means providers must take into account the concerns and opinions of home caregivers when providing medical care to homebound patients.

Arif Kamal, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Acclivity Health

“The patient is the definition of the person who walks into your office. The person is the definition of someone who lives in the community and spends 99% of their time outside of the office. Ultimately, I think this is about getting to person-centered care,” Kamal said.

PCF is a voluntary, alternative five-year option that rewards value and quality in a payment structure that supports the delivery of advanced primary care. It is offered in 26 geographic regions. The program aims to foster independence for primary care providers through greater operating flexibility and performance-based payments. Patients’ health outcomes are tied to physician compensation, incentivizing providers to spend more time with patients and coordinate their care.

Kamal said COVID-19 has shined a light on the direct influence caregivers have on patient health.

“We recognize that caregiver resilience, anxiety, depression, adjustment disorder are very contagious. When we see within a community or population that those are growing, we should know that early on and think about who is in close proximity to those patients,”  Kamal said.

Kamal urged primary care practices to make sure they meet eligibility requirements before signing up for the PCF. He thinks those who don’t will eventually have to adopt the model.

“The move from volume to value means they will have to be equipped to do this type of care at some point soon,” Kamal said.