Mileage Study Press Conference Highlights: Lisa Jean Long Discusses the Challenges of Delivering Home Care in the Large State of Texas
January 27, 2016 03:29 PM
On December 16, 2015, the Foundation for Hospice and Homecare and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) held a press conference (see previous NAHC Report article here) to present the findings of a study documenting that nurses, therapists and home care aides who serve chronically ill, elderly and disabled patients drive nearly 8 billion miles each year. The press conference included remarks from a number of experts in the home care and hospice community, and NAHC Report is publishing a series of articles providing in-depth coverage of their remarks.
NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris introduced Lisa Jean Long, who is a registered nurse and the Owner & CEO of Patience Home Health Care in San Antonio, Texas. Ms. Jean Long spoke regarding the challenges her agency faces to deliver home care in such a large state, where distances are often measured in hours rather than miles.
“Texas is a very large state,” she said. “San Antonio is large in and of itself; it may take 45 minutes to get from one area of this urban county to another area of this urban county. In the rural areas we may have an hour-and-a-half to two-hour drive to get to the patient’s home one way, and that doesn’t include the time we spend in the home with the patient.”
With many patients who have urgent care needs, the stakes are high to deliver care in a timely manner. “We have a large diabetic community; therefore we deal with a lot of diabetic wounds and ulcers,” Ms. Jean Long said. “If we don’t see these patients, a lot of them would end up with amputations.”
Other challenges include the fact that many patients require Spanish-speaking nurses, or have gender-specific preferences for their nurses, which makes it even more difficult to find the needed staff. In addition, many nurses are forced to decline to provide home care because they cannot afford the gas and wear and tear on their vehicle given that the reimbursement rate is “not enough.”
“Even though you are only in your own little city, you are still driving in a big area to get from one end to another,” Ms. Jean Long said. “We just want to give our patients the best care.”
To view the final study, click here.
Video footage of the press conference is currently available on the NAHC website (www.nahc.org).