Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts

Challenge

The Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts (HCA) is the trade association of home care providers and visiting nurses in Massachusetts.

Recently, the HCA has been working on a program called Telehealth, which allows for the remote monitoring of patients’ vital signs and other physiological information, including blood pressure, pulse, and weight. This program addresses a fundamental issue that the HCA was seeking to improve upon: namely, the difficulty in attending to each home patient on a daily basis. Instead of checking in on patients three to four times each week, the Telehealth technology allows HCA specialists to monitor patients seven days a week.

Due to the relative newness of the Telehealth technology, the HCA funding from the Massachusetts Legislature to allow for a pilot program, which would allow the HCA to later expand the distribution of the Telehealth systems if shown to be successful.

Solution

In an effort to secure funding and approval for a Telehealth pilot program, O’Neill and Associates embarked on a state government relations campaign designed to reach out to various members of the State Legislature and their staffs. This effort informed policymakers of the potential benefits of the Telehealth technology and how it could improve the overall care received by HCA patients. In doing so, O’Neill and Associates hoped to foster support for a budgetary measure that would delegate funding to a Telehealth pilot program in its Fiscal Year 2011 budget. 

Results

Through its state government relations services, O’Neill and Associates was able to facilitate the addition of a budgetary amendment calling for a pilot program of the Telehealth system that would be a joint program of the HCA and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. This amendment allowed the HCA to implement systems in a select number of patients’ homes in order to gauge whether the technology would increase the quality and efficiency of patient care.

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