Washington D.C. – November 12, 2021 – In a new white paper, published by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC), experts discuss incentives in the existing Medicare program that could motivate health systems and providers to offer more robust support to family caregivers. The paper specifically identifies barriers that prevent health systems and providers from providing new resources and offers innovative yet realistic solutions to help foster change. Constructed on extensive research and expert insight, NAC’s white paper informs providers, payers, and regulators, like The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), of the opportunities to reduce barriers and increase formal caregiver supports in the Medicare program.
Providing clarification into how specific barriers are currently hindering the expansion of caregiver services nationally, the paper covers both organizational and the systemic level obstacles. The paper discuses significant components that contribute to systemic setbacks, including specifics around variation in payment models, insurance coverages, health care settings and provider types. Additionally, on the organizational level, the paper discusses lack of standards of care, limited awareness of revenue opportunities, and poor accessibility of billing code information. Taken collectively, these qualitative factors present a unique cluster of challenges to caregivers and to those hoping to support them.
In healthcare settings across the country, caregivers are left out of consistent and crucial roles on their care-recipient’s health care team. The September 2021 RAISE Report to Congress supports a formal recognition of caregivers as members of the care team. Although the RAISE report has been widely accepted by Congress, the lack of incentives for supporting family caregivers in their role and in managing their own health continuously delay and hurt innovation initiatives. Navigating these complexities, emerging models of caregiver support already show promise for improving caregiver wellness, improving patient outcomes, and saving healthcare costs.
Although not widely publicized, exemplary models of care do exist. NAC takes time to highlight in the paper the importance of taking a closer look at models like the 4M Program at RUSH which demonstrates what caregiver support could look like and shows early promise of how patients, caregivers and health systems can benefit from caregiver services. The Rush Caregiver Health and Well-Being Initiative (Caregiver Initiative), funded by the RRF Foundation for Aging, compiles evidence-based practices into a unified framework to advance care needs for older adults and caregivers. Building on this research, the white paper specifies solution models incorporating patient-targeted and caregiver-targeted services
Made possible with support from Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and The Allergan Foundation, this analysis supports NAC’s work to identify cross-cutting solutions that will make life better for family caregivers.
For more information on how NAC supports innovation in family caregiving, visit https://www.caregiving.org/innovation/
About the National Alliance for Caregiving: NAC’s mission is to build partnerships in research, advocacy, and innovation to make life better for family caregivers. Our work aims to support a society which values, supports, and empowers family caregivers to thrive at home, work, and life. As a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., we represent a coalition of more than 60 non-profit, corporate, and academic organizations; nearly 40 family support researchers with expertise in pediatric to adult care to geriatric care; and more than 50 advocates who work on national, state and local platforms to support caregivers across the United States. In addition to our national work, NAC leads and participates in a number of global meetings on caregiving and long-term care, working closely with peer organizations in countries such as Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, India and Nepal, Ireland, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. Learn more at https://www.caregiving.org.