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NHIA Kicks-Off 2012 Conference and Exposition in Phoenix

(April 23, 2012)

Association Prepares Members to Transcend Uncertainties of Changing Health Care Environment

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NHIA Board Chair Mary Cope, R.Ph., energizes members at the kick off of the 2012 Annual Conference & Exposition.

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NHIA President and CEO Russ Bodoff reminds home infusion providers that, “success lies not in fighting change but in understanding and embracing it.”

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Members of the home infusion industry engage with NHIA leadership during the Opening General Session.

The delivery of health care has entered a new era, characterized by rapid, dramatic, and turbulent changes.  Recognizing this “new norm,” and the need to create a positive future for patients and the industry overall, the National Home Infusion Association kicked off its Annual Conference & Exposition as a forum to discuss the challenges ahead and the steps the industry must take to transcend the uncertainties before it.  The event is being held in Phoenix April 23-26th.

The changes in healthcare are “creating anxiety among patients and health care providers alike,” observed NHIA Board Chair, Mary Cope, R.Ph., at the NHIA Opening General Session.  “Yet, we are no strangers to uncertainty.” Noting that since its inception, the industry has routinely transformed change into opportunity, Cope offered four strategic imperatives that can help shape the future.  “We can achieve our goal by leveraging our wisdom, defining our value, communicating our significance, and engaging in authentic partnership,” she assured the crowd.

“One of our important strategies for transcending uncertainty is the need to gather industry data that better defines the value of our services—and enables us to then communicate that significance to others.” “The collection of this data will help us to achieve legislation for an expanded home infusion Medicare benefit; lay the foundation for future clinical and operational benchmarking efforts to improve the quality of care and services for our patients; assist our business partners in meeting the needs of our field so we can all benefit from on-target product development and innovation; and justify compensation in the emerging value-based reimbursement models,” said Cope.

Later in the session, members of the NHIA’s Industry-Wide Data Initiative team explained the next steps in the association’s data efforts. Developing and gaining consensus for common data definitions and expanding participation are primary objectives that will build on the successful implementation of Phase One of that initiative (click here to read more).

NHIA President and CEO Russ Bodoff also addressed the membership, noting that, “Success lies not in fighting change, but in understanding it.” 

“Today, we see a Federal government that is desperate to find cuts in health care spending, particularly within Medicare and Medicaid,” continued Bodoff.  “Yet, in an effort to find such savings, we know that decisions will be—and are being—made that neither reflect our commitment to patients, nor support the advancement of our industry.”  That’s a situation in which “both provider and patient stand to lose,” he asserted.

“At the heart of the uncertainties we face is the fact that many of the people making decisions about future health care delivery models and payment structures do not fully understand home infusion or the value of the services that an infusion pharmacy provides to a patient,” concluded Bodoff. “This is a story that must be told.”

Bodoff then discussed some of NHIA’s key activities related to telling that story.  In addition to legislative advocacy and data collection, the association will embark on a major outreach effort to ensure private payers have a thorough understanding of the quality care and costs savings that home infusion provides.  NHIA is also in the early stages of establishing a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit foundation to bring new resources into the field that would drive training and educational opportunities, as well as support research into new and innovative approaches to the delivery of alternate-site infusion care.

“I’m confident we will make a difference—if we collectively engage in advocacy and communicate our story to key stakeholders.” concluded Bodoff.  “We must identify patient stories that demonstrate the real harm to patients and their families that comes from the lack of a Medicare benefit.  Patient stories can gain media attention and Congressional interest.” “I believe with all my heart that the key to our success is to recognize that we can achieve much more together, than on our own.” 

Also at the Opening General Session, NHIA Education Committee Chair Melissa Leone, R.N., B.S.N., and NHIA Vice President of Clinical Affairs Nancy Kramer, R.N., B.S.N., CRNI® offered an overview of the content-rich educational offerings.  With more than 32 concurrent educational sessions, three general sessions, two Roundtable sessions, multiple breakfast and lunch symposia, and a strategically focused pre-conference, the 2012 NHIA Annual Conference & Exposition offers more opportunities for learning—including peer-to-peer venues like the NHIA Idea Exchange poster sessions--than ever before.

The event concluded with magic and laughter courtesy of Mark Robinson, master magician and illusionist, juggler, and stand-up comedian. Robinson delivered a hilarious stand-up routine while performing a variety of tricks, including “sawing” a member of the audience in half. 

The 2012 NHIA Annual Conference & Exposition will run through April 26th.  Check back for daily updates on conference happenings.

Members of NHIA’s Industry-Wide Data Initiative shared the groundbreaking successes of Phase I and encouraged home infusion providers to remain involved as they embark on Phase II. The panel consisted of Connie Sullivan, R.Ph., Heartland Home Infusion, Tony Powers, Pharm.D., Medical Alternatives, and Pete Tanguay, Rock-Pond Solutions.

“We are the low-cost, high quality, patient-preferred site of care—and we are being asked for the data that proves it,” explained NHIA’s Nancy Kramer, R.N., B.S.N., CRNI®, who led the discussion.  “The next step will be to nail down standardized definitions of key aspects of our business operations and clinical care.”  This, she explained, will enable benchmarking and allow further data collection efforts with new metrics.

Sullivan, the Outcomes subgroup leader explained how clinical benchmarks define best practices and improve care.  Tanguay, who created a software interface that makes data reporting easier, said that the keys to increasing participation are automation and standardization.  And, Powers spoke to the important role performance data plays in dealing with payers and other health care entities.  “It’s the difference between thinking you know and knowing you know,” he concluded.