Population health is a major component of value-based care today — and a top-of-mind concept for healthcare organizations and payers. Home care providers can help propel this concept forward, according to Andy Edeburn, consultant with Elder Dynamics, and Lindsey Sand, vice president of population health for Knute Nelson, who spoke recently to McKnight’s Home Care in a Newsmakers podcast.

“Now is the time to truly jump on these opportunities to start the dialogue or be a part of the dialogue,” Sand said.

Population health, which focuses in part on managing chronic diseases in a broader population, became an important part of healthcare after the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, which helped to move healthcare from a fee-for-service model to a value-based payment model, Edeburn explained. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services believes every beneficiary should be in a value-based arrangement by 2030, Edeburn said.

If a provider is taking Medicare, “there is a driving national imperative around moving toward value-based thinking,” he said.

Because of the desire of consumers to age in place at home, home care has a unique role to play in emphasizing population health and value-based care, Sand said. She talked about how Knute Nelson, a provider of home care and other services in Minnesota, is leading a new value-based arrangement involving eight partners, including two health plans, across 43 communities in rural parts of the state.

Since June, when the strategy was put into place, an “aha” moment is “the true importance of collaboration and the importance of everyone being at the table,” Sand said.

A spirit of working together cuts to the heart of value-based care, she said. “How do we organize around what we all want and that is to drive wellness within our communities? How do we do that? We do that collaboratively.”

While there are hundreds of examples of value-based arrangements based on population health in urban America, they are less common in rural America, and that is where home care providers can take charge, Edeburn and Sand said.

“This isn’t new thinking,” Edeburn said. “This is thinking that’s been around for a long time. It’s just now reaching an accretion point in our society where it’s going to become the more dominant form of thinking with regard to healthcare.”