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N.J. CEO leads study to reduce costs of home health care

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Though he's less than a year into his role as the head of New Jersey's largest home health care provider, Dr. Steven Landers has been chosen to lead a national research alliance of for-profit, not-for-profit and academic home health care stakeholders that will study ways to reduce the costs and improve the quality of care delivered at patients' homes.

"Home-based care models are already a win-win-win. Helping high-risk patients stay home lowers costs because it keeps them out of hospitals and other institutions, which is what people want and what the system wants," Landers said. "But I think a challenge in the home health community is finding good quality evidence to guide our care model. We're still trying to figure out the best evidence for home-based care, and there's a need for better science and research to do everything we can to get better patient outcomes."

Landers, who has served as president and CEO of Red Bank-based Visiting Nurses Association Health Group since June, will chair the board of the national Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation, which recently enlisted a slew of nonprofit and academic leaders in the home health community to demonstrate through evidence-based research how new care models and technologies can improve patient outcomes while reducing high health care costs.

To jumpstart that mission, Landers said he will leverage the strides VNA Health Group has made at the local level through its integrated approaches to "providing successful transitions from the hospital to the home and using tele-health remote monitoring to help patients have successful health outcomes in place."

But Landers said he will first focus his efforts on digging through Medicare and Medicaid claims data and other national research "to understand where home care is successful and where it's not," and then investigate methods that can help improve home health care across the country.

"The programs we've been doing throughout the VNA Health Group in New Jersey are on the edge of new technology and the new care model, but the main things we need to figure out are, how do we help more people stay healthy at home, and what are the care concepts that can best achieve that goal?" Landers said. "Being part of the national charge to find out the answers is something I'm excited about."

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