• December 2010

What Is the Future of Home Health Care?

An interview with Gibson Erhunmwunse
CEO, Pavilion Medical Home Care & Staffing, LLC

As we look to the future of the workforce, we cast an eye on one of the biggest trends taking the country by storm — our aging population.

According to a recent report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), total health-care expenditures in the United States surpassed $2 trillion in 2006. This is an increase of almost three times the $714 billion spent in 1990, and over eight times the $253 billion spent in 1980.

Overall, health-care costs make up about one-third of total spending by state governments. Medicaid costs alone account for over 20 percent of states’ budgets, representing the single largest segment of states’ budgets. Thirty-five percent of total Medicaid spending goes toward long-term care services, nearly 60 percent of which pays for services for the elderly.

As policymakers explore alternatives and options to deal with rising health-care costs, CMS and others believe that the expanding the role of home health-care should be an important part of the alternative choices for post-acute care, disease management, and chronic and long-term care.

So in this issue of Be Inkandescent Magazine, we talk with Gibson Erhunmwunse, CEO and clinical director of the Annandale, VA-based firm, Pavilion Medical Home Care & Staffing, LLC.

A leading home health-care and staffing agency, Pavilion Medical is licensed in Virginia and certified by Medicare / Medicaid. From its offices in Annandale and Manassas, staff members provide a wide range of home health-care and skilled nursing services to hundreds of individuals and dozens of institutions.

Be Inkandescent Magazine: Tell us a little about the services that Pavilion Medical offers.

Mr. Gibson: For every patient, we devise a comprehensive care plan, addressing patient needs and guardian concerns. We are dedicated to upholding the Patients’ Bill of Rights, and provide services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

New patients, including permanent placements, can be admitted within 24 hours. We also recognize the comfort that comes from communicating in one’s native tongue; our staff is fluent in English, Filipino, Korean, and Spanish.

Be Inkandescent Magazine: What is your goal as a home health provider?

Mr. Gibson: Measurable, quality outcomes are the key. We know that our clients are trusting their health, and the health of their loved ones, to our staff. That’s why we offer independent, objective, and qualitative measurements.

Our patients report having increased functional capacity, improved bladder control, better ability to bathe themselves, improved ability to correctly take oral medications, improved or healed wounds, and less shortness of breath.

Be Inkandescent Magazine: As a consumer, it’s not always easy to identify a home health provider that you can rely on. Awards are always a good indicator. Tell us about some of the honors your firm has garnered in the last few years.

Mr. Gibson: I agree, and am happy to report that Pavilion Medical Home Care & Staffing has been recognized with an Award of Excellence and was designated one of the top 100 home health-care agencies in the United States by HomeCare Elite, an organization that recognizes the most successful Medicare-certified home health-care providers in the United States.

CMS ranks Pavilion Medical as one of the top providers on a variety of patient quality measures.

Be Inkandescent Magazine: What are some of the most important factors for patients and their families to consider when choosing a home health agency?

Mr. Gibson: Always be sure that the home health provider has proper licensing and insurance. Ask that the provider you go with isbonded and insured within the state that you are seeking service.

Also, consider what will actually be the services that you will require, and write out a list of items that need to be provided. Be able to give an example of a typical day for the care recipient, from the moment they wake up until they go to bed and include a timeline of when they prefer meals, naps and other activities.

And regularly ask yourself if the staff is treating you well. You can judge this long before a caregiver comes to your home what your experience would be like by simply seeing how you are treated by the people behind the scenes. Make sure they are cordial, attentive and really seek to assess your needs properly so that you are set up for exactly the service you need- no more, no less.

Be Inkandescent Magazine: What else is important for patients to keep in mind?

Mr. Gibson: Regaining physical strength and returning to an active, comfortable lifestyle after an illness, injury, or surgery should be a positive and invigorating experience. When a patient works with physical, occupational, and speech therapists, make sure the therapist begins by developing a treatment plan.

Some services to ask about should include physical therapy (such as gross motor development; balance and coordination; gait training; strength, endurance, and exercise training; lower extremity and trunk range-of-motion activities; and functional independence.

When it comes to occupational therapy, services should include fine motor skills and coordination development, and activities of daily living such as feeding, swallowing, dressing, bathing/hygiene, and use of equipment to increase independence and enhance performance.

Speech therapy services include expressive and receptive language disorders, articulation disorders, fluency and voice disorders, swallowing and feeding disorders, cognitive and rehabilitation skills, aural rehabilitation including cochlear implant rehabilitation therapy and sign language, therapy for patients with craniofacial anomalies, cleft lip / cleft palate and velopharyngeal insufficiency, and patient and family education and instruction.

Be Inkandescent Magazine: Your firm also provides home-health aides and companion aides and services include personal hygiene, medical reminders, light housekeeping, and errand services. Why do you feel it’s important to offer these services?

Mr. Gibson: Having been in the home health and medical industry for decades, I believe that being a full-service agency is critical to offering all of the services needed by our patients. Our goal is to help them heal after surgery, an accident, or an illness. So we do everything we can to ensure our clients have what they need as quickly and comfortably as possible.

About Gibson Erhunmwunse

A board-certified geriatric nurse practitioner with more than a decade of experience working with adult and geriatric patients, Gibson Erhunmwunse is the CEO and clinical director of Pavilion Medical Home Care.

“Mr. Gibson,” as he is known to clients and staff members, has spent the last decade working in acute and long-term care and home-care settings. He has worked in cardiology, pulmonary medicine, and geriatric medicine, and has managed a wide variety of simple to complex medical cases. As founder and CEO of Pavilion Medical Home Care & Staffing, LLC, his vision is to establish a comprehensive and sustainable home-care agency that provides an array of services to the elderly throughout Northern Virginia.

A graduate of George Mason University’s Nursing and Allied Health program in 1995, Erhunmwunse went on to get a graduate degree in Nursing as a Nurse Practitioner from the George Washington University in 2000. In 2004, he founded World Hospital Alliance, a nonprofit organization based in Maryland with offices in Nigeria that provides services to HIV patients around the world.

He now oversees a team of more than 55 multi-ethnic and multidisciplinary professionals, which affords his company the ability to work with patients who speak dozens of languages.

“My goal is to continue to provide clinical and non-clinical patient care to everyone who needs it, and remain one of the leading home-health agencies in the country,” Gibson says.

For more information, contact Erhunmwunse at Gibson@PavilionMedical.com and visit Pavilion Medical’s website, www.pavilionmedical.com.

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