Taking her elderly mother and aunt to the doctor is a complicated process for Tucson resident Jennifer Gin. Both sisters, who live with Gin, require wheelchairs and have dementia. When taking them to the doctor, tasks like getting them in and out of the car, finding parking and sitting in the waiting room require careful coordination. But Gin’s family has not had to worry about those stressful trips for an entire year. Medical care for 96-year-old Florence Quen and her 94-year-old sister Ruth Yang, including services like lab testing and X-rays, now comes to them. Such care could become more widespread with the passage of a bill pending in Congress that would provide home care to the sickest 5 percent of Medicare patients — the ones who use 50 percent of the federal program’s dollars. In particular, the bill targets people suffering from multiple debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ALS, congestive heart failure, diabetes and Parkinson’s.
INDEPENDENCE AT HOME
A small, fledgling program through Banner Health is bringing home medical visits to certain chronically ill patients in Tucson, including Quen and Yang.