Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, October 22, 2012

Contact: Angela L. Yu
Media Relations Manager
(518) 271-5045


TROY, NY - October 23, 2012 - The Eddy Visiting Nurse Association (Eddy VNA) has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the New York State Health Foundation to develop an in-home primary care program that will provide long-term and transitional care services to homebound patients who reside in a four-county service area of the Capital Region.

The program will target homebound patients who live in Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Saratoga counties who can benefit from coordinated, in-home primary care services, including elderly and disabled adults, individuals in need of palliative care and bariatric patients.
Currently, about one in 20 people over the age of 65 are homebound, suffering from significant functional impairments that leave them unable to access routine medical care. It is estimated that by the year 2030, the number of permanently homebound individuals in the U.S. will increase by 50 percent to reach 2 million. The problem is expected to worsen with the aging of the babyboomers.

"Chronically ill homebound patients, on average, receive only one doctor visit every two years, compared to the monthly physician office visits for those with serious chronic illnesses who are ambulatory," states Michelle Mazzacco, vice president of Eddy Visiting Nurse Association.

"Unfortunately, many barriers can prevent patients from accessing the routine medical care they need to manage their chronic conditions, from poor health literacy to limited social support," Mazzacco continues. "They may not have the transportation to physically get to a primary care office, or the effort is too taxing and debilitating to their condition. There are even situations when attending appointments outside the home can represent a risk to the patient in terms of exposure to infection."

Data from Medicare shows that 50 percent of the people who are rehospitalized within 30 days of discharge from the hospital were not seen by a physician. A coordinated in-home primary care program has the potential to decrease acute care readmissions, decrease emergency room use, reduce healthcare costs, improve quality of care, reduce polypharmacy issues, and delay or avoid nursing home placement.

"The access to personalized, comprehensive primary care services in the home can greatly impact patient outcomes and quality of life," states Mazzacco. "Housecalls are a viable solution to strengthen the care delivery system and provide needed care for this vulnerable, underserved population."

The program is expected to serve more than 650 patients annually. Eddy VNA will collect data and monitor for benchmarks. If successful, the service has the potential to be replicated by other health systems across the state and beyond.

Accredited by the Community Health Accreditation Program, Eddy VNA is the leading provider of in-home health services in the region with a proven track record of successfully implementing innovative care models. Its credits include:

 the development of one of the first telehomecare programs in the country which was sustained for eight years until managed care and Medicaid funding was approved;
 the launch of an award-winning volunteer care teams program through a Robert Wood Johnson matching grant; the program provides non-medical support services to the elderly and patients with HIV/AIDS;
 the implementation of a Coach Care Transitions Program based upon Eric Coleman's model, using RNs who support and educate patients for 30 days after discharge from the hospital to improve care and avoid unnecessary readmissions.

The New York State Health Foundation is dedicated to improving New York State's healthcare system and the health of all New Yorkers. The organization offers statewide grants and supports efforts to establish effective programs that measure outcomes, communicate results and improve quality of life. For more information, please visit
St. Peter's Health Partners was created on October 1, 2011 by the merger of Northeast Health, St. Peter's Health Care Services and Seton Health. The merger created the region's largest and most comprehensive not-for-profit network of high-quality, advanced medical care, primary care, rehabilitation and senior services. These state-of-the-art services and programs are provided through Albany Memorial Hospital and St. Peter's Hospital in Albany; Samaritan Hospital and St. Mary's Hospital in Troy; Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital in Schenectady; as well as The Eddy system of continuing care and The Community Hospice. The new organization has more than 11,700 employees at more than 125 locations in seven counties of northeastern New York. St. Peter's Health Partners is the region's largest private employer and has an annual budget of nearly $1.1 billion. For more information, please visit

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