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If you've been in the home health industry for any length of time, you know why we've devoted this issue to the importance of government regulation on all levels. Home healthcare is emerging as a critical solution to the nation's most serious health challenges. We're expected to serve a rapidly growing senior population with increasing levels of quality and access. At the same time, government officials look to us to deliver a combination of quality and cost-efficiency that's been unobtainable from most institutional care. As we continue to play a more important role in the healthcare continuum, regulators will turn to us not only for solutions, which we all know that we have, but also for examples of model behavior in the performance of our duties-for all of home health and especially for those programs supported by government reimbursement.


High on the list for 2008 is our ability to adapt and adjust to myriad changes in the Medicare prospective payment system. We have experienced 2 months since the implementation of the Medicare refinements. Deeply involved in the changeover is Pamela Teenier, RN, MBA, CHCE, HCS-D, Gentiva's Assistant Vice President, Clinical Development and Implementation. In her article, "2008 Refinements to the Medicare Home Health Prospective Payment System," she describes the structural, payment adjustment, and base rate changes implemented by CMS.


At the state level, we're all familiar with the certification surveys we must pass to keep operating. In "The Proper Care and Feeding of a Surveyor," Nancy E. Allen takes you through a review about survey processes that can help prime an agency for successful Medicare surveys.


In addition, Joyce Simones brings us "Adapting to a Prospective Payment System: A Research Study of Visiting Nurses," which offers insights on how nurses have been adjusting to PPS, while Janet Brown and Penny Gershman discuss the problems of hiring and retaining speech-language pathologists in their article, "Recruitment and Retention of Speech-Language Pathologists: Putting Home Healthcare on the Radar." An innovative pilot program is discussed in "Impact of a Care Coordination and Support Strategic Partnership on Clinical Outcomes" by Joseph B. Engelhardt and coauthors.


I want to extend my sincere thanks to Editor Tina Marrelli and her team for the opportunity to assemble an expert group of authors that we hope will do justice to Home Healthcare Nurse's outstanding reputation. The emerging role of home healthcare on the national stage will bring with it a host of benefits as well as increased scrutiny from regulators. Demonstrating the highest standards of compliance along with the expectation of clinical excellence will only enhance our position as stewards of national healthcare in the midst of an aging population that wants to remain at home.