CMS Clears Path for Hospital-at-Home to Address COVID-19 Surge
BOSTON, November 25, 2020—Responding to today’s action by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to accelerate hospital-at-home programs, Medically Home Group said it is prepared to enable health systems nationwide to establish and rapidly expand high-acuity home hospitalization programs. The CMS action offers a relief valve to hospitals overflowing with patients as COVID-19 infections surge across the United States, by making it easier for health systems to provide hospital-level care to both COVID and non-COVID patients in their homes.
Health systems including Mayo Clinic and Adventist Health, enabled by Medically Home, have treated more than 1,000 patients at home to date in six states. This patient-centric model provides high-acuity care to high-complexity patients who would otherwise be hospitalized for over 100 serious illnesses, including exacerbation of chronic diseases (such as heart failure and COPD), infections (such as pneumonia and cellulitis), and post-surgical hospitalizations, as well as for COVID-19.
CMS today announced its Acute Hospital Care at Home program, “providing eligible hospitals with unprecedented regulatory flexibilities to treat eligible patients in their homes.” CMS said the program “clearly differentiates the delivery of acute hospital care at home from more traditional home health services.”
“We’re at a new level of crisis response with COVID-19 and CMS is leveraging the latest innovations and technology to help health care systems that are facing significant challenges to increase their capacity to make sure patients get the care they need,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.
For the duration of the declared public health emergency, the CMS action makes the country’s 62 million Medicare and Medicare Advantage beneficiaries eligible to be hospitalized at home, if admitted into a program by their local hospital.
Working with partners including Huron and Cardinal Health, Medically Home enables health systems to establish new hospital-at-home services in as little as 30 days. Huron has more than 200 consultants trained in Medically Home’s model, while Cardinal Health brings a nationwide supply chain capability to patients’ homes. Medically Home has held recent discussions with more than 100 health systems that are seeking to establish their own hospital-at-home programs.
“The virtual hospital model allows health systems to care for a substantial proportion of their patients in their homes,” said Rami Karjian, Medically Home co-founder and CEO. “This eases bottlenecks within hospitals, freeing up beds which can then accommodate both ICU step-downs and new admissions from the emergency department. At the same time, it gives health systems the flexibility to distribute workloads geographically, with doctors and nurses in one location caring for patients anywhere within the health system’s footprint.”
Under Medically Home’s model, health systems monitor their patients 24/7 using physicians and nurses working in medical command centers. Patients and their families have access to hospital-level medical services (ranging from IV therapies, oxygen treatments, and lab tests to X-rays and ultrasounds) without having to leave their homes, and without the stress, loss of privacy, and potential isolation of hospitalization.
While the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated adoption of the hospital-at-home model, the hospitals implementing it have done so as part of a long-term transformation in how they provide care.
“Every forward-thinking hospital system in the country is now evaluating how it can begin to offer hospital-level care in the home,” said Raphael Rakowski, Medically Home co-founder, and executive chairman. “Our current health crisis has accelerated a transformation that was already underway in the $1.2 trillion hospital care market. In a time of constrained bed capacity, Medically Home’s model gives hospitals the ability to decouple patient care from real estate, enabling them to extend top-quality care to more patients without the prohibitive construction and operational costs of new hospital buildings.”
Comments from Medically Home Partners
“The ability to offer care for patients in their home has become an increasingly important care option during the pandemic,” said Maneesh Goyal, the chief operating officer of the Mayo Clinic Platform, which runs Mayo’s advanced care at home program. “In addition to allowing patients to transition to recover in the comfort of their home, this (waiver?) also helps alleviate the pressure on hospitals by freeing up beds during COVID-19 outbreaks and preserving PPE during a surge.”
“Adventist Health [email protected] provides a flexible way for managing the current COVID-19 surge, allowing physicians and nurses in our medical command centers to safely supervise the care of patients who may be hundreds of miles away,” said Bill Wing, president of Adventist Health. “Overall, the COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients we’ve treated so far under this model have reported notably high levels of patient satisfaction, and clinical outcomes have exceeded expectations. Adventist Health [email protected] is central to our long-term health care strategies.”
“The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of alternative care models,” said James H. Roth, chief executive officer of Huron. “Medically Home’s technology-forward hospital-at-home service provides healthcare organizations a convenient and accessible option to deliver quality care in a setting where patients feel most comfortable and safe.”
“Enabling accessible and high-quality at-home healthcare has been central to Cardinal Health’s mission for many years,” said Suzanne Foster, President, at-Home Solutions, a division of Cardinal Health. “Our country’s hospital systems are challenged in their ability to intake high numbers of patients during the pandemic, and we’re grateful to participate in a technology-enabled ecosystem that helps patients to receive high-quality, high-acuity care in the comfort of their home.”
About Medically Home
Medically Home is a technology-enabled services company that provides the clinical intellectual property, technology platform, and coordination of acute rapid-response services that allow medical providers to safely shift advanced medical care from hospitals to patients’ homes. Through enabling its customer partners to create superior experiences and outcomes for patients, their families, and healthcare stakeholders, Medically Home is leading the charge in the innovation of healthcare delivery. For more information on Medically Home, please visit www.medicallyhome.com/.
Media contact: Paul Sherer, [email protected]