Hospitals, Health IT, Legal

Mayo, Kaiser, Medically Home launch advocacy effort to extend hospital-at-home flexibilities

Eleven health systems have joined the coalition, which aims to extend and expand the existing federal hospital-at-home waivers and create an advanced acute care-at-home delivery model at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation.

Two major health systems and a hospital-at-home company have launched a coalition that will advocate for continuing the currently available hospital-level at-home care flexibilities beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

Founded by Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic, Oakland, California-based Kaiser Permanente and Boston-based Medically Home, the Advanced Care at Home Coalition will also advocate for the creation of an advanced care-at-home delivery model at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation.

Though interest in hospital-at-home programs has been growing steadily over the past decade, it accelerated amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Large providers like Kaiser, Mayo and Multicare, a Washington-based health system, launched programs of their own as they raced to care for both Covid and non-Covid patients. This was aided by regulatory flexibilities, including CMS’ Acute Hospital Care At Home program that enables treatment for more than 60 acute conditions to be provided at home.

“At the end of the pandemic, without some sort of extension, the new model is at risk of going away or dramatically shrinking,” said Mara McDermott, executive director of the coalition, in an email. “Action by the federal government will ensure that this important and innovative source of care can continue.”

The coalition will use a combination of advocacy, education and data collection and sharing to extend and expand the existing acute care-at-home waivers.

“Providers have demonstrated that this model is of high value to patients — it is safe, effective, high-quality care and achieving high marks with patient satisfaction,” McDermott said.

Eleven other provider organizations have joined the coalition: Adventist Health, ChristianaCare, Geisinger Health System, Integris, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Michigan Medicine, Novant Health, ProMedica, Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, UNC Health and UnityPoint Health.

Research has shown that the hospital-at-home model has significant clinical benefits and provides the added advantage of giving clinicians insight into potential socio-economic barriers to care for their patients.

“Offering acute-level, hospital-quality care at home allows physicians and care teams to treat a whole person to meet their individualized care goals, while also helping address some of the social determinants of health,” said Dr. Stephen Parodi, executive vice president of The Permanente Federation, part of Kaiser Permanente. “This coalition supports a policy foundation for this more equitable future of healthcare.”

Provider interest in hospital-at-home programs have already prompted large investments. In May, Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente announced that they planned to invest approximately $100 million combined in Medically Home Group. Both organizations previously partnered with Medically Home for their own hospital-at-home programs.

Photo: Willowpix, Getty Images