New “Hospital-at-Home” Strategy to Manage COVID-19 Surge

With the number of hospitalizations increasing due to COVID-19, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced groundbreaking flexibilities around hospital-level home care. This is to further lift barriers that delay care during the public health crisis. This idea was built off the success of the countries existing hospital-at-home models, created by Johns Hopkins and Mount Sinai.

Ground Breaking Hospital Level Home Care

The CMS program called “Acute Hospital At Home Program”. It will work through eligible hospitals to provide groundbreaking and comprehensive flexibilities to treat patients in their homes. CMS plans to aim this towards acute care in the home, this will differ from standard home care. This also will support current hospital-at-home programs. As a result, they will no longer need these programs will now accept Medicare and Medicaid.

Under this program participating hospitals will be required to have screening protocols before providing home care. Additionally, hospitals will need to provide in-person physician evaluation before starting care in the home. Furthermore, a registered nurse is required to perform evaluations on each patient daily.

A New Level of COVID-19 Response

The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a catalyst for the interest in this model. Thus far, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, Mount Sinai Health System, Presbyterian Healthcare Services and Unity Point Health are being approved for CMS’s new program. This is a new level of crisis response with COVID-19. CMS is leveraging the latest innovations and technology to help health care and home care face these challenges. As a result, this will increase their capacity to assist all their patients needs.

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