Bill Borne, CEO of home health provider Amedisys, describes the role of home health in integrated care, reducing hospital readmissions and a pilot project in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that seeks to nurture partnerships with physicians.
Bill Borne: As we look to shifting integration of care delivery in healthcare, we think that the home care industry is best positioned from the post-acute-care side. The patient’s desire is to stay in-home, and we recognize that delivery of healthcare in-home is the most cost-effective way to do that. Many of the larger, more sophisticated home-health agencies have the technology and resources to create a continuum of care that will allow us to integrate with the different providers of the delivery system to provide that service, such as hospitals, physicians, as well as other post-acute-care providers.
We’re doing a lot of things to reduce admissions to hospitals. The first is that we put in a care-transition program. Allows our care managers to actually track patients’ prior to discharge so there’s not sort of a dark hole that the patients are discharged into. Focusing on medication, diagnoses, early symptoms of (unclear), give the patients access back to the system and setting up visits with their primary-care physician within seven to 10 days of discharge. We’re also using technology, such as our Telehealth, to monitor patients on a daily basis when they’re in our care, as well as our point-of-care technology, which allows us to put patients’ information in the digital form so we have immediate access to the information as patients may call in and have questions about their care.
Part of the program for the physician homecare partnership is actually a wonderful program. It focuses on the 5% of the Medicare program population that consume 44% of the dollars. A physician or nurse practitioner will go into the home and evaluate and treat a patient as a patient would if they came into physician’s office. Then they would rely upon a home-health agency to provide the oversight, the care management services and visit the patients between physician visits. The government is offering a tremendous incentive to help these patients not go back into the emergency room and thus into very expensive hospitalization. So without technology, resources and care management in local distribution in the markets that we care for, and easy access to the patients that we serve. We think that if a patient has a condition that requires us to visit them immediately, we can do that—provide an intervention under the physician’s offices, and hopefully prevent the emergency room and thus the hospitalization.
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