CVS Health's infusion care business will help hospitals transition stable patients to home-based nursing care to ease the burden on providers across the country that have taken on the most COVID-19 cases, the company announced Friday.
Coram is initially partnering with UCLA Health to identify eligible patients who rely on IV therapy for hydration and nutrition, anti-infectives and specialty medications for chronic conditions, among other uses. It plans to scale the approach nationwide, working alongside home health agencies that will help treat and manage the sickest patients.
"We're able to create a clinically appropriate and safe in-home care setting, so hospitals can focus on treating those impacted by COVID-19," Dr. Sree Chaguturu, chief medical officer of CVS Caremark and CVS Specialty, said in prepared remarks. "Amid this unprecedented public health challenge, home can be the safest place for patients recovering from a range of illnesses and can also help minimize their risk of contracting COVID-19."
Home infusion therapy is the intravenous delivery of certain medications, such as chemotherapy, using a pump in a patient's home. Coram is working with payers to boost access to this type of care during the pandemic, including simplifying the processing requirements that may inhibit same-day hospital discharge, a company spokesperson said. CVS and the insurer Aetna merged in late 2018.
In response to COVID-19, Coram said it has improved its clinical monitoring and telehealth capacity to boost its in-home support, care coordination and administration of medications and supplies.
Hospitals have been looking to adapt and free up as much space as they can to accommodate an influx of critically ill patients battling coronavirus. In California, for instance, the state is working to add 50,000 hospital beds to make enough room for anticipated COVID-19 patients, about 30,000 of which will come from existing hospitals.
"Unprecedented challenges require innovative thinking and partnership as well as swift action," Prem Shah, executive vice president of CVS Specialty and product innovation, said in prepared remarks.