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    Friday, August 12, 2022

    Yale New Haven Health launches home hospital care program

    Yale New Haven Health announced Monday it is partnering with Medically Home, a private, Boston-based company, to provide high-acuity, hospital-level care to patients in their homes.

    Initially, the Home Hospital program will serve Medicare patients meeting certain clinical and social stability criteria who live within 25 miles of Yale New Haven and Bridgeport hospitals, the health system said in a news release, adding that it expects to expand the program to other hospitals in its system in the future.

    It was not immediately clear if and when the program will be made available to patients living near Lawrence + Memorial and Westerly hospitals, which are part of the Yale New Haven Health system.

    The program will provide acute care to patients who would otherwise need to be hospitalized. Patients will be in the program for two to six days, on average, then transition back into the care of their primary care physician, Yale New Haven said. Through a combination of in-person visits and telehealth technology, the program will bring a range of hospital services to the homes of patients with heart failure, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cellulitis and other conditions.

    “Many patients prefer to be cared for in their homes,” Dr. Olukemi Akande, who will co-lead the program with Dr. Scott Sussman, said in a statement. “With the growth of telehealth and other mobile health technologies, we can provide a high level of care and 24/7 accessibility to these patients.”

    Each patient will receive a physician video visit once a day through a Wi-Fi-enabled tablet, in-person visits from a nurse twice a day plus additional nurse home visits as needed. Other health care professionals will provide in-home infusion therapy; physical, occupational and speech therapy; phlebotomy; mobile diagnostic services such as X-rays and echocardiograms; behavioral health care; and nutrition services, Yale New Haven Health said. Imaging and intravenous services will be available for urgent situations.

    A Home Hospital “mission control” staffed by nurses and physicians will remotely monitor all program patients and will be available around the clock to handle questions and concerns raised by patients and family members. In addition, each patient will have a personal emergency response device.

    The number of home hospital care programs has dramatically increased since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as hospitals have sought to treat patients with the disease while trying to keep others from catching it. The pandemic prompted the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to launch its Acute Hospital Care at Home waiver program, designed to give hospitals greater flexibility to care for patients in their homes, freeing up hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.

    Home hospital programs can also help reduce overall hospital overcrowding, according to health systems.

    Yale New Haven Health hospitals, like many others across the country, are facing significant capacity issues as they treat more and sicker patients who delayed care during the pandemic’s height, Yale New Haven Health said.

    “Just as telehealth has transformed outpatient care, it is helping us rethink the way we provide inpatient care,” Sussman said. “We can provide the same high-quality care in patients’ homes, reduce the risk of hospital-related complications and enhance our patients’ experience by caring for them in familiar surroundings.”

    Proposed federal legislation would ensure that home hospital programs remain an option for patients of the more than 225 hospitals that have received a Medicare waiver to pay for it, Medically Home reported Monday on its website. “Its passage is also expected to lead to new hospital-at-home programs from health systems that until now have been watching developments from the sidelines," it said.

    b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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