Hospital-at-home admissions continue to rise

More healthcare organizations are turning to the "hospital-at-home" model for chronically ill patients with acute medical issues to improve quality and lower costs, USA Today and Kaiser Health News reported.

Under the model, doctors examine the patient daily, while nurses and aides visit up to three times a day. But if a patient's condition worsens, an ambulance can transport the patient to the hospital, the article noted.

Healthcare organizations still considering the concept should look to New Mexico-based Presbyterian Healthcare Services and the nation's largest hospital-at-home program. It has found that providing hospital-level care in the patient's home eased hospital crowding and reduced hospitalizations. Moreover, the home-based care had patient outcomes comparable or better than baseline measures for the traditional hospital setting and saved between $2,000 and $3,000 per clinical episode, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

With such quality improvements and cost savings, it's no surprise hospital-at-home programs are springing up around the country. For instance, Colorado's Centura Health system is opening a hospital-at-home experiment this summer, and the Veterans Health Administration is launching hospital-at-home programs in Philadelphia and Honolulu, according to USA Today and KHN.

In addition to patients being happier with receiving care at home, their families like the home-based model as well. A survey from Croydon Health Services in Greater London found that families with sick or disabled children praised its hospital-at-home team as "valuable," "coming to the rescue," and "helping in anyway possible," reported the Croydon Guardian.

As of now, Medicare's fee-for-service system doesn't reimburse hospital-at-home care, according to USA Today and KHN. But the industry shift towards value-based purchasing may make home-based care a more attractive delivery model for hospitals looking to treat chronically ill patients while controlling costs.

To learn more:
- read the USA Today/KHN article
- here's the Croydon Guardian article