Hospital at Home model gains steam as Mt. Sinai program cuts costs, readmissions

Cutting readmissions and reducing medical errors, the nation's third-leading cause of death, are among the healthcare industry's top priorities, and the secret to solving both may be stepping up home care, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Nearly two years ago, New York's Mt. Sinai Hospital premiered the Mobile Acute Care Team (MACT) program. This pilot program aims to deliver hospital-quality home care for patients who are at high risk for readmission. So far, the ongoing pilot has cut costs by nearly 20 percent, according to the article, while also reducing an unspecified percentage of readmissions and delivering high patient satisfaction.

Under the program, Mt. Sinai partners with community institutions such as Visiting Nurse Service of New York to provide home treatment for such conditions as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure, diabetes and urinary tract infections, according to a blog post from the hospital. "This is a real paradigm shift in medicine," Mt. Sinai's Linda DeCherrie, M.D., told OPB.  People will often say on first glance, 'That sounds so great that we should definitely do that,' but when you really get into it, it's a totally different way of providing care."

Medicare's refusal to cover hospital-at-home services has kept many such programs from getting off the ground, but the Center for Medicaid & Medicaid Services' Innovation Center awarded the MACT project $9.6 million in 2014 as part of its second round of Health Care Innovation Awards.

Nor is the MACT program the only example of such a program working; an internal analysis of the Humana At Home care management service found it cut hospitalizations among participants 45 percent while boosting survival rates, according to Open Minds. Those Hospital at Home programs that have demonstrated consistent success have been connected to primary- and palliative care programs as well as disease-management programs, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the OPB article
- here's the Mt. Sinai blog post
- read the CMS announcement
- check out the Open Minds post

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