Providers are evolving to offer home care during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here's how they're doing it

Home care nurse giving patient physical therapy
Home health providers have had to adjust how they deliver care and take care of themselves in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. (Getty/Photodisc)

Provider groups that specialize in home care delivery are still sending healthcare workers to treat patients in their homes but have adopted new innovations, including telehealth and increased testing, to ensure safety.

A report provided exclusively (PDF) to FierceHealthcare from the Better Medicare Alliance, which advocates for Medicare Advantage (MA) policies, shares how many of its members including providers, insurers and nonprofits are making new innovations in patient care.

One of the providers profiled in the report is ConcertoHealth, a group that provides individual care to at-risk populations, which is continuing to offer in-person, field-based care to frail and vulnerable patients in their homes.

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ConcertoHealth said in the report that it is still providing care to patients that are COVID-19-positive as well.

“We can perform telehealth as well as home-based treatment of COVID-19 positive patients, even to support the transition of care efforts post-hospitalization,” said Robin Tam, senior vice president for strategy and business development, in the report. “We also facilitate transitions of care through facility rounding.”

Tam also detailed the moves ConcertoHealth is making to ensure the safety of the group’s healthcare workers, a major concern when treating patients at home or in the hospital.

“We have been observing best practices … including daily health checks and taking universal precautions when entering congregate home settings with pre-screening and full use of personal protective equipment,” Tam said. “We are partnering with county health departments to deliver in-home COVID-19 testing to residents and caregivers in these high-risk living situations."

ConcertoHealth is also working to support the transition of care out of the hospital for COVID-19 patients.

In-home medical provider Landmark Health, like many other provider groups, has shifted heavily to telehealth. Over the second half of March, Landmark said it saw a 1,267% increase in the company’s telehealth visits across 14 states.

The group still seeks to provide medical care for people that need in-person treatments.

RELATED: Half of physicians now using telehealth as COVID-19 changes practice operations

Physician practice ChenMed also has sought to boost its use of telehealth during the outbreak, sending out personal iPads to patients to use for virtual appointments.

The practice’s doctors and nurses are also working with food banks to deliver food to their patients.

Visiting Nurse Service of New York, a nonprofit home and community-based healthcare provider, started on April 1 accepting patients that have been diagnosed with COVID-19 for home care or hospice services.

“This means that patients who can safely go home—under their nurses’ trusted care—are able to recover in comfortable, familiar surroundings,” the report said.

Some MA plans are also working to assist in home-based care.

SCAN Health Plan, a California-based MA plan, is offering a home delivery pharmacy service that offers 90-day supplies of many medications for free, the report said.