Tech and Home Health Companies Unite to Push for Long-term Policy Changes

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

A group of healthcare stakeholders — Amazon Care, Intermountain Healthcare and Ascension, to name a few — has created an alliance to advocate for home-based care services through policy changes.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary policy changes have been enacted to support the use of home-based clinical care. The ongoing recognition of the value and efficacy of home care programs has prompted large companies and other stakeholder groups to advocate for these policies to remain. Home-based medical care continues to become prevalent as its many benefits are realized by many. Contact Sena Health today to find out more about receiving customer-centric, hospital-level care in the comfort of your home!

Photo: SDI Productions, Getty Images

By Anuja Vaidya

Demand for home care accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic, and though regulations were passed to support this shift, they remain temporary.

A group of providers, technology firms and home healthcare companies have joined forces to establish an alliance that aims to make those changes permanent. Launched on Wednesday, the founding members include Amazon Care, Signify Health, DispatchHealth, Intermountain Healthcare and Ascension.

The alliance, called Moving Health Home, will focus on changing the way policymakers think about the home as a site of clinical service. The group’s policy priorities include:

  • Advocating for Medicare coverage of higher-acuity home-based services, such as emergency services.

  • Making the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ “Hospital without Walls” flexibility permanent — which will enable providers to transfer or treat patients in home-based settings when clinically appropriate.

  • Ensuring equal access for seniors through fair reimbursement for home-based evaluation and monitoring codes.

  • Advocating for a bundled payment model for extended care in the home.

  • Encouraging greater flexibility for home-based care services to meet commercial and Medicare Advantage network adequacy standards.

“At Intermountain Healthcare, we know it is important to provide the best possible care in the setting that works for not only the caregiver but the patient as well,” said Lance Madigan, spokesperson for Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare, in an email.

Home-based clinical care is not a novel concept. The healthcare industry has been lumbering toward this care option for the past decade.

Now, post-Covid, the move to home-based care is on steroids with regular announcements from payers and providers of new programs to make this a reality. Home care start-up DispatchHealth recently struck a deal with national payer Humana and also became a health tech unicorn, passing $1.7 billion in valuation.

The trend has been buoyed by the government expanding regulations and reimbursement to enable home-based clinical care for higher-acuity conditions.

But what happens after the pandemic ends, despite the gains made, is a cause for concern for those involved in the alliance.

“Once the emergency authority of the public health emergency ends, we will go back to a payment system that doesn’t fit the new models that have developed,” said Krista Drobac, executive director of Moving Health Home, in an email. “We have to educate policymakers on what’s possible and share evidence about how home-based clinical care is working.”

Policymakers have to catch up to what the investors have figured out already. They poured $100 million into in-home primary care startup Heal last year.

Link to original article posted on March 11, 2021 | MedCity News


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