Amazon Health and Others Form Group to Push for More At-Home Care

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed nearly every aspect of healthcare, including home health treatment. Technological and other advances have made in possible to provide high quality, safe care to patients at home.

Now a group of healthcare providers, value-based care companies and Amazon’s in-house telehealth service is calling for changes in reimbursement so care provided in people’s homes can be paid for. It is time to “change reimbursement models and the culture around institutional care to allow for Americans to choose their home as a site of care,” the newly-formed organization Moving Health Home said in a press release.

Founding members of the coalition, include Amazon Care, Landmark Health, Signify Health, Dispatch Health, Elara Caring, Intermountain Healthcare, Home Instead and Ascension.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the untapped potential of home-based clinical care, noted the press release, which mentioned that care delivered at home can range from primary care to hospital-level treatment.

“The advent of telehealth, remote monitoring, digital therapeutics, provider home visiting, medical records sharing, and other technology has shown that care in the home can be at least equivalent to, if not better than, care offered in facilities,” the newly formed organization said.

Re-locating healthcare so more of it occurs in people’s homes could reduce healthcare spending. CMS estimated home healthcare in Medicare saves at least $378 million a year in just the 9 states that are part of the Home Health Value Based Purchasing innovation program through a reduction on unnecessary hospitalizations and skilled nursing facility usage, Moving Health Home Spokesperson Kristen Ratcliff McGovern told Managed Healthcare Executive®.

Almost 1 in 5 Medicare beneficiaries have six or more chronic conditions, so in-home, patient-centered care is “critical to managing the complex health needs of our nation's older adults,” said Nick Loporcaro, Landmark Health CEO, in the press release.

Among several other initiatives, Moving Health Home will be pushing for CMS and the Congress to retain the hospital-without-walls site of care flexibilities permitted during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“We know 48 health systems and 109 hospitals have already taken advantage of Acute Hospital Care at Home flexibilities, greatly expanding patient access to home-based hospital services,” Ratcliff McGovern said. “However, without policy change, these flexibilities are set to expire after the PHE (public health emergency).”