UnityPoint Health and Henry Ford Health System Extend SNF and Hospital Home Care Services with New Partnerships

Two healthcare systems this week announced new partnerships with technology providers aimed at increasing their ability to extend skilled, high-acuity care to patients’ homes.

The first, announced Wednesday, is a collaboration between UnityPoint at Home, a Des Moines subsidiary, Iowa-based UnityPoint Health, and WellSky, a healthcare and community care coordination technology company.

This agreement will allow UnityPoint at Home to expand its skilled nursing home program with the support of the WellSky platform and the network of more than 4,000 personal care agencies.

The other, announced Thursday, will see Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System build and launch home hospital, home SNF, and home hospice programs for its communities alongside provider Contessa. home recovery care. services and a subsidiary of Amedisys.

Announcements from both healthcare systems have highlighted lower costs, stronger outcomes, and more comfortable patient experiences that technology-based home care programs can deliver.

The systems and their new partners have also highlighted the desirability of these offerings, which can help hospitals affected by the pandemic manage capacity levels by providing comparable services beyond their campuses.

RELATED: Amedisys Takes Home Hospital Provider Contessa Health in $ 250 Million Deal

“Although we started to see a shift to home care before COVID-19, the pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the movement,” WellSky CEO Bill Miller told Fierce Healthcare in an emailed statement.

“Home SNF models will continue to gain traction as critical investments are made, including an unprecedented number of dollars entering the US government system that are designed to displace home care. This investment, coupled with the economic benefits of better quality and lower costs, can improve outcomes for people and allow them to age with dignity and age in place, ”he said.

UnityPoint at Home already provides home health, palliative care, infusion therapy, rehabilitation and home medical equipment services to patients in Iowa and Illinois, according to its announcement.

The group said they had found success with a home hospital model first implemented in 2018 that reduced the escalation of 30-day emergency room visits from 27% to 6% and saved 904,000 $ in emergency and hospital costs.

Now, through the centralized coordination of clinical home care, home medical equipment and telehealth, UnityPoint and WellSky say the SNF-at-home program will be able to “fill the caregiver gap” and ” assist eligible patients in their activities of daily living.

“For UnityPoint at Home, launching an SNF-at-Home program was clearly a next step after seeing the success and impressive results of our home hospital program,” said Mag VanOosten, President and Clinical Director of UnityPoint at Home. Fierce Healthcare in an emailed statement. “Our goal is always to provide the right level of care in the right setting, and we know that for many people, that setting is at home. This is just one more way to provide quality care to patients in need and we expect the demand to continue to grow. “

The partners will first introduce the SNF at home program to UnityPoint patients covered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ responsible care organization models, according to the announcement. They plan to expand support to other payers and patient populations “in the future”.

Henry Ford is also keen to capitalize on the reported success of Contessa’s home care model. According to the announcement, Contessa’s approach reduces readmission rates by 44%, decreases the average length of hospital stay by 35% and has a patient satisfaction score above 90%.

RELATED: Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente to Step Up Home Hospital Efforts with $ 100 Million Investment in Medically Home

The partners plan to offer a hospital-at-home program for patients with several types of acute care problems who choose to receive care virtually or in person rather than in hospital.

The SNF at home offer will be made available to those who would be eligible for rehabilitation and other care in a standard SNF, while the palliative home care program will combine care services with social support services. and 24 hour home services. physical, emotional and spiritual support at home.

All three programs are expected to go live at Henry Ford Hospital in December and expand to other hospitals in the system across the board.

“There has never been a more important time for us to collaborate with our patients and members throughout their healthcare journey and provide them with the choices they want and need,” said Wright Lassiter III, President and CEO of Henry Ford Health System. “We are thrilled to partner with Contessa for this opportunity to build on our strong home health care foundation and further integrate the care and coverage we provide to improve the experience and outcomes our clients deserve. “

The acute home care space received a blow in the arm during the COVID-19 pandemic when regulators relaxed restrictions on telehealth and other models of home treatment.

The result has been a wave of partnerships and program launches among healthcare provider organizations.

In May, for example, Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente announced a $ 100 million investment in and new deployments of Medically Home’s technology-driven home care delivery model. Soon after, AdventHealth extended its existing collaboration with DispatchHealth, another market player.

In addition to growing their businesses throughout the pandemic, WellSky and Contessa have also been at the heart of some recent merger and acquisition activity.

The former announced in August that it would acquire Healthify, a startup that connects providers with community-based social service organizations, to scale up its initiatives on the social determinants of health. Terms of the contract are not disclosed.

A few months earlier, Contessa had been acquired in a $ 250 million deal by home, palliative and personal care company Amedisys, which said at the time that the platform would allow the company to expand its capabilities and differentiate itself in the national home care market.

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