With new cases of COVID-19 surging nationwide, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced the inclusion of six health systems to its Hospitals Without Walls program. The initiative was launched earlier this year to let hospitals treat COVID-19 patients at home.
The systems, which all have extensive experience with providing acute hospital care at home, include Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Massachusetts); Huntsman Cancer Institute (Utah); Massachusetts General Hospital (Massachusetts); Mount Sinai Health System (New York City); Presbyterian Healthcare Services (New Mexico); and UnityPoint Health (Iowa). This immediately expands the at-home care options for Medicare beneficiaries in the regions served by these organizations. CMS has been in discussions with other healthcare systems and expects new applications to be submitted.
While discussing federal efforts to enable greater participation by health systems in the hospital-at-home strategy, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said, “With new areas across the country experiencing significant challenges to the capacity of their health care systems, our job is to make sure that CMS regulations are not standing in the way of patient care for COVID-19 and beyond.”