Just two weeks shy of its three-month anniversary, Moving Health Home, a coalition pushing for more clinical care done at home, has already tripled its membership and sharpened its policy focus in Washington.
Moving Health Home Executive Director Krista Drobac told McKnight’s Home Care Daily the coalition is lobbying Congress for a two-year extension of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospitals Without Walls program. Launched in March of 2020, the program allows hospitals to get waivers to provide care outside of their walls during the pandemic.
“The extension would give us time to convince Congress that we need a hospital-at-home program in the statute,” Drobac explained. “We don’t want to build programs based on waivers. We need more time to work on what worked and what didn’t work during the pandemic. Then, when we go back to normal times, what does a hospital-at-home program look like during normal times?”
Moving Health Home debuted in early March with eight founding healthcare companies, including Amazon Health, Signify Health, Home Instead and Ascension. It has since expanded to include two dozen companies. The latest firm to sign up, home care franchise Right at Home, announced Monday it was joining the coalition.
Moving Health Home believes in-home care provides an opportunity to deliver more clinical care holistically in a manner that more people prefer.
The movement to in-home clinical care was underway even before the pandemic. Some hospitals had already begun piloting hospital-at-home programs. Today, nearly 130 hospitals have launched programs under the CMS Hospitals Without Walls program. Additionally, the Advancing American Kidney Health Initiative, launched by former President Donald Trump in 2019, is driving more dialysis treatment into homes.
Signify Health’s Vice President of Medical Affairs, Damien Doyle, M.D., told McKnight’s Home Care Daily diagnostic services have increasingly been moving out of traditional medical facilities and into homes.
“You can do things like hemoglobin A1C (tests) in the home for diabetics and monitor that to make sure they are tightly controlled versus having patients come into clinics where they have transportation issues and other issues,” Doyle said.
Recently, Signify Health polled 1,100 people and found more than half had trouble accessing medical care during the pandemic and two-thirds expressed interest in receiving care at home.
Drobac said the U.S. healthcare system and payers need to bundle services for the chronically ill, as well as those in need of hospital-level care, primary care and mental health services. She said the job of Moving Health Home is educating the public about its healthcare options.
“People don’t think of the home as a site for care. They think of institutional care, so our first order of business is to say to people ‘look at the care that happened in the home during the pandemic.’ People want it and providers want it,” Drobac said.