person in bed

A statewide collaboration between New York hospitals and home health agencies could provide a national blueprint for treating patients at home, rather than hospitals or long-term care facilities.

“Collaboration is really the future vision and the engine of healthcare transformation,” Home Care Association of New York President Al Cardillo explained during a webinar Thursday, touting the success of a hospital-homecare collaboration piloted last year during the pandemic.

The Home Care Association of New York, the Healthcare Association of New York and Iroquois Healthcare Association, which represents 50 upstate New York healthcare systems, are beginning the second phase of a statewide initiative through a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.

During the pilot for the hospital-homecare collaboration, Catholic Health Services and Catholic Home Care on Long Island treated approximately 800 COVID-19 patients at home with a team of primary care physicians and home health nurses who provided in-person and telehealth visits. Only about 3% of patients required a trip to the hospital and the program received an overall patient satisfaction rate of 97%.

More partnerships

New York’s collaboration comes as an increasing number of home care and home health agencies are partnering with health systems on various in-home acute care and hospital-at-home programs. Like many states, New York is also facing a supply/demand imbalance when it comes to healthcare workers. That makes care collaboration even more essential according to Iroquois Healthcare Association Vice President of Special Services Eileen Murphy.

“Many of our organizations are facing severe staffing shortages in upstate New York that could be exacerbated by the vaccination mandate that takes effect in two weeks,” Murphy explained. “More than ever we need to use scarce resources as efficiently as possible to ensure that we, as healthcare provider organizations, provide high quality access at the local level.”

24/7 access key

Anthony Ardito, M.D., primary care services vice president for Catholic Health Services, said providing patients 24/7 access to a clinician was crucial to the program’s success.

“When we get that phone call at 1 in the morning that a patient is short of breath, the typical response is to send them to the emergency room,” Ardito said. “Our providers were trained at that point to manage these patients at home, using remote patient monitoring data, engaging with home care nurses and being available 24/7.”

The Home Care Association of New York said the success of the program with COVID-19 patients proves that it could be used to treat other patients as well.