Last summer, Resilient Healthcare CEO Jackleen Samuel vowed to start providing hospital-at-home services to rural communities. She’s made good on that promise. Within the next few weeks, the Plano, TX-based acute home health company will start providing hospital-at-home services for three rural Texas hospitals that are part of the MidCoast Health System.
“Essentially, we are connecting these hospitals with a virtual platform and a deliverable system to be able to serve their population where their population is,” Samuel told McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse.
Resilient Health’s Rural Health Initiative (RHI) is a two-pronged program of in-home care. In addition to hospital-at-home, RHI also offers community outreach, which includes remote patient monitoring, in-home therapy, telehealth and other home health services.
“We had one patient because of the limited resources in the rural market needed a 40-day IV infusion,” Samuel explained. “She would have had to go to the hospital ER every day and wait for someone to infuse her. Instead of doing that, we are bringing the infusion to her home and coordinating it with the hospital.”
Hospital-at-home is part of the fast-growing in-home healthcare market which business consulting firm McKinsey & Company estimates will provide $265 billion in care services to Medicare beneficiaries by 2025. Rural communities offer enormous opportunities for hospital-at-home. According to a recent report by the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform, 150 rural hospitals closed between 2015 and 2019. Another 600 hospitals are in danger of closing in the near future due to persistent financial losses and low financial reserves.
The potential for rural hospital-at-home is already attracting big players. Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital is partnering with Harvard University on a three-year home hospital pilot. Hospital-at-home firm Contessa — now a division of home care giant Amedisys — is also considering a push into rural communities.
Still, there are challenges to bringing hospital-at-home to outlying areas. Many rural communities lack reliable internet access, making it difficult to connect patients virtually to providers 75 to 100 miles away. Some rural areas also lack therapists, nurses, pharmacists and other staff that need to be deployed into the home.
“We contract where it’s necessary and where there is a community provider. If it is not here, we stand it up ourselves,” Samuel said.
There are also no guarantees that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will continue extending waivers for its hospital without walls program after the COVID-19 pandemic ends. Still, Samuel is confident about the future for hospital-at-home and Resilient’s prospects for expanding its RHI beyond the Lone Star State.