Amazon, Intermountain and Ascension Lead Push to Expand Home-Based Care

Amazon, Intermountain and Ascension Lead Push to Expand Home-Based Care. A seated home-health nurse wearing a surgical mask and nitrile gloves speaks with a patient wearing an oxygen mask in the patient's home.With hospital-at-home programs gaining momentum during the pandemic, some of the largest providers in this space are joining forces to push for expanding the way home-based services are financed. Amazon Care, Intermountain Healthcare, Ascension and several home-based health companies recently formed Moving Health Home (MHH). The coalition wants to change state and federal policy to enable the home to be a point of clinical service.

MHH also plans to advocate for:

  • Expanding services covered in a home-based setting.
  • Retaining “Hospitals Without Walls” site-of-care flexibility to support home-based hospital services.
  • Bundled payment models for extended care in the home.
  • Encouraging greater flexibility for home-based services to meet commercial and Medicare Advantage network standards.

Patients across the country have seen the benefit of hospital-at-home care, particularly during COVID-19. In Intermountain’s Connect Care program, 90% of Medicare participants preferred the hospital-at-home program to traditional hospital care, Kerry Palakanis, executive director of the program, told Modern Healthcare. He added that preliminary data from patients who opted for home-based care show the same, if not better, outcomes. Explore AHA’s hospital-at-home resources for more insights into how hospitals are implementing this innovative care model.

Amazon Care’s participation in the coalition is noteworthy as the online retail giant continues to expand on offering home-based care options to some of its employees. After piloting a virtual care clinic and home-based care services in 2018 for its Seattle-area employees, the company last September began scaling the Amazon Care program to include all employees and their dependents in Washington state. The program, which is contracted with Washington-based Care Medical, allows Amazon Care enrollees to coordinate visits from a mobile care nurse, who can conduct in-person health exams, testing and treatment, among other services.

Just how far the online retailer will go in expanding Amazon Care remains to be seen, but the company reportedly has been quietly gearing up to do business in 17 more states, according to a recent Stat report. The company has not responded to questions about whether Amazon Care services will continue to be limited to Amazon employees.

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