Home health care is making a rapid shift to support home telehealth, now that many home health professionals have experienced firsthand how it not only can save lives, but extend other much-needed telemental health services. One of the many forms of home health technology, remote patient monitoring (RPM), has become quite popular in home health settings. In fact, remote patient monitoring has surged 38 times since pre-pandemic levels. Medicare home health is particularly promising for seniors and other Medicare recipients.
Who’s Paying for Telehealth Home Health?
Medicare still does not reimburse home health agencies for telehealth, but that hasn’t stopped the agencies from using the technology to cater to increasing consumer demand for virtual visits. As a result, telehealth adoption is on the rise in home health despite reimbursement roadblocks. For instance, over the last 16 months, AccentCare, a leader in post-acute home healthcare services, has accelerated its use of telemedicine to address care gaps and assist hospitals in discharging patients faster. Telehealth proved far more successful than AccentCare leaders initially anticipated. The Dallas-based company currently has over 253 locations in 30 states, providing in-home care to more than 200,000 people.
AccentCare has incorporated telehealth into its health services in an array of ways. The multi-state provider of post-acute care is also making telehealth a priority to reduce hospital stays. Moreover, AccentCare joined hands with Brittain-Kalish Group to analyze the differences between traditional in-person visits and hybrid visits (which combine both virtual visits and in-person visits) to obtain a deeper understanding of telehealth’s impact. Nearly 1,400 patients participated in the study, among whom 314 belonged to the hybrid group. The study revealed that there was a significant reduction in hospitalizations in both the 30-day and 60-day time periods among patients following the hybrid model. Furthermore, patients in the hybrid model showed better clinical outcomes across a variety of measures, such as ambulation, pain mitigation, and medication management.
In light of the ongoing pandemic, telehealth has become a popular option, allowing care providers to avoid closed or overcrowded hospitals and clinics and treat patients in the comfort of their own homes. Consumers of telehealth home health, as well as their caregivers, have become accustomed to sitting with the technology to connect to their clinicians. As far as long-term care is concerned, telehealth will most likely survive, especially if initiatives such as the Choose Home Care Act of 2021 become a reality.
What is the Choose Home Care Act of 2021?
The Choose Home Care Act of 2021 was introduced in the U.S. Senate to enable patients to select a Medicare home health benefit that would allow them to go home after a hospital stay with a wider array of home health benefits than conventional home health.
The Road Ahead
Telehealth opens up entirely new possibilities in the home health industry. Since we are embracing the new normal of social distancing, home health agencies can rely on telehealth services to reduce their expenditures on personal protective equipment during the pandemic. What’s more, virtual visits can provide agencies and patients the protection they deserve from unwanted elements without affecting patients’ outcomes. With the number of COVID-19 cases fluctuating in the US, the telehealth market is poised to grow over the next few years.
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Introduction to Telehealth Theory & Practice
Enjoy a fast-moving overview of telebehavioral and telemental health. Understand the key points related to telehealth clinical, legal, ethical, technology, reimbursement, social media and other pivotal issues.