In a new policy brief, America’s Essential Hospitals examines how essential hospitals are providing hospital-level care at home and leveraging this level of care to improve health equity.
The ability to provide hospital-level care at home has been an essential tool to handle case surges during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) and can improve access and equity outside of a public health crisis.
Essential hospitals understand the far-reaching benefits of hospital-at-home programs for their patient population—often those of lower socioeconomic status, with comorbidities and complex social needs. The ability to provide care in the home presents a unique opportunity to treat a patient’s clinical diagnosis while mitigating social determinants of health that can affect outcomes. As federal policymakers continue to focus on health equity, hospital-at-home programs offer a new vehicle for integrating nonmedical, social needs into acute care.
- Hospital-at-home initiatives can decrease mortality, lower health care costs, and improve patient satisfaction but historically have operated on a small scale, due to a lack of reimbursement.
- Providing hospital-level care at home through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Acute Hospital Care at Home waiver has helped manage case surges during the COVID-19 PHE.
- Federal policymakers have shown interest in extending beyond the PHE the hospital-at-home waiver program, which currently supports more than 200 hospitals in 34 states.
- Essential hospitals across the United States have leveraged hospital-at-home programs to create capacity while also targeting social determinants of health and improving equity.