Allegheny Health Network Launches Healthcare@HomeNew Program Uniquely Integrates a Spectrum of Home-Based Health Services

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Creating an innovative, one-stop-shopping experience for patients who require home-based healthcare services, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) has launched Healthcare@Home, a new program that provides patients with well-coordinated access to an extensive array of home and community resources, including home health services, infusion and nutrition therapy, medical equipment and supplies, hospice and palliative care.

Healthcare@Home is a game changer for the western Pennsylvania region and yet another example of AHN’s and Highmark’s commitment to caring for patients in settings that are most conducive to a better overall healthcare experience.

Creating an innovative, one-stop-shopping experience for patients who require home-based healthcare services, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) has launched Healthcare@Home, a new program that provides patients with well-coordinated access to an extensive array of home and community resources, including home health services, infusion and nutrition therapy, medical equipment and supplies, hospice and palliative care.

“Healthcare@Home is a game changer for the western Pennsylvania region and yet another example of AHN’s and Highmark’s commitment to caring for patients in settings that are most conducive to a better overall healthcare experience, improved outcomes and quality of life,” said Tony Farah, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Allegheny Health Network.

According to Brian Holzer, MD, Senior Vice President of Home and Community Services at AHN, patients and their caregivers typically have to navigate a maze of multiple agencies and service providers to manage the complex transition from a hospital or skilled nursing facility back to their homes.

“With Healthcare@Home, patients and their caregivers can now be directed to one place to manage that transition and get all the care and support they may need,” Dr. Holzer said.

Healthcare@Home evolved from a series of important moves by AHN over the past year to enhance and expand its portfolio of home- and community-based health services.

AHN and Celtic Healthcare announced a joint venture last November that combined each organization’s home health and hospice assets in western Pennsylvania. One month later, AHN established a partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine to acquire a majority ownership of Klingensmith Healthcare, one of western Pennsylvania’s leading suppliers of respiratory and home medical equipment (HME) and related services. AHN also acquired a majority stake in Meadville, Pa.-based Vantage Home Infusion in 2015.

Combining all of these services under one umbrella has allowed AHN to simplify the process for patients and their caregivers as they transition from hospitals and skilled nursing facilities back into their homes. And as part of AHN’s broader network of physicians and leading specialty programs in cancer, heart, lung and other diseases, Healthcare@Home is proving to be a critical component of many patients’ coordinated continuum of care and recovery.

“Previously, when a patient left the four walls of our hospitals after being discharged, they often left our network of care,” said Dr. Holzer. “Worse, without easy access to home care services, patients with chronic diseases who could stay in their home often end up in the emergency department or admitted to the hospital. Healthcare@Home strengthens our ability to further influence and improve a patient’s outcome and experience by closing those gaps in post-hospital care and keeping a patient’s care in the home whenever possible.”

Nearly one in five Medicare patients nationwide returns to the hospital within a month of discharge from the hospital, according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data. An American Hospital Association (AHA) national study also showed that patients without adequate post-hospital care transitions were readmitted to the hospital 50 percent more often than those who had coordinated access to those services.

Healthcare@Home’s readmission rates are below Pennsylvania state averages for Medicare patients, Dr. Holzer said.

AHN will perform more than 300,000 home visits in 2015 and expects to close the year with nearly double the average daily patient census compared to pre-Celtic joint venture volumes. Additionally, both Healthcare@Home’s Home Health and Hospice programs have produced strong quality indicators, including a 25 percent improvement in overall 30-day readmission rates, a 40 percent improvement in 30-day readmission rates for high-risk populations with chronic diseases, and a jump from 3.5 to 4 stars in the (CMS) Star Ratings program. Overall, 98 percent of patients surveyed said they would use Healthcare@Home again.

“Helping patients stay out of the hospital and recover well at home is a win-win for everyone and a cornerstone of efforts to create a value-based healthcare system that minimizes the cost of care while driving higher quality and better patient experiences,” Dr. Holzer said. A 2014 survey of the home healthcare market conducted by Launch Factory noted the average daily cost of care as being $145 for home care, $373 for skilled nursing and $1,805 for hospitals.

Healthcare@Home is anchored by a team of Transitional Care Coordinators who are based at AHN and non-AHN hospitals and in the community to facilitate a smooth and safe transition of patients from hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient and surgery centers, and physician offices to their homes. The coordinators, many of whom are registered nurses, serve as a single point of contact for a patient’s complete home care needs, ensuring the coordination and continuity of care needed to help them heal at home.

“We believe our program is designed to play a uniquely collaborative role with community physicians, hospitals, and other facilities that will ultimately improve the quality of care and range of services that they offer to their patients,” explained Dr. Holzer. “Our focus is always on doing what’s best for the patient. By helping providers who partner with us maximize the effectiveness and efficiencies of the home-based services they can offer, we are both better able to fulfill our shared goals for the patients and their caregivers.”

Those who want more information about AHN’s new Healthcare@Home program can ask their physician, visit the program’s web site (http://www.healthcareathome.com) or Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/AHNHealthcareatHome), or call 800-381-8080.

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About Allegheny Health Network
Allegheny Health Network, part of Highmark Health, is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the Western Pennsylvania region. The Network is comprised of eight hospitals, including its flagship academic medical center Allegheny General Hospital, Allegheny Valley Hospital, Canonsburg Hospital, Forbes Hospital, Jefferson Hospital, Saint Vincent Hospital, Westfield Memorial Hospital and West Penn Hospital; a research institute; Health + Wellness Pavilions; an employed physician organization, home and community based health services and a group purchasing organization. The Network employs approximately 17,500 people and has more than 2,100 physicians on its medical staff. The Network also serves as a clinical campus for Temple University School of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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Doug Braunsdorf
Allegheny Health Network
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