In Just One Year, More Than 1,700 New Patients Benefiting from Medical ‘House Calls’
National nonprofit celebrates success of the Illinois House Call Project’s 14 medical practices and their ‘Champions’ on providing home-based primary care in the state
June 2023 — In Illinois, medical practice “Champions” of the Home Centered Care Institute’s (HCCI) Illinois House Call Project (ILHCP) have spent the past year working to provide care and close the gap on the nearly 200,000 residents in the state requiring, but not yet receiving, home-based primary care (HBPC). In just one year, these 14 participating practices have provided care to 1,732 new patients, already putting them over halfway to the project’s total three-year goal of serving 3,000 new patients.
Selected in April 2022 by HCCI, a national, Illinois-based nonprofit focused on spreading awareness, and increasing the adoption, of HBPC — also known as “the modern-day house call” — this group of medical Champions is comprised mainly of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and supporting practice leadership and staff. They generally provide primary care services (e.g., annual check-ups, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic conditions, vaccinations) in a patient’s home, or place they call “home,” resulting in improved health outcomes, enhanced quality of life for patients and caregivers, and a reduced overall cost of care, according to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
“When we launched the Illinois House Call Project, we never imagined that the Champions would be able to serve so many new patients in such a short period of time,” said Julie Sacks, president and COO of HCCI. “They are clearly addressing a critical need. Each number served represents a person, most likely someone who is elderly and homebound who had previously been unable to get essential care. Now that person — someone’s mother, grandfather, or sister — is receiving care in the home, reducing personal stress as well as stress on the healthcare system.”
Through the ILHCP, HCCI is providing Champions with ongoing professional education to develop skills and mentorship in best practices as well as in raising awareness about the value of HBPC in their communities. Some of the Illinois Champions are independent professionals, others come from hospital systems, and three are from subspecialty groups, representing dentistry, dermatology, and wound care.
“The first year participating in the Illinois House Call Project has been exciting! We have learned about the many opportunities that exist for our practice and have had the opportunity to meet in-person and virtually, and receive helpful information to improve our processes,” said Letasha Lewis, APN, FNP-c, clinical administrator, and nurse practitioner of Frontier Healthcare Systems. “It has also been helpful to know that we have a team of experts [at HCCI] that we can call on for advice when needed. We have grown and look forward to future possibilities in this program.”
Among the 2.1 million older adults living in Illinois, at least 12% are 85 years of age or older. More than 700,000 residents have ambulatory difficulties, and 40% of Medicare beneficiaries across the state have four or more chronic conditions. Approximately 260,000 individuals are homebound*, with only 26% receiving HBPC. The unmet needs in Illinois are great; as mentioned, it’s estimated that nearly 200,000 residents require HBPC.
“Having completed the first year of the ILHCP, we are now preparing to expand our reach and serve more patients,” Sacks said. “In early 2024, we are planning to select a new cohort that will include hospice and palliative care programs — those that are interested in either adding HBPC or growing an existing HBPC program. Hospice and palliative care programs that add HBPC create opportunities to serve patients earlier in the course of their illness and better integrate HBPC with other aspects of home-based care.”
Learn more at hccinstitute.org.
*Calculated using data from the 2019 American Community Survey 1-year Estimates and a journal article (Ornstein, Katherine A., Bruce Leff, Kenneth E. Covinsky, Christine S. Ritchie, Alex D. Federman, Laken Roberts, Amy S. Kelley, Albert L. Siu, and Sarah L. Szanton. “Epidemiology of the homebound population in the United States.” JAMA internal medicine 175, no. 7 (2015): 1180-1186.)
CONTACT: Arlyn Riskind, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-431-9495
About the Home Centered Care Institute
The Home Centered Care Institute (HCCI) is a national nonprofit organization focused on advancing home-based primary care to ensure that medically complex and homebound or home-limited patients have access to high-quality care in their homes. HCCI works with leading academic medical centers, health systems, and industry experts to raise awareness of and advocate for expanding the model by growing the home-based primary care workforce through education and training and developing a research-based model for sustainable house call program implementation and growth. For more information, visit www.hccinstitute.org.