No Place Like Home: House Calls Enable Homebound Older Adults To Receive Care During COVID-19
National nonprofit equips healthcare providers and practices with resources to provide home-based primary care
SCHAUMBURG, IL | Dec. 3, 2020 | PRNewswire
Primary care “house calls,” in which clinicians deliver care directly in a patient’s home, can be a critical lifeline for homebound older adults, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. With at least two million vulnerable older adults in the United States, experts say house calls ensure access to care for those most at risk and in need of undisrupted care.
The nonprofit Home Centered Care Institute (HCCI) is dedicated to creating universal access to best practice house call programs and establishing and expanding home care offerings. HCCI provides the education, consulting, research, and other technical assistance needed to expand home-based primary care availability nationally.
During house call visits, physicians, nurse practitioners or physician assistants perform examinations, prescribe treatments, and provide needed immunizations and tests. They also review patients’ prescriptions, check that older adults are receiving adequate nutrition, identify potential fall hazards, screen for signs of elder abuse, and offer an opportunity for caregivers to learn how to perform care tasks, among other responsibilities.
“House calls dramatically improve patient outcomes, lower healthcare costs, and help family caregivers correctly provide homebound, and often immunocompromised, older adults with complex care without having to leave their homes,” said Thomas Cornwell, M.D., executive chairman of HCCI. “This can also save older adults from needless and expensive visits to the hospital, which is especially critical in the midst of a pandemic.”
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data show half of Medicare spending is driven by just 5 percent of its beneficiaries—those who are frail, disabled, medically complex or chronically ill and often homebound, and disproportionately use hospital or emergency room care. House calls can dramatically reduce these expenses, according to HCCI.
These cost savings were further demonstrated by a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services initiative that tested home-based primary care for the most frail and costly Medicare beneficiaries to reduce Medicare costs and help complex patients age in the place they call home. Providing primary care at home for the 50,000 older adults in the study saved Medicare more than $100 million in the initiative’s first five years.
“Given the cost savings and health outcomes, house calls provide a great opportunity for the healthcare system to improve care for older adults, and save taxpayers money,” says Dr. Cornwell. “Home-based primary care should be the national standard for treating medically complex patients.”
To learn more, visit HCCInstitute.org.
Senior Director, Marketing and Communications
HCCI is proudly supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation, a private, nonpartisan, national philanthropy dedicated to improving the care of older adults. The leader in the field of aging and health, the Foundation has three priority areas: creating age-friendly health systems, supporting family caregivers, and improving serious illness and end-of-life care.
The Home Centered Care Institute (HCCI) is a national non-profit 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 home. HCCI works with leading academic medical centers, health systems, practices of all sizes, and industry experts to raise awareness of and advocate for greater access to this innovative model of care. HCCI is expanding the home-based primary care workforce through education, training, consulting, and developing a research-based model for sustainable house call program implementation and growth. For more information, visit www.HCCInstitute.org and follow @HCCInstitute.