As more health systems are operating or planning hospital-at-home programs, leaders of some of those programs see the opportunity to improve health equity.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has allowed health systems to provide treatment, including acute care, in patients’ homes, with certain conditions. Health systems involved with those programs say they are seeing encouraging clinical outcomes and the potential for financial benefits, including freeing up in-patient capacity for those who truly need to be in the hospital.
But at a time when healthcare organizations are facing growing pressure to do more to close disparities in outcomes among underserved groups, some doctors say hospital-at-home programs could offer better care for patients in minority groups and those with lower incomes. More than 270 hospitals in 37 states are now providing acute care at home, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.