Expansion follows national hospital at home program growth
(PHOENIX – Sept. 13, 2021) – In a dramatic growth of telehealth across the state and country, two Dignity Health hospitals in Arizona are expanding their existing home recovery care programs thanks to a hospital at home pilot program established by the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Arizona House Bill 2454, passed earlier this year, establishes a three-year pilot program that allows certain patients to receive hospital services in their home via home visits from health care professionals, and telecommunications and digital communication technologies. The law also requires insurance providers such as Medicare to pay for services at the same level as in-person hospital visits. This growing national trend is aimed at providing a safe, comfortable and healing environment for qualifying patients.
Hospital at home is an expansion of an established program that has been in existence for the past two years at Dignity Health’s Mercy Gilbert and Chandler Regional Medical Centers, the first hospitals in Arizona to offer such a service. Plans are underway to introduce the program at additional Dignity Health facilities in Arizona.
“Telehealth has played a crucial role during the pandemic by providing our patients with continued access to health care," says Robin Shepherd, Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive Officer for Dignity Health’s Southwest Division. "And, we have found that our patients who have been part of Dignity Health's home recovery care program have greatly benefitted from and prefer receiving care in their home.”
Patients who are part of Dignity Health’s program are examined in the hospital, and if they meet the certain qualifications, the provider and patient may opt to continue the patient's hospital care at home in a more comfortable and healing environment. Approximately 150 medical conditions have been approved for hospital at home treatment, including patients with some chronic conditions who require frequent low acuity hospital stays.
Per the state guidelines, acute care nurses will visit the patient at home at least twice per day and for no less than 90 minutes per visit. A telehealth visit with a provider will occur during one of the acute care nurse's visits. Patients will receive remote monitoring equipment that tracks the patient’s vital signs and status with the healthcare team. The program will be regulated by the Arizona Department of Health Services.
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