The news: Tech-enabled hospital-at-home company Medically Home secured $110 million from investors including Baxter International, Cardinal Health, Mayo Clinic, and Kaiser Permanente, according to a Medically Home press release.
Here’s how it works: The startup partners with hospitals to let clinicians manage their patients’ health remotely with the help of medical workers in patients’ homes:
Why are health systems pouring funds into Medically Home? Last year, health systems like Kaiser Permanente and Mayo Clinic became participants in a CMS program that lets hospitals receive higher reimbursement for providing at-home services.
For context, in November 2020, the CMS launched its pilot Acute Hospital Care at Home program, enabling hospitals to receive Medicare reimbursement for at-home services covering more than 60 conditions.
Reimbursement for various at-home services has historically been difficult to obtain, which makes this program an attractive option for major health systems like Mayo Clinic.
Why this could succeed: Health systems’ interest in home health services is good news for higher-acuity patients, since many prefer getting treatment in their own homes rather than within hospital walls.
What’s next? Health systems and Big Tech companies are joining forces to lobby the CMS for better home health reimbursement policies.
For example, last year, health systems Intermountain Healthcare, Ascension, and others teamed up with Amazon Care and other health tech companies to lobby Congress and advocate that providers be reimbursed for home health visits at the same rate as primary care office visits, in addition to promoting coverage for high-acuity home care.
It wouldn't be far off to imagine the CMS making some of its home health policies permanent, especially if its temporary program is cutting costs and boosting health outcomes.