How logistics networks can support the growth of home health

Last week, Forbes released a series of predictions for the healthcare industry in 2019. One prediction of note is the expectation that digital health catering to out of hospital will grow by 30% and cross $25 Billion by the end of 2019. Similarly, in a recent Transparency Market Research report, the growth rate for home health services, devices and solutions was adjusted higher to a projected 9% growth rate from 2016-2020.

To bolster this prediction, CMS is making announcements that will further energize efforts to deliver more care in the home setting.

On July 2, 2018 the CMS released the 2019 Home Health Proposed Rule. In it, there are significant proposals to modernize and strengthen home health efforts, such as improvements to the Home Health Quality Reporting program, new payments for home infusion therapies, higher reimbursement rates for home health, and reimbursements for patient monitoring devices.

Further supporting home care, CMS also announced a proposed rule for CY2020 that will allow MA plans to offer telehealth benefits to beneficiaries. “In 2020, MA enrollees will have more options for receiving telehealth services” said CMS administrator Seema Verna at a recent talk. “These steps are a major step towards expanding access to telehealth services because the rule would eliminate barriers for private Medicare Advantage plans to cover additional telehealth benefits.” Verna went on to provide an example saying a patient will soon be able to text a picture of a mole on their skin to a dermatologist for examination. For the first time ever, that would be a covered episode.

In order to truly change the way healthcare is delivered and consumed, while telemedicine is a great start, health organizations need to think beyond just telemedicine. That means taking steps to build logistics networks that are truly “on demand,” consolidated, and outcomes-oriented. For example, a symptomatic patient who does a virtual consultation may need to come in to see a specialist, their PCP, or have some type of onsite diagnostics done. Or the healthcare organization determines that the patient needs services brought out to the home. It may also be determined on the virtual consultation that the patient needs prescription drugs or medical equipment delivered to them. A sophisticated logistics network can enable any of those actions and with a few clicks, allow clinicians to get the patient care they need. Ideally, this happens all through one platform and it interfaces with a wide variety of internal and outsourced entities that can fulfill these services.

Are you interested in speaking with me about how Circulation can help your organization build a high performing logistics network to support your home health program or benefit? Schedule a meeting with me!