Wednesday Update

Good evening. I hope your Wednesday has gone well thus far.

I’m going to spend a little time on the business of our business, hopefully, it will help you make sense of some of the things you might be seeing. As we entered into the COVID pandemic, there was a universal concern with “the surge,” or a rush of COVID patients into care environments on top of the regular patient population. A lot of the conversation in early March was about our nation’s hospital bed inventory, and could it keep up.

Things are playing out a little differently, and it’s worth talking about.

Early on, most hospitals freed up as many beds as they could, in fears of a rush of COVID patients.  They canceled all elective and non-acute procedures, they discharged many non-surgical patients to care environments away from their campuses, and they moved some otherwise inpatient care into their physician’s offices.

Fortunately for everyone, social distancing has been effective to date, and many parts of the country are seeing infection rates substantially under the February and early March projections. Hospitals, for their part, have found a way to repurpose their open beds, and hang on to their COVID patients longer. In some cases, they’ve converted portions of their campuses into a COVID-focused SNF as a step down for patients who they’ve discharged from their acute care environment, and then resume care as a new skilled nursing admit.

Add it all together, and it amounts to this: COVID admissions to home health are shifting out a few weeks longer than projected. But if our conversations in Massachusetts with our partner Steward health care are a sign of things to come, the patient load will be here in time.

Another thing to keep in mind is that our traditional COPD, CHF, diabetes, and other admits may not be easily found through a hospital discharge planner today, but instead may be under the care of a community internal medicine physic for example.

We need to double down and find them, and that’s going to take diligence, but the patients are there to be had. I hope this gives you a little perspective of what you are seeing and some direction as to where you should be placing your efforts.

As the whole delivery system adapts, just as hospitals have, other opportunities emerge. We learned this week that United health care will reimburse for many home health telehealth visits. That’s welcome news, and follows substantial conversations between AccentCare and United to make this happen. This change is happening at the right time for AccentCare. Our telehealth platform is rolling out successfully and is ready to help patients. We will continue to work with other payers to follow United’s path because it’s the right thing for our patients.

I’ll close with two reminders. First, tomorrow is my weekly video message to you all. I’ll have some thoughts on how we will thrive through COVID.  Second, I want to remind you, if you haven’t already, to watch yesterday’s Real Talk. Real Care. segment with Charlotte Lark, RN, from our Ontario office.  Her poise and clear connection are a great thing to take to heart.

Have a wonderful evening. We’ll talk again tomorrow.


Steve’s Weekly Video: 4/9/20