Penn State Health launches home recovery care

  • November 16, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Penn State Health, Highmark Health and Contessa have jointly launched home recovery care, an at-home option that uses remote patient monitoring to bring hospital and skilled nursing-level care into the home.

Penn State Health is working with Highmark Health, a blended health organisation based in Pittsburgh, and Contessa, an Amedisys company operating high-acuity home care.

Based in Nashville, Contessa’s risk-based model combines the essential elements of inpatient hospital care in the comfort of patients’ homes. Founded in 2015, Contessa uses Care Convergence – a proprietary technology platform – to power the seamless delivery of home recovery care that is safe and affordable, and improves patient outcomes.

The joint venture includes hospital and skilled nursing care in patients’ homes.

“Healthcare is evolving, and home recovery care is on the cutting edge of innovation and patient-centred care,” said Chris LaCoe, vice president of virtual care for Penn State Health. “Partnering with Highmark Health and Contessa to bring this new at-home option empowers patients to take control of their health, while decreasing costs, increasing outcomes and enhancing comfort and convenience.”

Hospital care at home is said to be a safe and effective alternative to the traditional inpatient hospital stay. Patients with a variety of acute conditions who would otherwise be admitted to the hospital have the option to have their care provided in the convenience of their home. Patients are sent home with remote patient monitoring devices and are seen through a combination of in-person and virtual care.

Skilled nursing care at home offers patients who qualify the ability to receive rehabilitation and other medical care in their home instead of a skilled nursing facility. Traditionally, many patients are transferred to a rehabilitation facility after a hospital stay to receive skilled nursing level care, whereas this offering allows patients to return to their homes to receive the same high-quality care.

“Highmark Health is committed to making healthcare simpler, smarter and more seamless, which includes enabling individuals to heal in a place that is more familiar and comfortable, their home,” said Monique Reese, senior vice president at Highmark Health. “We are thrilled to expand home recovery care to provide central Pennsylvanians safe, comprehensive and high-quality acute-level care in their home.”

Contessa’s model has grown exponentially due to the Covid-19 pandemic and is proven to drive better patient outcomes and increase patient satisfaction. Historically, on average, the model reduces readmission rates by 44%, decreases the mean length of a hospital stay by 35%, and has a patient satisfaction score of more than 90%.

“Home recovery care is a natural extension of Penn State Health’s mission to continually improve the health and well-being of its patients,” said Travis Messina, Contessa chief executive officer. “This model personalises care for acute and chronic conditions, while lowering costs and increasing patient satisfaction. It’s exciting to see this partnership come to life.”

Home recovery care is slated to launch at the Milton S Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, in the first half of 2022. Home recovery care will initially be available to Highmark Medicare Advantage and commercial health plan members with plans to expand in the future.

Penn State Health is a multi-hospital health system serving patients and communities across 29 counties in central Pennsylvania. It employs more than 17,150 people.

Highmark Health, a Pittsburgh-based enterprise that employs more than 37,000 people across the USA, is the parent company of Highmark, Allegheny Health Network and HM Health Solutions. They provide health insurance to more than six million members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware and New York as well as dental insurance and related health products through a national network of diversified businesses.