Payer Moves to Increase Member Access to Acute Home Healthcare


Regence BlueShield’s new partnership will offer members access to quality acute home healthcare services.

Regence BlueShield (Regence) has partnered with a home healthcare provider to increase member access to acute home healthcare services.

Regence members in Pierce County, Washington will have access to the new program. The payer plans to expand the acute home healthcare service to other counties in the state this year.

“‘Hospitalizations in the home’ is a groundbreaking and exciting shift in care delivery,” Drew Oliveira, MD, senior executive medical director at Regence BlueShield, said in the press release. “Our partnership with DispatchHealth enables Regence members to receive clinically appropriate care safely and conveniently in the comfort of their own homes.”

Regence’s partnership will provide members of all ages with healthcare services for acute illnesses such as kidney and urinary tract infections, cellulitis, and heart failure exacerbations. Receiving this care at home can help patients avoid hospital visits and allow them to rest and recover in a familiar environment.

The partnership furthers the payer’s goal of providing innovative services that improve overall health outcomes and access to care for its members.

The acute home healthcare program includes clinical assistance such as physician visits and 24/7 coverage with remote monitoring. Patients also receive a call button for emergencies, according to the press release.

The program offers the patient support for up to 30 days after her illness is treated. The home healthcare provider team will work with the patient’s primary care provider to ensure she has a smooth return to managing her everyday health.

Along with treatment for acute illnesses, the service offers prescription and meal deliveries, physical therapy, imaging services, and access to durable medical equipment, the press release noted.

“The health care landscape is evolving, and non-traditional care strategies are becoming more of the norm as patients’ attitudes have driven this shift over time,” Mark Prather, MD, chief executive officer and co-founder of DispatchHealth stated in the press release.

“Additionally, innovative health plans like Regence understand that more in-home care delivery truly achieves the quadruple aim of improving affordability, health outcomes, patient experience, and provider experience—while also reducing readmissions.”

Many payers have integrated home healthcare services into their plans—a move that can significantly improve their members’ access to care.

In March, Anthem announced it would acquire the home healthcare company myNexus, Inc to expand and improve its home healthcare offerings for seniors. The company’s platform also supported members and providers alike using advanced data analytics to speed up care delivery.

Humana also expanded its value-based home healthcare services when it acquired One Homecare Solutions (onehome) in June. onehome offers post-acute services to patients at home including infusion care, nursing, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Similar to DispatchHealth, the service also provides access to durable medical equipment.

Aetna partnered with Landmark Health to provide Medicare Advantage members in New York with at-home chronic disease management as well. The provider offered services such as acute and urgent care treatments, home safety checks, and health screenings.

Other payers have offered home healthcare services for COVID-19 treatment and vaccinations. Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA), a Massachusetts health plan, was the first integrated plan in the state to offer COVID-19 vaccines to patients at home.

The payer partnered with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to help deliver vaccines to all homebound individuals in the state, regardless of their health plan. About 20,000 people in Massachusetts are considered homebound, which means they need assistance from two or more people to leave their homes.

Between February and April 2021, before the partnership with the Commonwealth, CCA had administered vaccines to nearly 500 homebound individuals.

Blue Shield of California also provided at-home COVID-19 vaccine opportunities for homebound members.

For More Information: payer moves to increase member access to acute home healthcare