Home-based primary care program aims to deliver better value to seniors

Home-based primary care program aims to deliver better value to seniors

Christiana Care Health System Chief Operating Officer Gary Ferguson, Ina Li, M.D., associate chief, Geriatrics; U.S. Sen. Tom Carper; Mitchell Saltzberg, M.D., medical director, Heart Failure Program; Michael Rosenthal, M.D., chair, Family & Community Medicine; and Lynn C. Jones, president, Christiana Care Visiting Nurse Association.

Christiana Care is one of only 16 health care providers nationwide selected from a pool of more than 130 applicants to participate in a new home care program for chronically ill seniors.

Called the Independence at Home Demonstration Project, the three-year-old Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) program tests whether delivering primary care services in the home can lead to better health outcomes and reduce costs for patients living with multiple chronic illnesses.

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper co-authored the legislation into the Affordable Care Act. Christiana Care kicked off its participation with a press conference with Sen. Carper June 1 at the New Castle Senior Center.

“This program illustrates Christiana Care’s commitment to providing health care services where they are needed the most,” said Gary Ferguson, chief operating officer. “For many of our patients, quality care is best delivered to them in their homes. This program is a great example of how Christiana Care provides value-based care.”

“This demonstration project will allow us to reach more of our senior patients in need, support them and help keep them out of the Emergency Department and the hospital,” said Michael Rosenthal, M.D., chair of Christiana Care’s Department of Family & Community Medicine.

“By visiting patients in their homes, we get insights that are invisible during a routine office visit,” said Ina Li, M.D., the associate director of Geriatrics and the medical director of the Visiting Nurse Association at Christiana Care. “Through our visits, we are able to learn how patients are living with their medical conditions, how they are using their medications, their lifestyles and support system.”

Under the project, CMS partners with primary care practices led by physicians or nurse practitioners to evaluate the extent to which delivering primary care services in a patient’s home will improve health care and reduce costs. Up to 10,000 Medicare patients with chronic conditions will be able to access most of the health care services they need in their homes.

This project builds on the success of the Veterans’ Administration’s Home-Based Primary Care program. The project concludes May 31, 2015.