Carroll County Memorial Hospital restructures Home Health Services

Carroll County Memorial Hospital
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Carroll County Memorial Hospital Home Health Care Agency has cared for the community since 1984. Health care has changed continuously over those 40 years, including how and who cares for patients in their homes. 

Home Health was established for patients who are determined to be “home-bound,” meaning they cannot leave their homes without assistive devices and significant effort. Home Health services include skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Many patients who were traditionally cared for by home health agencies are now receiving services through population health programs, telehealth, and assistance with transportation to healthcare facilities. In recent years, CCMH has observed a substantial decline in the number of patients with Home Health needs, and as a result, there has been a significant decline in revenue with CCMH having to subsidize the service with more than $250,000 per year.

“These are challenging times for Home Health departments across the country as reimbursements from payors are not keeping up with costs to run the program,” said Scott Thoreson, CCMH Chief Executive Officer. “Rural hospitals in particular are continuously reviewing their programming to determine if their care models are appropriate for the times, along with their need to be good financial stewards of organizational resources.” 

In past years, the Home Health Care Agency had an average patient census of around 30 and it is now less than 10.

“CCMH is proud of our Home Health Care Agency, and the staff who have dedicated decades to delivering high-quality care to our patients,” said Blake Riley, CCMH Chief Operations Officer. “The combination of low-patient demand and continued attacks on home health payments have stressed Home Health agencies nationally and here at CCMH. So, it is with a heavy heart that we’ve decided to close our Home Health Care Agency.”

After February 29, new home health patients will no longer be accepted, but all current patients will be able to receive care through the end of their care plan. CCMH will transition to a new model of care that will allow CCMH to continue to serve its patients. CCMH’s population health nurses and newly-formed Community Health program will play a large role in continuing home-based services.

“CCMH will continue to provide home-based care through alternative departments and partnerships,” Riley said. “We believe that patients will continue to receive the high-quality care that they have come to expect from CCMH utilizing these alternative options.”

“We are starting a new chapter in how we care for patients who have previously been served by Home Health and this will involve area partnerships and more use of technology,” Thoreson said.

Patients who previously qualified for home health may still be able to receive CCMH Physical Therapy services in their home. CCMH offers home visits by providers to patients with specific needs who are unable to leave their homes. Additionally, the hospital plans to continue its partnership with OATS to assist patients with transportation to appointments, as well as the use of the CCMH Foundation Hope Fund.

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