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By Benjamin Swig, Director of Acadian Health

 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, government agencies have focused on expanding alternative models of providing healthcare services. While the pandemic may have served as an influence, pioneering new and innovative medical care delivery models has proven to be a benefit to patients, providers and health plans alike—and have increased satisfaction of care.

Acadian Health was developed to provide exceptional healthcare in a patient’s home. A sister company to Louisiana-based Acadian Ambulance, Acadian Health partners with the patient’s healthcare provider to de-escalate and treat acute chronic disease exacerbations to prevent unnecessary Emergency Department visits. 

Rather than Acadian Ambulance’s paramedic and EMT crews transporting sick, but stable, patients to hospitals and emergency departments, Acadian Health’s skilled team members work in coordination with the patient’s physician or care team via telehealth, so that patients can be seen, diagnosed and treated in the comfort of their home. Our team members have been providing in-home acute care and disease management since 2013.

 

Patient perceptions

A recent study published in the American Journal of Managed Care found that patients receiving paramedic-delivered urgent care appear to be more satisfied than patients receiving care in emergency departments.

 

Who does Acadian Health partner with? 

  • Large payers
  • Hospitals, health systems and ACOs
  • Clinical extenders
  • Home health agencies
  • Hospice and palliative care agencies
  • Skilled nursing facilities

 

Low primary care utilization 

According to a study published in Journal of American Medical Association, the proportion of adult Americans with an identified source of primary care decreased from 77% in 2002 to 75% in 2015. During this period, primary care visits decreased for every decade of age except for Americans in their 80s, with statistically significant reductions for those in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.

As a result, untreated symptoms are leading to bigger problems down the road and more advanced medical care is needed. Untreated diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol lead to large cardiovascular claims. Undiagnosed small cancers from lack of screening grow to become advanced stage and metastatic cancers. 

Primary care visits are shown to lower the probability of death by 18% and lower healthcare costs by 33%.

Virtual and at-home care can help to bridge the gap and, ultimately, help patients before they reach an emergency status. In a personalized care ecosystem, primary care providers function as the hub, with the patient at the center. Providers will see patients in person, engage them virtually, and in some cases use in-home acute care providers accessing more clinical data and clinical resources to improve outcomes and reduce costs.

 

How can we help with virtual primary care? 

Virtual diagnoses from a primary care provider can help a patient treat diseases early, before they become catastrophic. 

Some examples:

Virtual primary care doctors can lower musculoskeletal claims by treating arthritis with non-narcotic pain medication, referrals to in-person physical therapy or weight loss counseling. In addition, people with chronic pain from arthritis can also have mental health challenges that complicate their medical disease. This can also be treated through telehealth.

Virtual primary care doctors can diagnose and treat asthma, COPD, and heart failure utilizing in-home labs and remote patient monitoring diagnostic tools to prevent premature death and disability.   

Sometimes these chronic disease patients experience flare-ups that cannot be managed virtually with regular prescription medications. These episodes typically lead the primary care providers to steer their patients to visit an ED or call 911.   

Working with Acadian Health, virtual primary care providers can now request acute care at home for their patients and de-escalate symptoms that previously led them to EDs across the country.  

Throughout Louisiana, Texas, and Tennessee, health plans, physician groups, and health systems are taking advantage of Acadian Health’s on-demand acute care resources to prevent high cost episodes of care and readmissions. In the past 3 years, Medicare Advantage claims data has demonstrated an average of $5,000 in savings per member per year by engaging Acadian Health for Acute Care @ Home, when implemented 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

According to McKinsey, telehealth usage has increased 38x since before the COVID pandemic. It’s a shift for the medical industry, and with a trusted partner like Acadian Health, it’s possible for primary care providers to care for and manage their patients, while their patients can remain in the comfort of their home. With Acadian Health, healthcare service and preventative care, including HEDIS quality measures, comes right into a patient’s home.

 

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