Whether recognized widely or not, delivery of health care is a business. Even the nonprofit hospitals have to make money to continue to operate. Like other businesses, the delivery of health care has undergone major changes over the years to meet demands and to continue to provide services people expect.
Some hospitals are experimenting with making house calls in an attempt to cut costs and reduce the readmission rate.
Writing in The Wall Street Journal Tuesday, Laura Landro explained what is happening. “In addition to the growing number of doctors treating frail patients at home, insurers and health systems are sending teams of doctors, nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists into homes to monitor patients, administer treatments, ensure medications are being taken properly and assess risks for everything from falling in the shower to family-care burnout.” She added: “Some are adopting programs called ‘Hospital at Home’ to provide hospital-level care in the home, including portable lab tests, ultrasounds, X-rays and electrocardiograms.”
All of this sounds great for the patients, but there are issues such as travel time and personnel and other expenses for the hospital.
The federal government has started to withhold certain payments to hospitals with higher-than-predicted readmission rates for services for patients with certain health problems. For certain illnesses, some patients may be safer at home, the story in The Journal pointed out.
The Hospital at Home concept may be a wave of the future in treating certain patients. Hospital charges are high since they never close, medical equipment is very expensive, payrolls are high with 24-hour staffing, medications and other supplies are a big expense, and they only collect a percentage of what they charge due to price adjustments by insurance companies and the government.
The delivery of health care is in a constant change mode.