Analysis: American Well and Cisco develop telehealth offering for MA plans
Healthcare Dive is reporting that “Telehealth vendor American Well and tech conglomerate Cisco are joining up to expand virtual health options for older patients.
Initial plans for the partnership include converting in-home television sets into patient portals for telehealth care delivery through American Well for care that’s usually delivered in a hospital or skilled care facility.
Though the two companies have yet to launch a product, any joint device will likely be HDMI compatible and allow for remote control by the care team, according to an American Well source.
According to American Well’s CEO, Roy Schoenberg, ‘This will allow healthcare that previously warranted hospital admission or facility stay to take place in the home.’”
The 2020 Medicare Advantage final rule gives plans more flexibility to offer telehealth benefits that would support home care. Medicare Advantage membership has grown from 11.1 million people in 2010 to 22 million in 2019.
Now, roughly one-third of Medicare beneficiaries are in the privately-run Medicare plans. And the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 47% of Medicare enrollees will be in a MA plan in the next decade.
It makes sense that MA plans would invest in this capability as they look to reduce cost and improve quality.
Early pilots have shown acute care delivered at home for low-complexity conditions costs 30% less than care for similar cases in a hospital and improves quality of health due to reduced readmissions, falls, mortality and delirium rates.
Given the anticipated growth in MA enrollment, the impact on hospital discharges, particularly in markets with high rates of Medicare Advantage penetration, could be significant when MA plans broadly deploy hospital-at-home models.
The seven MS-DRGs typically targeted by hospital-at-home programs account for approximately 6% of discharges and 2.5% of Medicare inpatient payments. And it could expand rapidly. A proposal presented to the Medicare Physician Technical Advisory Council included approximately 150 MS-DRGs (including procedural MS-DRGs) that could be included in a CMMI pilot were it to be approved.