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Heard at the Summit: Scaling hospital-at-home, understanding payers & weaponizing data 

Heard at the Summit: Scaling hospital-at-home, understanding payers & weaponizing data 

Heard at the Summit: Scaling hospital-at-home, understanding payers & weaponizing data 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The administrator of Atrium Health’s hospital-at-home program provided insight into its partnership with Best Buy Health and more at the HME News Business Summit last week in Charlotte. 

Colleen Hole said the partnership makes the best use of the strengths of Atrium Health, a Charlotte-based health system serving patients at 40 hospitals and hundreds of care locations, and the health division of the big box retailer. 

“We’re good at operations; they’re good at tech and logistics,” said Hole, vice president of clinical integration. 

With up to 120% occupancy in hospitals, Hole said, the hospital-at-home program continues to be a focus for Atrium Health. The health system currently has about 40 patients on service and a goal of scaling to 60 – “that’s a small hospital,” she said. 

Along with remote patient monitoring through Best Buy Health, HME is a “robust part of the system,” she said, with home oxygen therapy and home infusion two common needs of patients in the program. Other key components: a team of nurses that provide virtual care 24/7 and a team of 40 paramedics. 

“70% of acute care beds could be taken care of at home” at 20% to 30% of the cost, Hole said. 

Hole acknowledged that funding for the hospital-at-home program is largely based on waivers that could expire in December 2024, but she said legislators and regulators are increasingly seeing the benefit. The Medicaid program in North Carolina, for example, recently became one of nine states in the country to cover the program. 

“This is by far the most rewarding thing I’ve done in health care,” she said. “We lost something by institutionalizing health care.” 

Also heard at the Summit 

  • Brad Heath of AdaptHealth, which has a large contract with Humana, on what payers are looking for data-wise – and it’s not necessarily what you’d think. “They’re much more interested in data on diabetes and cancer, based on what they see the overspend on. We say, ‘We can save you here (on oxygen),’ and they say, ‘That’s only our 6th biggest issue.’” 
  • Ryan Bullock of Aeroflow Healthcare believes 99% of claims for HME will come through e-prescribing platforms in the next five to 10 years – “if not sooner.” 
  • Katie Stevens of Reliable Medical Supply said, despite consolidation in the industry, “small providers, or niche-level providers, are thriving in some markets. There is so much business coming.” 
  • Dr. William Frazier of Viemed said providers need to collect and use data to demonstrate efficacy, something the HME industry, unlike the pharma industry, is not good at. “That’s what keeps us from becoming Amazon – being able to tell what happens to the patients,” he said. 


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