Cover: House Calls

House Calls

California Program for Homebound Patients Reduces Monthly Spending, Delivers Meaningful Care

Published in: Health Affairs, v. 35, no. 1, Jan. 2016, p. 28-35

Posted on Jan 14, 2016

by Glenn Melnick, Lois Green, Jeremy Rich

In 2009 HealthCare Partners Affiliates Medical Group, based in Southern California, launched House Calls, an in-home program that provides, coordinates, and manages care primarily for recently discharged high-risk, frail, and psychosocially compromised patients. Its purpose is to reduce preventable emergency department visits and hospital readmissions. We present data over time from this well-established program to provide an example for other new programs that are being established across the United States to serve this population with complex needs. The findings show that the initial House Calls structure, staffing patterns, and processes differed across the geographic areas that it served, and that they also evolved over time in different ways. In the same time period, all areas experienced a reduction in operating costs per patient and showed substantial reductions in monthly per patient health care spending and hospital utilization after enrollment in the House Calls program, compared to the period before enrollment. Despite more than five years of experience, the program structure continues to evolve and adjust staffing and other features to accommodate the dynamic nature of this complex patient population.

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