ClearCare, whose technology platform helps run the businesses of more than 4,000 home care agencies providing in-home services like bathing, medication reminders and meal preparation, announced the nationwide availability of a new technology to seamlessly connect agencies with insurance companies and hospitals.
The new technology, called Home Connect API, allows home care agencies to connect directly to referring health plans, hospitals, and doctors to receive patient referrals and manage care and billing. The enterprise-class technology is hitting the market amid a major government policy change on reimbursement for home care services, which could help significantly drive its adoption: In early April, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that home care will, for the first time, be reimbursable as a supplemental benefit by Medicare Advantage plans starting in 2019.
Because home care has traditionally been disconnected from traditional healthcare providers, such as doctors and hospitals, the policy change has created urgency for clinicians, Medicare Advantage plans and home care agencies to integrate their systems.
“Connecting the $20 billion home care market with insurance companies and hospitals is a disruptive event that will deliver better care to more seniors, and help them age gracefully in their homes instead of a hospital or nursing home,” said Geoffrey Nudd, founder and CEO of ClearCare.
Comfort Keepers, a national home care agency owned by Sodexo, is already working closely with ClearCare on the deployment of its API.
“For many years, the home care industry has been separated from the rest of the healthcare market,” said Carl McManus, CEO of Comfort Keepers North America. “But the ClearCare platform allows our agencies and caregivers to use ClearCare’s web- and mobile-based systems to get care management plans and instructions on the job every day from doctors, care managers and other providers. The platform, and its API, also enable us to collect important patient information at the point of care that we can report back to our healthcare partners.”
The impact on seniors and their families by providing ongoing information is vital. Recent home visit notes from Comfort Keepers caregiver Audrey Rose, based in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, for example, caught a problem early on that kept her client from having severe COPD complications. Her notes detailed shortness of breath and limb swelling, which prompted the office to have him taken to the hospital. As a result, more serious complications and a potentially longer hospital stay were avoided. “That information made it to us and to his doctor, so we were able to intervene before it became a real problem,” commented his case manager.
“We recognize that home care can deliver big improvements to outcomes for senior patients, especially those with the trifecta of chronic conditions, functional limitations and social determinants, such as a senior with diabetes and dementia who is living alone,” said Nudd.