Physician Spotlight: Dr. Linda DeCherrie, Mount Sinai Hospitalization at Home

When Dr. Linda DeCherrie finished her geriatrics fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital in 2005, she worked with Mount Sinai Visiting Doctors to provide primary and palliative care to New Yorkers in their homes. She quickly noticed how often patients needed hospital-level care.

“It was frustrating because I knew that medically we could provide acute care in the home, but the challenge was getting the coverage and operations to line up.”

In 2013, her team saw a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) grant opportunity for innovative payment models. They knew it was the perfect fit for aligning Hospitalization at Home medically, operationally and financially.

Mount Sinai launched Hospitalization at Home when the grant was approved in 2014. Dr. DeCherrie, now Clinical Director of Mount Sinai at Home, oversees the program, which partnered with Contessa to operate the model in 2017.

“You could see right away that Hospitalization at Home was better for patients and the data proves it. They were happy to be in their homes instead of the hospital; sleeping in their own beds, eating their own food, and visiting with friends and family.”

The care model works especially well in Manhattan, where Mount Sinai is located. Patients who qualify for the program are sent home with remote patient monitoring devices, a tablet for telehealth appointments, and regular visits from a registered nurse.  A Recovery Care Coordinator communicates with their care team, provides education, and schedules follow-up appointments. After the initial acute phase, patients are monitored for the remainder of their 30-day episode.

“Hospitalization at Home can be a hard concept for some physicians to grasp because it goes against everything we learned in medical school. But once they see the long-term impacts –decrease in rehospitalizations, increase patient satisfaction, and decrease in the average length of stay – it’s easy to see how treating a patient in their home environment has positive, long-term effects on health. That’s when doctors become believers.”

Dr. DeCherrie notes that it’s been interesting to see the shift in provider interest over the years. Many residents and fellows do their rotation under the Hospitalization at Home team and are excited to learn about a care model that very well could be the future of care delivery.

“Hospitalization at Home provides superior care for patients who qualify. It’s an added bonus that lines up with payment. We are seeing happier patients, better outcomes and more affordable care.”