Sizing Up Home Hospital Services: Contessa’s Unique Value
By Dr. Mark Montoney, Chief Medical Officer
The Contessa story is not unlike others in healthcare: an industry leader determined to make healthcare a better and more enjoyable experience for patients and providers. However, the concept of hospital care in the home has been slow to catch on and much work needed to be done to transform our segment of the industry.
Fast forward five years and Contessa has accomplished a great deal, including rapid growth in key markets nationwide and an advancement of value-based care through our model. Each and every member of our team has contributed to making hospital care at home a more recognized and accepted means of care, especially during the COVID19 pandemic. I believe several tenants of our approach have positioned Contessa for success moving into the future of healthcare:
- Patient Selection. Though it is especially important now amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our philosophy has always been about bringing care to the patients we serve, rather than the other way around, and supporting our partners in the areas they see the greatest value. We believe strongly in making the care experience more enjoyable for patients, their healthcare teams and caregivers. But we also know that Contessa’s care delivery model isn’t always a fit for every patient in any setting, which is why we gear our recommendations to patients best served to receive the hospital care they need in their own homes.
- Robust Safety Protocols: Building upon the hospital-at-home pioneers in the industry, our scalable approach offers alternative sites of care to patients based on proven clinical protocols regarding appropriate conditions, acuity, timing, etc. This results in better safety, higher satisfaction and comfort for our patients, as well as an increased capacity to treat patients. Again, the COVID-19 crisis has made these benefits even more evident. Most importantly, the medical staffs we engage with – and must win over to build a successful partnership – tend to grow receptive to Contessa’s approach once they see the attention to patient safety we incorporate into our model.
- Built-in Agility. In addition to these facets, the pandemic has compelled us to evolve our model. Many markets have embraced Completing Hospitalization at Home, which allows stabilized patients to leave the hospital and continue their treatment at home. We have also seen an uptick in the engagement and use of telehealth during the crisis, something our model incorporates into certain aspects of care. We anticipate these changes to prove beneficial well beyond the current moment in time.
- Risk-based Contracting. From a business perspective, our model helps alleviate financial pressures for our partners. Contessa structures risk-based contracts in the interest of mutual cost savings. More providers are recognizing that, now and into the future, they need a partner who can help open beds and refresh their capacity to support higher acuity patients. Ultimately, this helps provide higher quality care for patients at the highest value.
- Joint Venture Model. A key differentiator for Contessa is that we incorporate our provider partners in the care delivery process through our JV model. Patients want to be treated by the clinicians they know and trust, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We train local providers in our model and engage them in meaningful ways. We also leverage a proprietary IT platform, Care Convergence, which coordinates care, manages logistics and allows us to conduct analyses on data and more.
Beyond the business practices and logistics of Contessa, what we keep at our core is pretty simple: it’s our patients. Our teams have witnessed patient breakthroughs thanks to our care. One was visiting the emergency department on a monthly basis due to chronic back pain. Thanks to Contessa’s dedicated care teams, he has now gone six months without having to be back to the hospital. Any of those visits could have been costly and ridden with stress. Another patient has benefited tremendously from our frequent follow-ups to her home. She has been able to quit smoking and partly credits the achievement to her relationship with her Contessa team. These stories, and others, are representative of our mission to make the healing experience enjoyable, both for those receiving care and for those delivering care.
Long-term, we are hopeful that our innovative perspective will contribute to home hospital care becoming mainstream. There will always be a place for hospitals, but there is also a growing need for sound care delivery in a setting that helps patients recover safely and feel most comfortable – their homes.
Disclaimer: The author of this post, geriatrician Mark Montoney, MD, was previously Contessa’s Chief Medical Officer. Though he is retired and no longer with the organization, the information in this article is clinically accurate and verified.