Gerould’s all in on value-based care

Provider was considering exiting HME, then it turned course
Friday, November 22, 2019

ELMIRA, N.Y. – Gerould’s Healthcare Services will launch a remote patient monitoring program for COPD patients in December that builds on the provider’s increasing focus on value-based care.

Using a device such as a tablet, laptop or phone, patients will answer a series of questions and, depending on their answers, will be given a color-coded score, says Cheryl Henninger, director of Gerould’s Healthcare Services and Community Cares Health Solutions.

“If it’s green and they are short of breath, we know it’s probably anxiety, not clinical, and it’s an opportunity to ask, ‘What’s going on?” she said. “If it’s yellow or red, it’s probably clinical and they are encouraged to contact us or their provider. We get a real-time alert, so we can do an immediate outreach. We know these patients tend to wait too long and they end up in the ER.”

The launch of the remote monitoring program follows a pilot program with a local hospital that reduced readmission rates for 50 patients that were identified as “high utilizers” from 24% to 9% over a 12-month period.

The success of that pilot program led to grant funding from the state to expand and to develop other programs, including a pulmonary rehab program, as well as to create a network of partners that includes mental health and social services—all to ensure patients have access to the resources they need to successfully transition to the home, says Henninger.

“We do a risk assessment of all of our patients,” she said. “From there, we can identify those healthcare inequities and connect them with services.”

The ultimate goal of the new remote monitoring program is to establish a model that is recognized as value-based and cost-effective, and that payers will pay for.

“The HME industry is the perfect fit (for remote monitoring),” she said. “We are already doing this in the home and we already have the relationships with patients. The equipment is essential for these patients but it’s the services that really pull in the value.”

It’s quite a turnaround for Gerould’s Healthcare Services, the DME business of Gerould’s Pharmacy, a third-generation, family-owned retail pharmacy founded in 1921. The provider was considering exiting DME, but then it brought Henninger onboard just as healthcare reform was picking up steam. Then its focus on value-based care picked up.

“We put a DME plan together and what healthcare reform could mean with us at the table,” she said. “We brought bring back respiratory services, which they had dropped out of.”