Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Gentiva Health Services have created a joint venture to provide home health care in an integrated way, bringing together two national leaders in aging care and rehabilitation in North Carolina.
The joint venture, called Wake Forest Baptist Health Care at Home, is a new partnership that focuses on providing a more complete program of post-hospital solutions for older adults throughout the Triad, but also adult patients of all ages with complex health problems who need help adjusting to living at home after they are discharged from the hospital into the community.
Care at Home combines 25 years of evidence-based research conducted at Wake Forest Baptist's Sticht Center on Aging and Rehabilitation with a proven track record of best practices in home health care from Gentiva, an industry leader for the past 40 years. Gentiva has more than 400 locations nationwide, including 33 in North Carolina.
Pamela W. Duncan, P.T, Ph.D., professor of neurology and director of Transitional Outcomes at Wake Forest Baptist, said the partnership will provide better care for patients and is an example of how industry and academics can come together to promote health care improvements.
"We have really brought academic medicine and industry together to marshall the strengths of each entity's integrated care," said Duncan. "We were looking for a partner with whom to re-engineer the care provided to our patients when they are discharged to home and then implement this new model drawn from the best practices, plus the most recent research evidence. The goal is to make it easier for patients to transition safely and smoothly to home and remain there."
From Gentiva's viewpoint, this venture furthers its national effort to redefine home care through its innovative care transitions program.
"The opportunity to innovate and improve care has been a priority for us throughout our history," said David Causby, president of Gentiva's Home Health Division. "This marks a unique chance to create a true partnership with a leading organization such as Wake Forest Baptist and prove the value of our national care transitions efforts."
Care at Home will also offer technological innovation, enhanced clinical training, social outreach programs and more to deliver a higher level of care to patients at high risk of returning to the hospital once discharged. In response to the changing landscape of health care and Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement reductions, Care at Home will be positioned to reduce costly readmissions and provide significant savings while delivering a high level of care.
"One of the major differences in this care model is the integration of physician leadership to provide continuity in overseeing each patient's journey from the hospital to their home by helping manage the more complex, acute patients in partnership with home health professionals until their primary care team can resume care," said Jeff Williamson, M.D., professor of geriatric medicine and clinical director of the Sticht Center.
"Wake Forest Baptist Health Care at Home's physician team will include nationally known geriatricians, neurologists and internists working alongside other health care providers such as nurse practitioners, pharmacists and therapists to co-manage and provide an exceptional level of care."
Causby views Gentiva as the ideal provider for this kind of program because it is committed to improving care and outcomes while lowering health care costs. "This isn't just another program," he said. "We see this partnership as a platform to demonstrate many of the concepts we have been advocating to provide better care to the nation's aging population."
Duncan agrees. "Ultimately, we will improve the management and understanding of the chronic diseases and health conditions our patients face," she said. "Our goal for this venture is to transition patients of all ages, especially older adults, out of the hospital back to their homes and communities so they can be safe, independent and age in place successfully."