A safety-net health system leveraged its home hospital program, launched a few months before the Omicron surge, to bring acute care to patients and alleviate capacity challenges.
February 28, 2022 – As the Omicron variant drove COVID-19 case counts up, hospitals found themselves facing a familiar problem: caring for patients as inpatient capacity grew slim.
Many health facilities relied on systems set up during earlier stages of the pandemic, like telehealth and remote patient monitoring programs, to respond to growing case counts while preserving capacity and resources.
These programs were especially helpful for facilities in areas where hospital beds are already scarce, like in Central Massachusetts.
UMass Memorial Health, a safety-net provider based in Worcester, Massachusetts, is one health system that reaped the benefits of having a hospital-at-home program to care for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients alike.
“We saw an opportunity to better care for patients in our community,” said Justin Precourt, chief nursing officer and senior vice president of patient care services at UMass Memorial Health, in an email. “Central Massachusetts is the least bedded region in the state per capita, and as the only academic medical center in the region, we are consistently challenged by our capacity constraints. This program [offered] an opportunity to provide care for more patients outside of our traditional settings.”