Home Healthcare Agency to Take COVID-19 Referrals from Hospitals
April 8, 2020
The Visiting Nurse Service of New York is accepting COVID-19 referrals from local hospitals. The goal is to offset some of the burden. The approach comes with challenges, however. “We want to do everything possible to alleviate the strain on the New York metro area’s hospital system,” said Michael Bernstein, executive vice president, and chief administrative officer at VNSNY. For COVID-19 patients who are stable enough to be discharged after a hospital stay, VNSNY will provide home care for their flu like symptoms and underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The intent is to free up hospital beds for patients who are in serious condition and need ventilators. “We are working rapidly to deploy more telehealth and remote patient visits,” Bernstein said. Using virtual services for some routine visits enables more staff members to visit COVID-19 patients’ homes. The organization spent about $200,000 — an unbudgeted expense — to secure additional tablets and equipment for remote patient monitoring, he said. And it’s spending hundreds of thousands of dollars more to buy personal protective equipment. On top of masks, gowns, and gloves, equipment needed to safely care for COVID-19 patients in their home includes disposable thermometers, stethoscopes and blood-pressure cuffs.