HHS Study Confirms Value of HCA’s Screening Protocols to Stop Sepsis at Home, Reduce Costs

HCA advances home care sepsis program to MRT, state officials for achieving Medicaid cost-containment aims

A new, ground-breaking study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirms the value of pre-hospital and post-acute sepsis screening as advanced by HCA’s Stop Sepsis at Home NY initiative.

According to the HHS study, the rate of Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with sepsis — the body’s overwhelming response to infection — has increased by 40 percent from 2012 to 2018.

“Medicare patients were most likely to arrive in the hospital with an infection rather than contracting it while hospitalized,” states a report in Fierce Healthcare, underscoring the need for pre-hospital interventions. “However, two-thirds [of these individuals] had a medical encounter in the week before their hospitalization, emphasizing the need for earlier detection.”

For such encounters in home care, HCA’s Stop Sepsis at Home screening program is making an impact. It is screening for sepsis before it rises to the level of hospitalization. It can reduce hospital lengths of stay through the kind of early detection methods invited by HHS’s study.

Stop Sepsis at Home is also further providing vital hospital after-care at home to help prevent sepsis-related readmissions. This home care opportunity area — to save lives in sepsis after-care — is also mapped by the HHS study, which found that 40 percent of individuals diagnosed with severe sepsis or septic shock died in the hospital or within a week of discharge, and 75 percent died within three years. Meanwhile, 10 percent with non-severe sepsis died while hospitalized or within a week of discharge, while 60 percent of these patients died within three years of contracting sepsis.

For patients discharged to home care during these critical periods after hospitalization, systematic and routine home care screenings, attention to post-sepsis care and infection-control practices by wound care nurses and other professionals are a game-changer in improving individual and population health.

Early detection can also save on health care costs.

Indeed, HHS projects that the cost of sepsis care could exceed $69 billion annually, up from $41.8 billion in 2018.

This study is a vital source of data for the value-proposition of HCA’s sepsis screening program, which we have identified as a cost-containment and outcomes policy for consideration in the state’s Medicaid Redesign Team deliberations and other policy venues.

As noted in a briefing paper on HCA’s budget proposals, conservative estimates based solely on Medicare claims data for home care interventions suggest millions in potential savings — amounts that are significantly higher when accounting for all payors.

To learn more about HCA’s sepsis efforts, please visit https://stopsepsisathomeny.org/.