New Grant to Help Expand HCA Sepsis Screening, Intervention Efforts

Home care providers covering nearly every New York county are utilizing HCA’s sepsis screening tool to prevent and provide interventions for sepsis, a condition that is often fatal and always life-threatening.

But more work must be done. Even with the great progress so far made, home care continues to hold significant untapped potential in saving lives and health care costs associated with sepsis at a time when studies show that 90 percent of sepsis hospitalizations resulted from onset in the community — home care’s practice domain.

And while sepsis has long been a target of avoidable hospitalizations, the COVID-19 pandemic increases the urgency for action as studies show that COVID-19 can cause sepsis and, perhaps more commonly, sepsis may arise from co-infection with COVID-19. This makes HCA’s screening program particularly important in the care of COVID-19 patients at home to prevent a range of illnesses or conditions that may result in a rehospitalization.

Earlier this month, HCA’s education and research affiliate was awarded a grant from the Mother Cabrini Foundation to support providers in the seven remaining rural underserved counties where agencies have yet to adopt HCA’s screening tool and protocols, enabling those communities to join the 55 counties that do have providers licensed to use our screening tool.

This grant will also extend the reach of our sepsis protocols to other underserved populations, no matter where they reside, including in pediatric and maternal health, mental health/developmental disabilities, and other subgroups.

Pediatric screening tool

For children, in particular, HCA will be working with clinician experts in developing, beta testing and piloting a pediatric version of the HCA home care sepsis tool, which is currently aligned for adults. This companion pediatric tool is critical, given that children’s vital signs and other criteria for sepsis risk differ from adults. We look forward to bringing together state and national medical experts on a pediatric screening tool under a process similar to the one that produced our screening tool for adult home care patients.

Partnerships across settings

Whether its DSRIP, Value Based Payments, Accountable Care Organizations or the newly expanded Hospital at Home model, collaboration is the overarching paradigm of nearly every health policy design. Sepsis, one of our biggest longstanding public health challenges, is most effectively approached through the coordinated effort of providers working across settings and disciplines.

Under the grant, HCA will be working with home care, hospital, physician, EMS, long term care and other core sector partners on sepsis education and guidance while promoting Hospital-Home Care-Physician Sepsis Collaboratives on interdisciplinary sepsis care.

We will keep legislative offices informed of our progress as we continue to tackle this major public health problem in the home care setting.