ALBANY — Building on its work to address the risk of sepsis-related death, injury and health care cost drivers, the Home Care Association of New York State (HCA) has been awarded a prestigious grant from the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) for training and implementation of HCA’s first-in-the-nation sepsis-intervention protocols in home care provider settings across New York State.
Sepsis—a life-threatening, often fatal bodily response—occurs when the body’s immune system turns on the body itself instead of fighting off infection. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 72% of people who contract sepsis had recently been seen by practitioners, potentially signaling a missed opportunity for recognition and timely treatment and intervention. Estimates suggest that 80% to 90% of sepsis cases occur in the community or in an individual’s home, not just in hospitals where most people are familiar with sepsis occurrence. In New York State, the number of sepsis-identified cases rose 68% from 2005 to 2011.
Sepsis is also the single most expensive condition nationwide and the number-one driver of Medicare hospital readmissions in New York State, and a top cost to Medicaid in potentially avoidable hospitalizations.
The nearly $150,000 grant from NYSHealth will enable HCA to expand its efforts in life-and-health-saving sepsis screening, prevention, patient education, diagnosis and treatment.
A centerpiece of this effort is HCA’s sepsis screening tool, already being used in the home care setting in collaboration with key clinician and quality innovation partners.
“This grant will allow HCA to substantially extend our reach in giving home care clinicians the tools necessary to address what the CDC has already identified as an urgent health crisis,” said HCA President Joanne Cunningham. “It also supports our collaborative work with the state and federal governments, quality improvement organizations, hospitals, physicians, community health providers and their respective association leaders to direct home care resources toward treating a potentially deadly condition that drives health care costs and imperils health outcomes in each of these settings.”
“Home care providers in New York State deliver care at home to 400,000 patients annually,” said HCA Executive Vice President Al Cardillo. “These clinicians are by far the most routine point of contact for seriously ill or frail-elderly patients, making them among the best equipped to identify sepsis risk and act on their training to coordinate appropriate interventions. We thank NYSHealth for recognizing this powerful opportunity allowing home care clinicians to hone their expertise by elevating the unique and dangerous risks of undetected sepsis — and addressing those risks head-on in a focused, targeted manner.”
“Sepsis is a serious health threat that results in a lot of expensive and avoidable hospitalizations,” said NYSHealth President and CEO David Sandman. “Early identification and treatment are the keys to improved outcomes and reduced costs.”
Sepsis Alliance, the largest sepsis advocacy group in the U.S., is one of several partners on the HCA effort. “Sepsis Alliance has worked over the past decade to raise awareness among the public and health care practitioners about the serious threat of sepsis, aimed at saving lives and avoiding severe health risks,” said Thomas Heymann, Executive Director of Sepsis Alliance. “We applaud NYSHealth for empowering our partners at HCA to mobilize sepsis screening and response efforts in home care settings. This work not only draws on the home care clinician’s unique capabilities to screen for sepsis, but it rightly envisions home care as a hub for physician or hospital interventions to treat a condition where timely coordination can truly mean the difference between life and death.”
The HCA sepsis tool was developed over the past two years with clinician leaders, spearheaded by Amy Bowerman, RN, Director of Quality Management/Privacy Officer at Utica-based Visiting Nurse Association of Utica and Oneida County of the Mohawk Valley Health System. It is being increasingly incorporated by home care agencies in New York. Highlighting its significance to major state health reforms, the tool was also recently presented to managed care health plans and many hospitals across the state. HCA has presented the tool nationally, and providers in other states are in steady contact for use of the tool. The tool has been piloted under a federally sponsored Special Innovations Project conducted by New York’s Quality Improvement Organization, IPRO, which has trained more than 9,600 clinicians. Additionally, HCA and IPRO have partnered to conduct a series of statewide provider webinars on use of the tool.
HCA’s current collaborators on our sepsis initiative include state officials, IPRO, the CDC, the Sepsis Alliance, the Rory Staunton Foundation for Sepsis Prevention, individual clinician leaders, and others.
HCA will soon be unveiling a dedicated website for this project. In the meantime, to learn more about this initiative and sepsis, please visit https://hca-nys.org/stop-sepsis-at-home.
More information about the grant deliverables can be read in the project summary on the NYSHealth website here.
The Home Care Association of New York State (HCA), the state’s premier home care association, represents approximately 400 home and community-based providers, individuals, and associate members who collectively serve thousands of New Yorkers.
Roger L. Noyes
Home Care Association of New York State (HCA)
(518) 810-0665 (office)
(518) 275-6961 (cell)