A Common Question
Given the recommendations released by both CMS and the White House for re-opening non-essential care, conversations now inevitably include the question,
“What is the plan to transition back to In-Home Assessments?”
Though the strategy for transition will need to be customized for each specific program, population, and location, the following is a summary of our strategy to resume conducting In-Home Assessments.
In-Home Assessment Re-Opening Strategy
Our plan to resume In-Home Assessments includes the following key elements:
preparation, provider safety, member safety, continual risk assessment and strategic monitoring, and additional considerations.
All decisions regarding resuming In-Home Assessments are dependent on the COVID-19 infection rates and the hospital capacity in the individual states, counties and regions. Additionally, in order to return to In-Home Assessments the state or county must allow for non-essential medical care. Our preparation includes the completion of the following:
Equipment: Procure all necessary PPE, thermo-scan thermometers, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes.
Provider training: Our provider training will ensure clinicians are familiar with and proficient at the proper use and disposal of PPE, conducting provider and member screening for COVID-19 risk factors and symptoms, documenting contacts in contact tracing logs and distributing contact tracing postcards, and understand all policies and procedures.
Operational readiness: Episource operations will implement policies regarding re-opening procedures, secure self-screening tools and contact tracing logs, create a COVID-19 Reporting System , and ensure dynamic scheduling capabilities to allow the transition from in-home to telehealth assessments when indicated by positive screening, and develop a secure documentation storage.
Administrative support: Episource will identify and train a dedicated Episource employee to monitor all states’ COVID-19 data for continual risk assessment and strategic management, manage and store contact tracing logs and screenings, and monitor the COVID-19 Reporting System.
PPE, including gloves, masks and gowns will be provided to all clinicians as well as hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. Clinicians will be provided with thermo-scan thermometers to perform daily self-screening and to screen members prior to entering the home. Clinicians must log and submit their self-screening results each day for secure storage. Contact tracing logs will also be documented and submitted for secure storage each day.
The day before the In-Home Assessment, members will be screened for COVID 19 symptoms and risk factors during visit confirmation calls. If a member has a positive screening, the assessment will be re-scheduled for a date at least 14 days in the future or a telehealth assessment will be scheduled. At the time of the In-Home Assessment, and prior to entering the home, members will be screened for COVID 19 symptoms and risk factors by the Episource provider. Screening will be performed using a questionnaire and obtaining a thermo-scan temperature The results will be documented and submitted for secure storage.
All patients and anyone in the home who is in the same room as the clinician must wear a face covering or mask. If a patient or another person in the home does not have a face mask or cloth face covering, the Episource clinician will provide a disposable mask.
Our clinicians will document all contacts in contact tracing logs and submit them for secure storage every day. The documentation will include the names of every person who was in the home during the assessment. Additionally, our clinicians complete contact tracing postcards which include the clinician’s name, the date of the visit, and the number for the Episource COVID 19 Response System where patients can report symptoms or illnesses that occur within 14 days of the visit. These contact tracing postcards are given to each patient at the conclusion of the In-Home Assessment.
Continual Risk Assessment & Strategic Monitoring
We will monitor the COVID-19 data of each State on a biweekly basis. Larger states will be monitored by county or region. Our team will continue to monitor state and local guidelines for stay-at-home orders. If there is a new stay-at-home order in any location, we will suspend In-Home Assessments in that area.
As part of our re-opening plan for In-Home Assessments, we are implementing a contact tracing and screening application in partnership with CareValidate. At home, self-administered COVID-19 testing will be available at no cost for providers who are symptomatic, have a positive screening or are identified via contact tracing as being at risk.
Our team is always available to answer questions about our plans and activities. At Episource, we take the health and safety of our clinicians and their patients very seriously. Our return to In-Home Assessments is guided by data while grounded in the commitment to maintain health and wellness.