This piece was originally published on LinkedIn by Mordy Eisenberg, Chief Operating Officer of Tapestry Telehealth.
Tapestry Telehealth has gained widespread recognition for the unique service it offers through its TapestryCare™ program for rural nursing homes in Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and more.
Telehealth, or telemedicine, is by no means new or unique. But Tapestry Telehealth’s model is.
Most telemedicine programs offer only silos of care --- for wound care or psychiatry, for example. Or, they offer only “urgent care” or after-hours coverage models, focusing on one-off encounters rather than a continuous true primary care relationship.
That’s what makes Tapestry Telehealth so different. With TapestryCare™, facilities get a comprehensive medical team and a dedicated nurse practitioner supported by a full-scope multi-specialty medical and behavioral health group. The Tapestry team integrates with the facility nursing and medical teams, even doing regularly scheduled rounds with patients.
Because of the different approach we offer to rural nursing homes, long-term care experts are taking notice. Tapestry Telehealth quickly is becoming a leader in this field.
Findings of a study reported in August in The American Journal of Managed Care® show that using telemedicine at skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) can reduce hospitalizations and produce savings for Medicare. The study was led by Dr. David Chess, founder, president and chief medical officer of Tapestry Telehealth.
The case study explored the impact of having a physician available on demand for assessment and treatment of changes in medical conditions. When doctors could be reached via telemedicine, 29 percent of the patients evaluated avoided a hospital visit, saving $1.55 million over the course of a year, according to the study results.
Results of the study were picked up by McKnight's Long Term Care News (“Telemedicine shown to help cut hospitalizations, costs,” Oct. 25, 2018).
We know that having a dedicated practitioner is important because it means he or she gets to know the residents and patients as much as the staff, and that knowledge and consistency of care help to improve medical outcomes. We also know that changes in how we deliver long-term care can make a difference.
Under traditional Medicare, for instance, telehealth services are only covered for rural residents who may need to travel considerable distances to receive in-person care. Only about a third of the nation’s more than 15,000 nursing homes qualify as rural. Expanding coverage could make a difference, as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposes.
Tapestry Telehealth was part of a Skilled Nursing News story that profiled the proposed changes (“CMS Moves to Expand Telehealth Coverage Under Medicare Advantage,” Oct. 26, 2018).
The success Tapestry Telehealth has demonstrated and that facilities relying on with TapestryCare™ make the case for expansion into other sectors. Home Health Care News looked at a home health pilot Tapestry Telehealth is pursuing (“Telehealth Companies, Home Health Providers See Major Upside in CMS Proposal,” Nov. 11, 2018).
CMS is exploring additional telehealth benefits under Medicare Advantage to increase access to patient-centered care by giving enrollees more control to determine when, where and how they access benefits, which would be a huge benefit especially to frail, elderly residents at home.
The results are clear. ABCM Corp. in Hampton, Iowa, recently won the Innovator Bronze Award for its use of Tapestry Telehealth’s telemedicine platform. The company is using TapestryCare™ in seven nursing homes in remote portions of northcentral and southeastern Iowa.
Health care is evolving rapidly. Tapestry Telehealth is working with its partners not only to keep pace, but to lead the way.