Innovative Program at Intermountain Health Reaches Important Milestone: 1,000 Utah Patients Safely Receive Care at Home Instead of in the Hospital

Intermountain patient Gail Stahle receives care at his home in St. George, UT in June from Castell nurse practitioner Angie Mayer.

Intermountain Health’s Hospital-Level Care at Home program has reached an important milestone: safely and effectively treating 1,000 patients at home, rather than keeping them in the hospital, since the service began in May 2020. 


This innovative program is available for patients with qualifying acute or chronic conditions who live near 16 Intermountain hospitals in Utah, from Logan to St. George. The service is provided through Castell, the population health entity of Intermountain Health.


“Our goal is to be able to offer patients the right level of care in the right place at a lower cost,” said Nathan Starr, DO, internal medicine physician and medical director of home services for Castell and Intermountain Health’s tele-hospitalist program. “Our comprehensive in-home services provide the technology to monitor vital signs remotely, and offer daily in-home nurse visits, daily telehealth rounding by a medical provider, and access to 24-hour on-call nurses and physicians.”


Hospital-Level Care at Home is available to Intermountain patients who meet specific clinical and non-clinical criteria and come in through an emergency department visit or have been admitted to the hospital and qualify for early transfer home.


“The program is so diverse,” said Raeme Sendzik, Intermountain Hospital-Level Care at Home operations manager. “It supports an individual’s social determinants of health and covers diverse ethnic backgrounds, diversity of age, and a variety of financial backgrounds, including people who are unhoused.”


Care for patients is provided through a partnership with Castell, which helps improve patient outcomes and aims to keep costs more affordable. The services are provided by in-person caregiver visits by Intermountain Homecare, as well as remote monitoring and virtual visits by telehealth providers located at the Intermountain virtual hospital in Murray, Utah.


“Since beginning, the Hospital-Level Care at Home program has saved Intermountain over 3,000 bed days from participating hospitals and can cost patients up to 30% less than traditional hospital stays, depending on the care needed,” according to Anna McMillan, director of home services at Castell.


"This program is a great example of how Intermountain is transforming the patient experience by making care more accessible, more convenient, and less expensive for patients and Intermountain,” said McMillan.


Cost-savings and high-quality healthcare aren’t the only benefits to patients and Intermountain.


“I really love that this program tells patients, ‘We’re looking at you as a whole,’ because research has shown time and time again, we heal better in our homes,” said Raeme. “We heal better around things that mean something to us, like our family, our pets, and in our environment. Patients can be around their primary support systems like partners and family, get the care they need, and continue to work.”


When patients are healing from a physical illness, many other things can also get in the way of full recovery, which Raeme has seen addressed through the program.


“As humans, sometimes we worry about things like whether or not our dog got fed, or if it’s picture day for our kids at their school, or if our spouse is taken care of,” said Raeme. “By being at home, patients can still get the care they need and take care of the things we know they worry about.” 


Providers learn more about how well patients are able to follow a provider’s care instructions or adhere to new medications. By being in the patient’s home environment, there’s a higher success rate of following the provider’s instructions, and the ability to problem-solve for people having difficulty with new routines and medications.


To be eligible for the program, patients can have Select Health insurance (including Select Health commercial), Medicare Advantage, Medicaid or be self-pay.


The program is working to expand its services in 2024 to traditional Medicare and Medicaid patients in Utah, with the ultimate goal to expand Hospital-Level Care at Home to the service areas in other states where Intermountain has hospitals (Idaho, Colorado, and Montana).


Intermountain Health’s Hospital-Level Care at Home program has reached an important milestone: safely and effectively treating 1,000 patients at home, rather than keeping them in the hospital, since the service began in May 2020.