Helios Care recently received a $305,000 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to fund palliative care for more patients.

The grant will fund in-home palliative care for patients who have a chronic disease or face a serious illness and are frequent visitors to the emergency department or to the hospital, according to a media release from Helios Care. It will fund the Helios Care CHOICES program, which “provides person-centered, in-home care and care coordination,” according to the release.

The grant is the result of a June 2018 to March 2019 pilot done through Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program funding, Helios Care President and CEO Dan Ayres said. The pilot tracked 75 “high utilizer patients,” or those who who have chronic disease symptoms and use emergency care often, Ayres said. From June 2018 to March 2019, their acute care utilization was reduced by 80%.

This benefits not only the patient, but also the healthcare system in general, Ayres said. As it moves toward a changing reimbursement model, the healthcare system will be paid to keep patients out of the hospital as opposed to being paid for hospital admission, he said.

"If you have a patient who is frequent utilizer of acute care services, such as the emergency department, and we are able to keep that patient at home and keep them healthy and safe, then healthcare systems will not be penalized for a readmission within 30 days," Ayres said.

For CHOICES patients, a Helios Care nurse conducts periodic home visits to assess a patient’s needs and make recommendations, according to the release. The Helios Care team will provide education, support and links to additional community resources, if appropriate, to patients and families. The CHOICES program also includes telephone and tele-health support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Patients and families can reach out with questions or concerns at any time, according to the release.

According to the release, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization that aims to "bolster the health outcomes of targeted communities, eliminate barriers to care, and bridge gaps in health services."

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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