After years of resistance to virtual health care, doctors and patients are now embracing it. The COVID-19 virus crisis brought this on, but when this article was originally published in 2015, a future pandemic was not seriously on anyone's minds.
This story is about virtual care centers helping doctors and hospitals monitor patients and provide specialized support services where specialists are not available.
A four-story, 125,000-square-foot building in Chesterfield, Missouri, houses the world's first Virtual Care Center. Described as a 'hospital without beds,' 330 employees will work in the facility without any beds.
It's like a hospital without beds.
We have the medical team here, but with technology like highly sensitive cameras and real-time vital signs, our providers can 'see' patients where they are. That may be in one of Mercy's traditional hospitals, a physician office or in some cases, the patient's home.
Dr. Randy Moore, president of Mercy Virtual.
Mercy is the seventh-largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves millions annually.
This was the forefront of virtual care which has become more widespread since 2015, allowing for routine doctor's appointments to be done using Zoom-like technology.
Mercy Virtual. is more specialized. Much smaller ERs and facilities don't have top specialists like neurologists on-site. Doctors, nurses, and other staff can monitor emergency rooms, ICU's and hospital beds assisting the local staff of other facilities on a 24/7 basis. This provides expertise to provide higher quality care.
A team of doctors are dedicated to seeing patients within the hospital around-the-clock using this virtual care technology. They can order needed tests or read results, resulting in quicker care.
In addition, they provide continuous monitoring for hundreds of chronically ill patients in their homes after hospitalization.
Virtual Care Being Used for Long-Term Health Care
This is an expansion of virtual long-term health care services that are helping those in their homes avoid nursing facilities. These long-term health care innovations may bring a computer tablet to every home where a person requires extended care.
As America ages and more people require long-term health care services, these types of virtual services will help with quality and cost and help relieve some of the burdens on family members.
Virtual long-term care services can vary significantly, and almost all programs can be used in combination with a home health aide or other home care.
The expansion of virtual care in all areas of health care will give health consumers many more choices. It can support care teams no matter where they are located. Virtual care technology connects family members with family members and their providers. Plus, the ability to monitor a care recipient 24/7 adds to better quality care, peace of mind, and reduces negative consequences.
We're testing the concept that a virtual visit every day in the homes of those patients will keep them healthier and out of the hospital.
Rather than having a lot of different doctors for each of those patients' conditions, they have one doctor who's monitoring everything. The people and technology in place here make that possible.
Dr. Randy Moore
There are Costs
There is a cost for this technology, but it can save money in the long run. However, quality caregivers and facilities are still expensive, and unless the care recipient owns a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, much of this care will come out of pocket.
Many people today are turning to Long-Term Care Insurance to have access to guaranteed tax-free resources to pay for quality care choices in any setting. Some policies will even pay benefits toward technology options.
Most consumers obtain coverage in their 50s as part of their retirement planning.
About the Author
An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.
Contributor since August 21st, 2017
Getting access to quality care options and reducing the stress on family remain the primary concerns about long-term health care other than the growing cost of care. The cost of care can reduce the quality and increase stress unless you are prepared.
Being prepared for future declining health, mobility problems, and dementia is easy if you do it sooner than later. For many people, affordable Long-Term Care Insurance has become a big part of their retirement plan.
Some people delay or ignore the problem. They either perceive the issue as not a big concern or think they can wait until they get older. Neither is true. The risk of needing long-term health care grows over time, and the costs can be devastating.
What surprises some people is how affordable Long-Term Care Insurance can be when appropriately designed and you select the right insurance company. Premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. Insurance companies must file their products and pricing with each state's insurance department so no individual agent, agency, or advisor can offer special deals.
Seeking help from a qualified specialist who works with the top companies will make the process much easier. Most people obtain coverage in their 50s.
You might have questions and LTC NEWS answers many of the most asked questions here - Frequently Asked Questions | LTC News.
Seek Professional Help Planning for Long-Term Care
Experts recommend seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the right coverage. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right coverage at the right price.
Long-term care is a very specialized area, and few insurance agents and financial advisors have the expertise. Find a specialist who represents the top companies as premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. Leading specialists will often have over 500 clients with Long-Term Care Insurance.
A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.
Planning Tools and Resources Available on LTC NEWS
Planning for the future is never easy, but long-term health care planning can be very complicated and comes with many emotions. Getting the right tools and resources will make the process much easier.
One of the goals is to reduce the stress and anxiety usually placed on your family at the time of crisis. LTC NEWS can be beneficial in providing you with important information for you to consider.
LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:
The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator will show you the current and future cost of long-term health care services where you live. Plus, each state has vital state-specific information you should know - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News
The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area.
Compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.
A detailed tax guide that includes available tax incentives can be found by reviewing the Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.
Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.
Need Help Now for Mom or Dad?
If your family is already in crisis and you need to find help for mom or dad, LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.
Start by reading our four guides -
If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea.
Get Assistance in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim
Many insurance companies have issued Long-Term Care Insurance policies over the years. Filing a claim can sometimes be complicated unless you know what to do or get expert help and assistance.
Don't allow the claim process to stop you from using the benefits available in an LTC policy. Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care.
If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help. LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work - free with no obligation.
Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.
Advantages of Reverse Mortgages
Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well.
Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement.
Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages.
- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.
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