(Part 2) Bringing Urgent Care into the Home: An Interview with DispatchHealth®

care at home
3 min read
Nolan Jekich
July 13th, 2022

Continuing our conversation with Dispatch Health, we interviewed one of the founders who started it all in 2013. In part two of our conversation with Dispatch, Kevin Riddleberger, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, shares how they are navigating the current workforce challenges the industry is experiencing as well as the policies that need to be enacted to promote further adoption of home-based care models.

Workforce Challenges

Does the current workforce challenge our industry faces hinder or make it difficult for your company to grow?

The great resignation impacts all industries; in healthcare, we are facing a shortage of caregivers, clinicians in particular. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States will see a lack of nearly 122,000 physicians in primary and specialty care by 2032. We need to train more clinicians like physician associates (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs), who can practice at the top of their license to treat various illnesses and prescribe medication. These providers can handle the front lines of care very effectively, and getting the required education and certification is less time-consuming and significantly more cost-effective. And in the process, we reduce stress on the healthcare ecosystem, which creates a happier workforce.

At DispatchHealth, we've created opportunities for NPs and PAs to practice at the top of their license, and our provider satisfaction scores have reached unprecedented levels. To answer the question more specifically, so far, workforce challenges have not impacted growth; we are, however, getting highly creative and aggressive in our search for top talent looking for a unique opportunity. We're getting far more personal in our hiring process.

DispatchHealth Co-founders Dr. Mark Prather and Kevin Riddleberger are getting out of the office to engage with candidates - we're sharing our personal stories, our company story, learning more about them, and answering their questions, in person.

Advancing State & Federal Policies

What state or federal policies are in place (regulatory and legislative) that promote adoption of your at-home service?

DispatchHealth is the leading provider of delivering high acuity care safely in the home. There have been numerous clinical studies and demonstration projects including the independence at home demonstration project within CMMI to validate the value of care delivery in the home.

As a Medicare and Medicaid provider we have leveraged existing E&M codes available to deliver this care in the home as a treating physician medical group. DispatchHealth also contracts directly with Medicare Advantage, commercial and Managed Medicaid providers as an in-network provider leveraging advanced practice providers and physicians to deliver this level of care in the home.

What state or federal policies restrict or hinder adoption of home-based care? /  What policies should be enacted to promote safe and effective adoption of home-based care?

DispatchHealth is a founding member of the Moving Health Home (MHH) coalition which is made up of industry leading stakeholders working to change federal and state policy to enable the home to be a recognized and expanded clinical site of care.

Today, we have an opportunity to shape the future of health care as policymakers, thought leaders, providers, health plans and patients absorb the lessons and experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. We don’t have to go back to our old normal. MHH members believe the home can and should be part of the future. Home-based care affords the opportunity to not only deliver important clinical care, but also approach care in a more holistic way.

Advanced clinical care, fall risk assessments, nutrition evaluations, medication reconciliation, caregiver support needs, functional limitations can all be evaluated more fully in a home-based environment.

As a coalition we are advocating for:

  • Overall education of policymakers on advances in care at home and patient preference for home.

  • Permanent legislation for hospital level care in the home for Medicare beneficiaries, including through community-based models such as DispatchHealth.

  • Ensure equal access for seniors through fair reimbursement for home-based evaluation and monitoring codes

  • Legislation for a reimbursable episode of care to deliver post-acute, skilled nursing facilities (SNF) level care in the home

  • Advocate for Congress to remove barriers in traditional Medicare to improve access to care in the home in areas such as home infusion, labs, dialysis, diagnostics, and primary care.

Nolan supports stakeholder engagement and manages communications for the Regence Health Policy Center. Jekich has been with Cambia since 2020 and brings 4+ years experience managing communication strategies, copywriting and supporting partnership opportunities.