The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) Acute Hospital Care at Home (AHCH) waiver is a critically important tool that has allowed hospitals across the country to both meet the increased demand for inpatient bed capacity during the pandemic and provide safe, high-quality care in patients’ homes where they could be supported by their friends and family. The flexibilities built on the success of previous hospital at home models that have been tested over decades, showing that acute care at home can be a safe, effective way to provide care to patients.
Today, 92 systems, 204 hospitals across 34 states participate in the waiver program. Many hospitals and health systems were offering this care delivery option on a limited basis prior the pandemic, and the data show that not only is this model a patient centered model improving patient satisfaction, but it improves health outcomes and quality. The waiver program has further demonstrated positive outcomes, experiences, and potential cost savings, and it has reinforced the need for broader adoption of hospital-at-home care, where appropriate, in federal health care programs.