Expanding In-Home Care: Lee Health’s Outside-the-Box Approach to Healthcare in Southwest FloridaSep 08, 2022 02:13PM ● By Kris Fay
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit Southwest Florida in March 2020, people quickly saw the benefits of receiving healthcare inside their homes. Through a phone, tablet, or computer, getting certain medical services remotely has never been easier or more accessible.
While telehealth has been around for years, it continues to grow. Lee Health is now developing additional innovative ways to provide care to patients in their homes.
In late summer 2021, Lee Health announced a convenient way for Lee County residents to receive in-person medical care while never having to leave their house. The mobile service is offered through a partnership with DispatchHealth, a national provider of in-home medical care.
Community members can be treated at home for injuries and illnesses such as the flu, cuts and lacerations that require stitches, sinus infections, strep throat, minor fractures, sprains and strains, and many other conditions.
The team can also call in your prescriptions, update your doctor, and handle billing with your insurance company. On average, patients with commercial insurance pay $44 for a visit and those with Medicare pay $27.
Patients can request care by visiting DispatchHealth’s website (dispatchhealth.com). No referral is needed.
Another way Lee Health offers in-home care is through its House Calls program, which delivers medical care in the patient’s home.
House Calls focuses on limited-mobility patients throughout Lee County. It also specializes in caring for geriatric patients and those with complex health conditions.
The House Calls care team can diagnose and treat illnesses and conditions; order and interpret tests; conduct physical exams; review medical history; assist with medication evaluations, management, and refills; and coordinate care to help patients in accessing community resources. The care team can also order additional services as needed.
Patients with limited mobility who could benefit from House Calls include those who use a cane, walker, or wheelchair, don’t drive because of health reasons, are visually impaired, have a memory disorder, or have had a recent surgery or discharge from the hospital that requires follow-up care.
Lee Health’s House Calls accepts most insurance plans, but some plans may require a referral. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 239-343-8250.
Lee Health has offered telehealth services to the community since 2014. Through a telehealth appointment, patients can receive care using their smartphone, tablet, or computer. Additionally, Lee TeleHealth provides on-demand urgent care services remotely. It’s available 24/7 and connects patients directly with a physician or advanced provider.
Through Lee TeleHealth, a provider can evaluate the severity of a patient’s symptoms and make recommendations for testing and symptom management. Providers are also able to write prescriptions and make referrals as necessary.
Lee TeleHealth can be accessed through the Lee Health mobile app, by downloading the “Lee TeleHealth” app on a smartphone or tablet, or by visiting leetelehealth.org. Lee TeleHealth is $49 a visit.
Remote Monitoring Services
Lee Health has another innovative platform aimed at remotely providing care. Lee Physician Group uses remote monitoring services on certain patients through its newly created department focusing on virtual health.
When discharged from the hospital, a patient is sent home with an individualized care plan and a kit with several different devices designed to monitor health at home. Each kit includes a blood pressure cuff, pulsometer, weight scale, and tablet, all of which are connected remotely to a telehealth nurse who monitors the biometric data.
Alerts and triggers are set up by the care team in advance, so the nurse can immediately respond if any issues arise.
The Lee Health care team helps each patient set up the kit and walks the patient through the technology.
While the remote monitoring program is being used for a limited number of medical conditions such as congestive heart failure at this time, Lee Health is working on expanding it to other departments in the next few months.
Kris Fay is Lee Health’s chief officer of community-based care.