New Jersey Makes Hospital at Home a State Program

By Eric Wicklund

Health systems in New Jersey are now able to expand their Hospital at Home programs to patients in Medicaid and private insurance, thanks to a new state law.

The Hospital at Home Act, which was passed by the state Legislature and signed by Governor Phil Murphy in September 2023 and enacted into law on January 23, establishes a state Hospital at Home permitting process through the New Jersey Department of Health that is consistent with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Acute Hospital Care at Home Program.

Executives at Virtua Health, which launched its Hospital at Home program two years ago and now offers services through five of its hospitals in the southern part of the state, hailed the new law. Aside from introducing patients in the state’s NJ Family Care and Medicaid programs to the service, the law enables the health system to work with private payers to cover the program.

“We are excited to see Hospital at Home expand in New Jersey through this legislation, and we believe our state can serve as a template for the rest of the country,” Michael Capriotti, MBA, senior vice president of integration and strategic operations for Virtua Health, told the Gloucester City News earlier this week. “It is important that we continually innovate to create the best possible experiences and outcomes for our patients.”

The program targets patients who would otherwise be admitted to the hospital, creating a home-based care management plan that includes often-multiple daily visits by care teams, virtual care services and remote patient monitoring. Some programs have added ancillary services to address social determinants of health, imaging and tests, and pharmacy and rehab needs.

New Jersey is one of the first state to establish specific state guidelines for the program.

According to Virtua Health, the health system has enrolled more than 900 patients, representing more than 60 different medical conditions, in the program.

According to a recent national study of the program by researchers at Mass General Brigham—one of the first health systems to launch the program—the Hospital at Home concept has reduced the mortality rate for patient who would otherwise be hospitalized; it has also reduced the escalation rate (returning to the hospital for at least 24 hours) and rehospitalization rate within 30 days of discharge.

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation, Technology, Telehealth, Supply Chain and Pharma for HealthLeaders.