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Program brings hospital-level care into patients’ homes, decreasing unnecessary hospital stays and improving patient outcomes

When Cliff Johnson had trouble breathing, his wife took him to Gundersen Health System’s Hospital in La Crosse. The nearly 80-year-old lives with claustrophobia and feared nights alone in a hospital room. That’s when he was approached about Gundersen Home Hospital. He eagerly enrolled into the program.

“I was sent home at 4:30 p.m. That night, I received an oxygen system with six tanks. A nurse came out with a kit that included a pulse oximeter, blood pressure cuff, scale, thermometer and tablet. He really took care of me and spent a lot of time with me and my wife,” Johnson said.

The acute care registered nurse saw Johnson in his home twice a day and used the tablet to round with his providers. Within days, Johnson was feeling better.

Gundersen Health System can now offer Home Hospital to more patients. The health system is approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to provide hospital-level care at home to Medicare fee-for-service patients. Gundersen Home Hospital, which brings all the essential elements of hospital care to the comfort of a patients’ home, launched through a partnership with Contessa in May 2021.

“There has never been a more crucial time for us to deliver hospital-level care at home than now,” said Heather Schimmers, Gundersen’s chief operating officer and chief nursing officer. “We are already seeing success with this care model. Providing this to Medicare fee-for-service patients allows us to serve more patients, both at home and in our hospital, with the quality care they deserve.”

Gundersen Home Hospital offers eligible patients, like Johnson, the option to have hospital-level care in their home through a combination of in-person and virtual care. Once a patient chooses the program, they begin receiving care at home within hours.

“It’s a wonderful program. It was very simple for me and my wife. I got the same results I would have if I was in the hospital, but I was home,” Johnson said.

Patients can be admitted to the program from the Emergency Department or from the inpatient floor once they are stabilized. Gundersen Home Hospital frees up beds for the sickest patients, while still providing hospital-level care to more patients.

Gundersen Home Hospital is available for Quartz and Medicare fee-for-service patients at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse.


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