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Lowcountry healthcare system hopes SC passes bill to continue hospital care at home

23 Feb 2024 4:36 PM | Addie Thompson (Administrator)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Hospital care at home could stay a reality in South Carolina thanks to a new bill working through the State Legislature, and one Lowcountry hospital is hoping for just that.

The bill’s sponsor, South Carolina Senator Tom Davis, says during the COVID-19 Pandemic, a lot of healthcare regulations were suspended, including the extent of care hospitals can offer at home.

“COVID was sort of a whole experimental process, it pushed the envelope as to how can we do things differently, are these rules and regulations really necessary, can we do things and provide more options?” Davis says.

Right now hospital care at home is still allowed, but Davis says they’re working against the clock to get Bill S.858 signed into law before the regulations come back.

Roper and Berkeley Hospitals Regional President Troy Powell says their Hospital at Home Program typically offers care to patients with chronic conditions, or to patients recovering from surgery.

A nurse or community paramedic will visit the patient’s home at least twice a day. The patient is also constantly monitored with a “biosticker,” which is a patch that collects data like blood pressure and oxygen saturation and feeds it back to a monitoring center, he says.

Powell is hoping the bill is signed into law because hospital-at-home care produces better outcomes for patients by lessening the risk of infection, delirium, and falls.

“Also, what the patients are reporting is much better. They’re much more comfortable being in their home, being able to eat their meals, not being woken up at all times of the night because we’re able to monitor it,” Powell says.

After getting part of her colon removed, Tracy Marley received hospital-at-home care from Roper. She says she felt safe and confident she was in good hands.

“It was tremendous, I got to sleep in my own bed, I wasn’t disturbed at night, I got to eat my own food,” she says.

Davis says they’re holding subcommittee hearings on the bill next week and will hopefully get it on the Senate floor in the next three weeks. He says he’s optimistic to get the bill passed before adjourning in May.

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