Mercy and Maribel Health Design the Future of Hospital Care at Home

March 15, 2023

ST. LOUIS and HANOVER, N.H. – Time in the hospital is something many people want to avoid, even when they need care. To meet patients where they are, Mercy and Maribel Health are designing the future of hospital-level care in the comfort of a patient’s home. The two organizations have signed a multi-year agreement to co-develop advanced care at-home programs, including Mercy Hospital @ Home.

“Hospitals will always be needed, though we must think differently in order to meet the changing needs of our patients,” said Ursula Wright, a family nurse practitioner and Mercy vice president of clinical redesign and optimization. “When someone is in the hospital, it can be difficult for them and create challenges for their loved ones in a variety of ways. For select patients, Mercy Hospital @ Home will reduce those burdens and provide patients a familiar environment where they can heal with the same high-quality care they expect from Mercy.”

The program is designed to cover every aspect of clinically appropriate care, mirroring what is provided in the hospital, but instead providing it at home where patients can recover more comfortably. A dedicated team of acute care-level doctors and nurses will oversee patients through a combination of in-person and virtual visits. Patients will receive monitoring equipment, medication, therapy and other services as needed.

“We know from Mercy’s virtual care experience over the past decade that providing care at home gives us insight to better understand and advise patients in their own environment,” Wright said.

Mercy plans to initiate the program in the St. Louis region this summer and eventually expand across the states it serves. Medicare patients who fit certain criteria will opt in to receive their care at home rather than being admitted to a hospital unit. Care coordinators will work with patients and their families to ensure necessary support is available, depending on the patient’s individual needs.

Mercy doctor's coat

“When delivered appropriately and with experience, we know the home supports the lowest cost, highest quality and safest care,” said Dr. John Mohart, president of Mercy communities, who leads operations for all Mercy hospitals. “We also know capacity constraints and staffing challenges across the U.S. demand a new way of thinking about hospital care. Mercy chose Maribel because they have decades of both health system and home-based care experience. They bring a track record of entrepreneurial success using technology to transform how care is provided in a home setting. With Maribel, Mercy is building an integrated, advanced care at home experience across our multi-state footprint. This innovative care at home will open up new capacity and provide the care that many people in our communities want.”

Maribel Health, a turnkey partner for health systems looking to design, build and operate a full continuum of advanced home and community services, brings operating expertise and novel technology to help hospitals sustainably expand capacity through advanced clinical care capabilities in the home and community. Its mission is to make home the center of the health system so that all patients have access to high-quality, reliable and compassionate care in the comfort of their own home.

"The combination of patient preference, evolving technology capabilities, Emergency Department and hospital congestion combined with workforce shortages are collectively driving the home to be the default site of care,” said Dr. Ronald Paulus, Maribel co-founder and chief executive officer. "Hospital at home is just one example of a broad range of advanced care in the home that can be delivered with improved clinical outcomes, greater efficiency and most importantly enhanced patient and consumer experience.”

Launched in late 2021 as a General Catalyst’s “hatch,” Maribel provides clinical workflows, operating capacity, training, automation and technology to enable clinical teams to reliably deliver high-quality care outside the walls of a hospital or clinic. 

“Mercy is light years ahead of other health systems with its virtual care capabilities and experience,” said Dr. Paulus. “Given Mercy’s impressive, demonstrated capacity to support its patients with advanced care in the home, we are excited and privileged to help facilitate the safe, effective and patient-centered shift out of overcrowded ERs and hospital floors to the home. In our experience, not only are patients happier when they receive excellent care at home, but so are clinicians. Clinicians with simpler workflows and quality time to spend with patients are more content, more efficient and deliver higher-quality care more consistently.”

Maribel's team of physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, health care entrepreneurs and technologists has overseen more than 15,000 hospital-at-home admissions, led the design of over a dozen successful advanced care-at-home programs, advised more than 100 hospitals and health systems, and designed, developed and deployed technology used in the care of more than 8 million patients. Mercy, with nearly two decades of virtual care experience and a successful track record of caring for chronically ill patients at home, treats approximately 200,000 hospital patients each year, in addition to the millions it serves across its clinics and other care settings.

Mercy, one of the 20 largest U.S. health systems and named the top large system in the U.S. for excellent patient experience by NRC Health, serves millions annually with nationally recognized quality care and one of the nation’s largest Accountable Care Organizations. Mercy is a highly integrated, multi-state health care system including more than 40 acute care, managed and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, convenient and urgent care locations, imaging centers and pharmacies. Mercy has 900 physician practices and outpatient facilities, more than 4,000 physicians and advanced practitioners and more than 40,000 co-workers serving patients and families across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Maribel Health is named in honor of Maribel Sanchez Souther, who died in 2016 at age 41 after a two-and-a-half-year battle with triple-negative breast cancer. She lived an amazing life as a wife, mother of three, friend, Ivy League coach, and All-American runner. During her treatment, Maribel had multiple hospital admissions that took her away from her young family. Often, these issues could have been addressed more effectively in the home with the right support and technology. Maribel Health exists so that patients like Maribel receive the care they deserve where they need it most - in their home. 

In late 2021, Ronald Paulus, MD, a health system CEO, and Adam Groff, MD, a home and community services entrepreneur and hospital medicine physician, came together to enable health systems to respond to inevitable demographic shifts and workforce constraints driving care out of hospitals and into the home. Together, they founded Maribel Health to design, build, and operate the capabilities – including technology, clinical models, and operational management services – that will enable the home and community to be increasingly central to both patients’ and health systems’ success.

Maribel focuses on solutions that augment the home-based workforce to deliver more advanced clinical services. As a technology-enabled operating partner of health systems, Maribel enhances capabilities and integration of existing home and community organizations to expand total health system capacity. Examples of work underway include building out hospital-at-home logistics and clinical operations, community-based palliative care, mobile integrated health / community paramedicine, and longitudinal complex chronic care with our partners. 

For more information, visit maribelhealth.com.