Ascension Saint Thomas offers two new health care options for patients to receive in-home treatment, online care

Image description
Ascension Saint Thomas offers two new health care options for patients to receive in-home treatment
While most health care providers still require traditional appointments and hospital stays, one Nashville-area health system is looking to break the mold of inpatient care by bringing health care to patients at home.

On Sept. 3, Middle Tennessee-based Ascension Saint Thomas announced the launch of Ascension Online Care, an online urgent care program which will allow patients in the Greater Nashville and statewide to speak with a doctor without an appointment through a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

“Ascension Online Care is another way to deliver access and convenience,” said Tim Adams, President and CEO of Ascension Saint Thomas. “Consumers and patients now have access to comprehensive care within our trusted network of services, which includes primary, specialty, urgent, emergency and now, online care. We are excited to provide this service as an option so consumers can get the right care at a time and in a setting that is convenient for them.”

The cost for each visit is $49, and the program does not require patients have insurance. According to Ascension—which operates a hospital and medical offices in Southwest Nashville—the online care program works like an urgent care clinic and can diagnose and treat a variety of non-emergency illnesses, including sinus infections, allergic reactions, the flu, strep throat and eye infections.

Ascension Online Care is the newest program to allow patients to receive medical care in their homes.  In August, Ascension Saint Thomas announced another program in partnership with Contessa Health called Home Recovery Care, which will allow eligible patients to receive health care treatment in their homes rather than being admitted to a hospital.

Patients are assigned a registered nurse and monitoring and treatment equipment is set up at the patient’s home.

Amber Sims, chief strategy officer for Ascension Saint Thomas, said the option for patients to receive treatment in their homes can help cut down on health care costs as the patient will not require a bed in a hospital facility and billing is more clear-cut. Common illnesses treated at home include asthma and pneumonia, according to Contessa Health. However, she said, not all patients who require treatment from a Saint Thomas facility can participate in the program.

“There’s really strict screening criteria to be able to say that this patient can safely, effectively be managed in the home,” Sims said. “It’s not just clinical criteria that comes into play, but it’s also social criteria and support. Is their home safe? Do they have the support needed? But Contessa brings that level of screening and capability to us that we don’t have today. There’s lots of protocols in place to be able to have those conversations with the patient.”

Sims said that when given the choice between being admitted to the hospital and staying in their home to receive treatment, 93% of patients chose to stay in their homes. Sims said the Home Recovery Care could be a good option for elderly patients with dementia or similar conditions who would rather receive treatment in a familiar setting.

She said options like the Contessa program are consumer-driven, which is not often seen in the health care industry.

“Can you imagine any other industry [where] you sit in a waiting room for two hours? It doesn’t happen, [so] why do we tolerate in health care?” Sims said. “Well, that’s changing. Consumers aren’t tolerating it, and we want to be in and are going to be part of developing best-in-class, world-class solutions.”
By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


Hill Center Brentwood marked the completion of Phase 2 on Sept. 22. (Courtesy H.G. Hill Co., Gray Public Relations)
Phase 2 now complete in Hill Center Brentwood

The mixed-use center marked the completion of Phase 2 with the opening of the new AC Hotel Brentwood.

The city of Franklin will host a series of meetings this week regarding the city's Urban Growth Boundary. (Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)
Franklin to host community meetings on urban growth boundaries

The Franklin Urban Growth Boundary, more commonly known as the UGB, determines areas around the city that may be annexed in the future as the population grows.

The boutique is now open in Franklin. (Courtesy CTGrace)
CTGrace now open in Franklin

The boutique is now open in downtown Franklin.

The Pfizer vaccine received FDA approval Aug. 23. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Pfizer vaccine receives FDA approval

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 years of age and older. Moving forward, the vaccine will be marketed as Comirnaty.

The company offers mini golf rentals. (Photos courtesy Games To Go Nashville)
Games To Go Nashville offers golf course, yard games for rent

Games To Go Nashville offers games created by Hunnicutt himself including “Yardzee,” an oversized version of Yahtzee, and Soccer Pool, a billiards game using a large court and colored soccer balls.

Franklin Special School District operates eight schools within the city of Franklin. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Franklin Special School District to hold special-called meeting Aug. 20 regarding masks in schools

The announcement comes just a few days after Gov. Bill Lee issued an executive order that allows parents to have their children opt out of local mask requirements. 

Williamson County Schools is continuing to track local case numbers. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
More than 300 COVID-19 cases reported in Williamson County Schools

According to numbers released by the district Aug. 17, 276 students and 47 staff members are in isolation with a confirmed positive case. 

The executive order will allow parents to opt out of local mask mandates. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Gov. Bill Lee to sign executive order allowing parents to opt out of school mask mandates; Tennessee General Assembly will not hold special session

Gov. Bill Lee said parents will be able to decide whether their children can opt out of local mask requirements.

Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) has called for a special session of the General Assembly. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Tennessee legislators call for special session to block local COVID-19 mandates

The session would address the ability of local boards to make decisions related to COVID-19 and calls for paid leave for teachers.

Dozens of residents attended a special-called Williamson County Schools Board of Education meeting Aug. 10. (Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County Schools approves mask requirement for elementary students and staff

After nearly four hours of debate, the board approved the mask requirement in a 7-3 vote.

Masks will be highly encouraged for students at the start of the 2021-22 school year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Masks, quarantines and vaccines: What to know about 2021-22 safety guidelines for Williamson County Schools

Masks will not be required but will continue to be encouraged as COVID-19 cases rise locally.

The Centers for Disease Control released new guidance on in-person instruction for K-12 grade schools on March 19. (Courtesy Pexels)
CDC loosens guidelines on social distancing in schools

The updated guidance recommends students maintain 3 feet of social distancing in classrooms while wearing masks.