OIC - A Brief History
In 1980 virtually all infusion (intravenous) therapy was performed in the hospital setting. Indeed, it was only paid for in the hospital setting. This was part of the insurance contract at that time.
During the 1980s we began to send patients home with central catheters (upper chest or neck) to complete therapy started in the hospital. Initially, we would defer this procedure without written authorization of coverage since the placement of the catheter was an invasive procedure. By the end of the 1980s and early 1990s, home intravenous care was firmly established.
In 1997, Medicare stopped all reimbursement for home intravenous antibiotics. Physicians were faced with a choice of hospital care or nursing home care. Many of our patients were perfectly healthy in a general way and did not need a nursing home. We began to provide intravenous therapy in a clinic setting 7 days a week – provided we could use a once a day therapy. Over time, patients with regular insurance who could be treated this way were able to avail themselves of this service.
We were still limited due to an inability to do multi-dose medicines and had difficulty getting a competitive price on medicine as a solo practice.
Since 2003, as a result of relationships we developed with pharmacy management companies, we have been able to provide care in or out of the clinic with equal ease depending on the medical needs of the patient.
Ideally we can prevent hospitalization from the office, reduce the need to admit from the emergency room and allow patients to transition out of the hospital while still providing close, safe, supervised medical care.
Providing clinic based intravenous therapy for moderately serious infections in a safe way is an exciting new development. It allows us to reduce the cost of the delivery of care and reduce the exposure of patients to hospital acquired infections and other risks associated with hospitalization. Additionally it offers the patient the maximum in comfort, efficiency of time and flexibility for their busy lives.