Expand home health, save $30 billion in 10 years

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05/13/2009

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released yesterday. The study was sponsored by the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (AHHQI)—its members comprise mostly home health nursing agencies—and conducted by Avalere Health. As part of the study, Avalere analyzed 2005 and 2006 data from CMS, the most current available, and examined the impact that home health care had on overall Medicare costs and rates of re-hospitalization. Some of its findings:

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  • Early use of home health care services following a hospital stay by patients with at least one chronic disease saved Medicare $1.71 billion in 2005 and 2006.
  • An additional $1.77 billion would have been saved in the same period if all Medicare beneficiaries with similar chronic diseases had accessed home healthcare services.
  • Approximately 12.7% of the savings is due to reductions in hospital readmissions and admittance into more costly institutional settings.
  • Only 8.9% of Medicare beneficiaries currently use home health services, a fact attributed in large part to the program’s requirement that an individual be “homebound” and unable to leave the home without significant assistance in order to receive the benefit.
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Based on this research, Avalere projects that Medicare could save $31.1 billion over the next 10 years by expanding access to home health for chronic disease patients.

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