Savings were generated in part by reducing readmissions. Home health correlated with an 18% reduction in the rate of hospital readmissions. However, savings also occurred simply through improved overall health. Patients in the home health group had a 20% lower mortality rate.
Home health performed better with some disease types. The mortality rate reductions for digestive diseases was 28%. The readmission rate reduction for neurological diseases was 33%. The adjusted savings for heart disease were nearly double the average across all diseases ($11,453).
The authors note that this was the first report investigating the utility of home health among a large and diverse patient base. When referring to reports in peer-reviewed journals this is true. However, a larger industry study commissioned by CMS and the US Department of Health & Human Services had similar findings in 2016.² In that study, researchers accessed the Medicare billing records for every 2014 hospital discharge in New Jersey that received a home health referral – 36,964 cases. One-third did not receive home health. Home health correlated with a 30% reduction in 30-day rehospitalization rates. Previous studies finding that home health reduces readmissions focused on specific care paths: dyad interventions for stroke survivors,³ nutritional intervention,⁴ A1c management,⁵ home nursing following coronary artery bypass graft,⁶ etc. In general, when patients are homebound and have a skilled need, electing self-care may compromise medical outcomes and increase one-year spending compared to receiving home health.
Leaders in Preventing Hospitalization
Risk-adjusted Medicare data shows that Five Star leads both California and America in preventing unnecessary hospitalization during the home health episode. Compared to other home health agencies nationwide, the patients you refer to Five Star prove 28% less likely to need hospitalization. This one objective measure serves as a strong indicator for overall quality of care. When you want industry-leading care for your patients. . .