Program to support home-based services leads to slower growth of Medicare costs, LeadingAge analysis finds

A program that supports people's transitions between healthcare settings and coordinates care has slowed the growth of Medicare costs, according to an evaluation by the LeadingAge Center for Applied Research and RTI International.

The analysis focused on participants in the Support and Services at Home program in Vermont. For people who joined the program early in the three-year evaluation period, per-person annual Medicare expenditure growth was about $1,700 less than for people in a demographically similar group in Vermont, and nearly $2,200 less than a similar group in upstate New York.

The evaluation also compared Medicare spending growth of those who joined earlier and later. Those who joined early had statistically significant lower growth rates for post-acute spending as well as other categories.

The SASH program assigns a coordinator and wellness nurse to participants, to help them transition after a hospital or rehabilitation facility stay, provide self-care and otherwise coordinate healthcare services.

A summary of the findings was posted Monday on the LeadingAge website.