Study highlights cost-effectiveness of home healthcare as post-acute setting

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When home healthcare is used as the first post-acute care setting after a hospital stay, it was found to be the most cost-effective care setting, new research suggests.
 
But nursing home advocates contend that all post-acute providers have the same goal — to enable individuals to return to their homes, says Greg Crist, vice president of public affairs for the American Health Care Association, which represents nursing home operators.
 
“Although home health care is suitable in certain cases, AHCA considers an individual's healthcare setting as a medical needs issue, not necessarily a housing preference issue,” Crist told McKnight's. Crist says AHCA's members work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on assessment tools, such as the Continuity Assessment Record and Evaluation (CARE) tool, to “assess individuals and ensure they are cared for in the most appropriate setting for their unique needs.”
 
For the study, conducted by Dobson DaVanzo and Associates, investigators studied Medicare claims data for 24,239,080 total post-acute episodes and a total of $472.8 billion in Medicare payments. Post-acute settings included skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehab facilities and long-term care hospitals.

The investigators also looked at acute care hospital readmissions after a major joint replacement, finding that it was around double the percentage for patients who went to a skilled nursing facility or inpatient rehab instead of home health.

Click here and here to read the study, which was published in two working papers.

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