Patients who receive home health care after a hospital discharge save the system about $6500 over the course of a year and home health care “independently decreased the hazard of follow-up readmission and death,” according to a new study published in the American Journal of Medicine.
The study looked at 64,541 patients, with 11,266 control patients matched to 6363 home health care patients across 11 disease-based institutes. During the 365-day post-discharge period, home health care resulted in unadjusted savings of $15,233, or $6433 after adjusting for covariates. Home health care also resulted in noticeable decreases in follow-up readmissions and death.
The study was conducted by authors at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine ofCase Western Reserve University from January 1, 2013 until June 30, 2015.
“(W)e observed significant financial and clinical benefits associated with hospital discharge to home with home health care relative to discharge home with ‘self-care,’” concluded the authors of the study.
The study concluded that “home health care can improve continuity of care while decreasing overall costs” and that “home health care represents an opportunity to reduce preventable adverse events and costs following hospital discharge.”
“This important study clearly demonstrates that home health care has significant dynamic value in controlling care costs and achieving better patient outcomes,” said William A. Dombi, President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC). “The study proves that a strong investment in the expanded use of home health care by Medicare, Medicaid, and other payment programs would save billions in unnecessary health care spending.”
With over $40 billion in annual U.S. health care spending attributable to hospital readmissions, home health care represents a valuable tool for policymakers to control overall health care spending without sacrificing quality of care. Indeed, as the study found, patients with home health care are more likely to stay home, where they want to be, and to stay alive.