Home Health Reduces Hospital Readmission Risk by 30%

People who use home health care in New Jersey following their hospital stays are less likely to be readmitted, saving the state’s health care system millions of dollars, according to a new study released by the Home Care and Hospice Association of New Jersey.

In fact, patients who receive in-home services are 30% less likely to return to the hospital , according to the findings—a figure that further decreases when the patient in question has multiple chronic conditions.

The study, conducted by the Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network as contracted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), sought to determine the effectiveness of home health care services in preventing a 30-day hospital readmission after an inpatient hospital discharge. It included Medicare fee-for-service claims among New Jersey beneficiaries who had been discharged from a New Jersey hospital in 2014.

Among those referred for care, 71.76% ended up receiving the services, while 28.23% chose not to utilize home health. The 30-day hospital readmission rate among beneficiaries who opted into home health care were lower than those who didn’t, according to the study, at 17.2% as compared to 24.5%.

“Considering that the 30-day readmission rate among individuals who were referred for home health services but did not receive them was 7.3% greater than the rate among those who were referred for home health services and did receive them, it is possible that at least [$6.9 million] could have been saved if this population would have utilized the home health services for which they were referred,” the report states.

The study comes after New Jersey learned last year that it had the highest percentage of hospitals penalized by CMS for not reducing high readmission rates of Medicare fee-for-service patients within 30 days of their initial discharge, New Jersey radio station 101.5 reported.

Written by Kourtney Liepelt