Overall spending related to home health hasn’t changed much over the past two decades despite a national uptick in other kinds of medical expenditures, according to a new study from theAnnals of Family Medicine.
On the whole, total medical expenditures outpaced the rate of inflation. Costs increased by 47.2%, from roughly $246 per individual per month in 1996-1997 to $362 per individual per month in 2011-2012, according to the study, which primarily examined data from the 1996, 1997, 2011 and 2012 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).
The biggest three expenditure increases were in prescribed medications, specialty physicians and emergency department visits. In particular, prescribed medication costs rose by 159% between 1996-97 and 2011-12, according to the study.
But that sharp uptick in spending didn’t apply to home health care. In 1996-1997, home health care expenditures were about $14.2 per individual per month. By 2011-2012, home health spending rose only slightly to $14.5 per individual per month, the data shows.
Both the number of people receiving home health care and overall utilization of home health care decreased in the time between 1996-97 and 2011-12.
Expenditures per home health visits increased between the two periods in time.
“The other aspect that is important is that fewer people are seeing home health and overall home health utilization has decreased between the two time points,” the study’s author, Mike Johansen, told Home Health Care News. “It does appear that the expenditure associated with the each individual and each event has increased over the two time points.”
Written by Tim Regan