Home Health Care Is a Big Money-Saver After Hospital Visits

Patients who receive home health care after a hospital discharge are saving the health care system some serious dough, on average, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine (AJM).

With $40 billion spent on hospitalizations annually, the study furthers the value proposition of home health care as a major driver of health care savings and improved clinical benefits.

The study, which was conducted by authors at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, looked at 65,541 patients who were discharged from the hospital with self-care and 6,560 home health care patients over a 365-day-post-discharge period. The retrospective cohort study was conducted between Jan. 1, 2013, and June 30, 2015.

Over the discharge period, home health care was associated with an average unadjusted savings of $15,233 per patient, or $6,433 when adjusted for covariates.

In general, the home health care patients were older, were often admitted electively, underwent more procedures, stayed in the hospital longer and had more expensive admissions.

Furthermore, home health care “independently decreased the hazard of follow-up readmission and death,” the study found.

In particular, home health care was association with significant savings and clinical benefits for certain identified institutes in the study, including digestive disease, heart & vascular, medicine, neurological and urology & kidney institutes.

Conversely, patients who didn’t benefit from home health care included those under the cancer and dermatology & plastic surgery institutes. The study points out that these results are counterintuitive, but could necessitate improvements in home health care.

“In this propensity score-matched cohort study capturing costs and adverse events across a health care system, we observed significant financial and clinical benefits associated with hospital discharge to home with home health care relative to discharge home with ‘self-care,’” the study concluded.

Written by Amy Baxter

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Amy Baxter
Assistant Editor at Home Health Care News
When not writing about all things home health, Amy fulfills her lifelong dream of becoming a pirate by sailing in regattas and enjoying rum. Fun fact: she sailed 333 miles across Lake Michigan in the Chicago Yacht Club "Race to Mackinac."