Insurance giant Humana, Inc. (NYSE: HUM) is touting the value of its home health business—and its ability to prevent costly hospital readmissions and streamline transitions of care.
Louisville, Kentucky-based Humana highlighted its home health line, Humana At Home, in its latest corporate social responsibility report, released on Wednesday. In 2017, Humana At Home served nearly 1 million Humana members affected by chronic conditions and functional limitations.
“Home health care is important to Humana because we know that’s where our members thrive—in their own homes, surrounded by the things that make them comfortable and happy,” a Humana spokesperson told Home Health Care News via email. “Health care consumers—especially those living with chronic conditions—need to be empowered with home-based solutions that can help them stay healthier, out of the hospital, and living safely and comfortably in their own homes.”
Highlighting Humana At Home
Humana At Home last year worked with roughly 7,000 care managers and 3,000 nurse practitioners, according to the insurance company.
On a high level, Humana At Home teams include care managers who stay in touch with clients via phone, along with nurses and social workers who make in-person visits. Teams also include community health educators who find and connect Humana members to local social services.
A major win for Humana’s home health programs has been a reduction in hospital readmissions.
Overall, between 15% to 20% of patients discharged from hospitals are readmitted within 30 days, multiple national studies have determined. A report by the Dartmouth Atlas Project links the high readmission rates to inadequate discharge planning, poor care coordination between hospital and community clinics, and a lack of effective longitudinal community-based care.
Hospital admissions for Humana members have been shown to drop by 44% after spending six months in its chronic care program, according to company data. Additionally, those with chronic conditions who receive Humana At Home services have been shown to live longer.
Humana has also seen a 32% reduction in readmissions resulting from its 30-day transition care management service.
The annual cost of unnecessary hospital readmissions is roughly $17 billion for Medicare patients, a 2015 report from the Center for Health Information and Analysis revealed.
In general, after receiving multiple months of home health services, Humana At Home patients report less pain, fewer falls, better medication adherence and a lesser degree of sadness or depression, according to the company.
“The right home interventions can be personal and holistic, immediate and adaptive,” the spokesperson said. “We know that health doesn’t just exist in facilities such as doctors’ offices, treatment centers and hospitals.”
A steady expansion into the home
Home health information discussed in Humana’s corporate social responsibility report did not include the company’s stake in Kindred at Home.
Humana did not provide comment to HHCN on how Humana At Home and Kindred at Home will operate alongside one another moving forward.
Humana acquired 40% of Kindred at Home in a $4.1 billion transaction that closed in the beginning of July. Private equity firms TPG Capital and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe—also part of the deal—own the remaining 60% of the home health business.
Shortly after closing the Kindred at Home deal, Humana and the two PE firms also announced they had finalized a $1.4 billion deal for hospice provider Curo Health Services. Plans call for combining the Mooresville, North Carolina-based Curo with the hospice business of Kindred at Home to create the country’s largest hospice operator.
Not everyone has been supportive of Humana’s steady move into the home, however. Some have criticized the insurer for wanting to “own the home” and leveraging its position as an insurer to dominate end-of-life care.
Besides shining a light on Humana At Home in the recently released report, Humana also expressed a dedication to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, becoming one of the first U.S. health insurers to commit to the international targets.
The U.N.’s set of goals includes promoting good health and well-being, along with 14 other wide-ranging targets.
Written by Robert Holly