Home health and hospice admissions in the U.S. continued to rise in the second quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, utilization remained steady in home health care and continued to increase in hospice.
That’s according to the latest quarterly trends report from analytics and metrics firm Atlanta-based Excel Health, which offers on-demand, cloud-based data solutions for some of the biggest players in the post-acute care sector.
“With 10 of the 20 largest home health and hospice agencies as clients, more patients pass through Excel Health providers than any other growth solution in the market,” Excel Health CEO Ian Juliano told Home Health Care News.
Juliano pointed to home health admissions and hospice utilization growth as key takeaways from the latest quarterly report.
Home health admissions reached a record high in the first quarter of 2018, increasing 1.6% from Q1 2017 to 981,100, according to the report, which is based on 100% of the most recent Medicare parts A and B claims data.
“This is a direct result of the increased number of reported flu and pneumonia cases in late 2017 that precipitated home health referrals,” the report stated, calling the 2017-2018 flu season the worst since 2009.
However, growth in home health admissions corresponds with beneficiary growth, indicating that rates are flat, according to the report. At the same time, utilization rates remained nearly constant, growing from 2.58% in the first quarter of 2017 to 2.61% for the same period in 2018.
Meanwhile, hospice admissions grew 3.5% from the second quarter of 2017 to the second quarter of 2018, rising to 335,200. During that period, hospice utilization, which measures the use of hospice services among Medicare decedents, increased 1.5 percentage points to 49.7%.
Medicare Advantage also saw significant growth between the second quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2018.
After a 6.4% increase, data shows MA is now 35% of the total Medicare beneficiaries.
Additionally, the MA plan beneficiaries grew by more than 1.2 million people, which is double the growth in beneficiaries as a whole.
Written by Bailey Bryant