Report: Hospital Capacity Challenges To Drive Expansion Of At-Home Care

A new report found that hospital capacity challenges will persist for the next decade. That, in turn, is a promising sign for more at-home care opportunities in the future.

The report — Sg2’s 2023 Impact of Change Forecast — found that hospital capacity challenges will be severely tested, driven by higher patient-acuity levels and staffing shortages.

The complexity in patients is one of the driving factors in an increase in case mix index and longer hospital stays. Since 2019, case mix index — a measure reflecting the diversity, complexity and severity of patient illnesses – is up by 5%


During the same time frame, the average length of stay for patients admitted to a hospital has risen 10%.

Both of those factors have further exacerbated the workforce challenges in the health care space, the authors of the report found.

“As the population continues to age and chronic disease incidence rises, we expect increased demand across all sites of care,” Tori Richie, intelligence senior director with Sg2, said in a statement. “The reality is access is a challenge for these patient populations and care redesign will be critical to prevent the acute exacerbation of their medical conditions.”


The picture for traditional facility-based settings of care is far from rosy. As the report notes, that should open the door to more care-at-home opportunities.

And the innovations happening in home-based care are expected to drive increased utilization across the board.

“Home care volume will increase 20%, driven by a culmination of advances in remote monitoring and digital health capabilities, more favorable payment and lower acuity care shifting to the home setting,” the report’s authors wrote.

Home health leaders have long been aware of this shift and are constantly looking to capitalize on those trends.

Contessa Health — owned by Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq: AMED) — has several hospital partnerships. They include deals with Mount Sinai Health System, CommonSpirit Health and Highmark Health, among others.

Home health leaders realize that many hospitals would rather offload care-at-home efforts to others.

“What do we do for a hospital, we can take away that 15% to 20% of business that they generally don’t make money on,” former Amedisys CEO Paul Kusserow recently told Home Health Care News. “We use their ancillary products at full price. We take that out, and then we split the profits with them as our partners. Then payers, they get a cut, because they get that we do that service for less, and then consumers get what they want.”

Source: Sg2

Aside from the positive trends that home health could see in the future, the report found negative trends for senior nursing facilities (SNF) and hospice.

The report’s projections show an 8% drop in SNF utilization and a 5% drop in hospice utilization.

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