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More Opting for Home Health Versus Skilled Nursing Facilities

Home nurse talking to senior couple 78768320

A decreased number of Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) recipients are being referred by hospitals to nursing facilities and, in turn, there has been an increase in those being referred for home health services instead. With that said, this modification in hospital referral trends is not across the board in all areas of the United States. Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm Avalere Health has released a report highlighting the changing trends.

Home Health Care News (HHCN) has reported the findings of Avalere’s report, showing there were 1,808 skilled nursing facility (SNF) days per 1,000 Medicare FFS recipient in 2009, which dropped to 1,539 SNF days per 1,000 Medicare FFS recipient in 2016 – representing a 15 percent decrease.

According to Avalere, the primary factors contributing to the decrease are:

  • Hospitals reacting to criticism for a high number of inpatient stays by increasing the number of observation visits, which do not qualify for related skilled nursing facility coverage.
  • An increase in the availability of value-based care and alternative payment models, which provide an expanded number of financial incentives for health care providers and payers to formulate ways to treat seniors outside of the high-cost hospital setting.

Fred Bentley, Vice President for Avalere, told HHCN, “We were looking at an aggregate picture across the United States.” “That said, there are markets where…there is a lot more aggressive management of post-acute care benefits, where you see substitution of home health for skilled nursing,” Bentley continued.

With the large generation of boomers entering their senior years and an increased number of elderly patients being referred to home health care services versus incurring the cost of longer inpatient hospital stays followed by skilled nursing facilities, Moorings Park Home Health is the agency to turn to for you or your loved one’s home health care needs.