Wednesday, August 10, 2016

More than half of homebound patients live more than 30 miles from a full-time provider, says study

More than half of Americans who require home-based care live more than 30 miles from a full-time provider, making it difficult for those patients to receive treatment, says a study published this week in Health Affairs. The study found that "about 5,000 primary care providers made 1.7 million home visits to Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries in 2013, accounting for 70 percent of all home-based medical visits. Nine percent of these providers performed 44 percent of visits." (Map: Home visits in 2012)
"The study defined high-volume and full-time providers of care as those who made more than 1,000 visits per year," Elizabeth Whitman reports for Modern Healthcare. "But 53 percent of Americans, especially those in rural areas, do not live within 30 miles of one of these centers, the study found. And a minority of places offering such care also do most of the heavy lifting."

Whitman writes, "For Medicare, a program whose growth rates are projected at 7.1 percent over the coming decade, to become a $1.075 trillion program by 2026, the savings from improved home-based care could be significant. Of the $632 billion Medicare spent in 2015, 23 percent went to hospital inpatient services and a slim 3 percent went to home health."

Two-thirds of the nation's health-care spending goes for "treating older Americans with chronic conditions," Whitman writes. "Medicare insures 57 million people, most of whom are 65 years of age or above. Over the next quarter-century, the number of elderly is expected to reach roughly 72 million." (Read more)

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