A newly published study in the Journal of Rural Health examines rural-urban differences in home-health care using national home health data from 2014 to 2018 from 7,908 home-health agencies, 1,537 of which were rural. Here are some of the study's findings:
- Rural agencies were less likely to be for-profit and accredited.
- Rural agencies were more likely to be hospital-based.
- Rural agencies were more likely to serve Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.
- Rural agencies were more likely to have hospice programs.
- Rural agencies were consistently better at establishing timely care.
- Urban agencies were better at keeping patients out of the emergency room or hospital.
- Providers from rural home-health agencies often spend significant time traveling to and from patients' homes, which could result in less-efficient care.
- Rural agencies also face persistent staffing and resource issues.
- Rural home-health patients are also more likely to be in poorer health than urban patients.