It’s no surprise, or secret, now that hospitals have been under increasing pressure to reduce readmission rates. For nearly a decade, the federal government, through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), has been forcing these medical practices to reevaluate the level of post-discharge care and support they offer patients in order to improve recovery.
Initially, many hospitals were resistant to the new regulations, but a new study shows that as these healthcare organizations invest more heavily in home care, it’s having a direct impact on reducing those readmission rates.
A survey conducted by NEJM Catalyst and the BDO Center for Healthcare Excellence and Innovation determined that a greater investment in these post-care options, such as home care, helps to improve overall care of patients and avoid costly readmissions to hospitals.
Recycle Intelligence reported in its blog, Providers Investing in Home Health to Prepare for Aging Population, written by Jacqueline LaPointe:
“The survey results show that providers are aiming to control their costs by caring for elderly patients outside of the practice or hospital system, David Friend, MD, Chief Transformation Officer at the BDO Center for Healthcare Excellence and Innovation recently explained to RevCycleIntelligence.com.
“We think that as demand for elder care services increases in line with population growth, most provider investments will aim to get care closer to home,” he said. “This means that we will likely start to see traditional elder care providers and facilities acquiring home health services providers, and skilled nursing facilities and long-term acute care will continue to represent a fragmented market and opportunity for mergers and acquisitions.””
Home care agencies and organizations that reach out and connect with these medical facilities can help to bridge the gap that once existed between the two entities, providing hospitals and even clinics more options to share with their patients when they are sent home.
There are numerous reasons why home care is playing an increasingly important role in the overall healthcare of patients leaving the hospital, but a significant part of that involves support, both physical and emotional. Also, experienced home health care providers can help patients become more familiar with their own personal care needs that may have changed in light of the health crisis, accident, or other emergency that put them in the hospital initially.
It is far more cost-effective for hospitals to invest in post-discharge care for patients than to face the prospect of federal penalties every time another patient has to be readmitted. Home care is the tool that is allowing hospitals to be in compliance with those new regulations.
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