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Updated Home Health Chartbook Shows Decline in Hospital Readmission Rates for Home Health Patients

February 11, 2015
Contact: Emily Adler

Updated Home Health Chartbook Shows Decline in Hospital Readmission Rates for Home Health Patients

New data reflects improvements across 15 quality measures

The Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (the Alliance) – a non-profit, national consortium of home health care providers and organizations that invests in research and education about home health care and its ability to deliver quality, cost-effective, patient-centered care across the care continuum – today announced an updated Home Health Chartbook compiled by Avalere Health that summarizes and analyzes statistics on home health from a range of government sources.

Notably, findings from the Chartbook show that the percent of home health users rehospitalized within 30 days of discharge decreased by nearly two percent from 2011 (19.17%) to 2012 (17.39%) for the top twenty most common diagnosis groups discharged from hospitals to post-acute care. The overall rate across all post-acute care settings for 30-day hospital readmissions remains higher at 18.4 percent.

In addition to declining 30-day hospital readmission rates, the Chartbook reveals that the national averages for home healthcare quality measures improved in 15 distinct areas of care. For example from the year ending March 2013 to the year ending March 2014, there was a three percent increase in patients who improved at walking or moving around while using home health when compared to the same timeframe one year earlier. Other areas of better patient outcomes include improved breathing among home health beneficiaries, improvement at getting in and out of bed and an increased rate of home health professionals checking patients’ risk of falling.

“The improved quality of care reflected in the data from the chartbook is indicative of the home health community’s effort to prioritize better patient outcomes through coordinated, efficient care executed by teams of interdisciplinary home health professionals,” said Teresa Lee, Executive Director of the Alliance. “We’re seeing positive trends that are paving the way for reforming the entire post-acute care space.”

Home health beneficiaries also continue to reflect an older, sicker and majority female population as compared with the general Medicare population. The number of home health recipients over the age of 85 increased from 24.2 percent in 2011 to 25.3 percent in 2012 and home health users with three or more chronic conditions increased just over two percent from 2011-2012. The proportion of female home health patients (compared to male home health patients) rose by nearly three percent.

“We look forward to seeing further positive trends in home health quality improvement as the community works to contribute to a better, more efficient Medicare program with a focus on better patient outcomes for our nation’s most frail and elderly,” added Lee.