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Patient demographic report offers key insights for home health providers

April 26, 2024

Published by McKnight’s Home Care

Adam Healy


As the Medicare payer landscape evolves, understanding patients’ characteristics can help home health providers better serve their clients, according to the Research Institute for Home Care.

On Thursday, to this end, the organization released a report that provides state-by-state data on states’ home health populations. The report includes each state’s total number of home health workers, home health beneficiaries, the share of these patients with three or more chronic conditions, and more.

“As Medicare Advantage continues to grow, I think it’s just critically important to know who it is serving and how that is either similar or different to the Medicare home health population at large,” Jennifer Schiller, executive director at RIHC, said in an interview with McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse. “It’s about seeing, in a more granular level, the impact of home health and who specifically this care is impacting and helping.”

It often comes down to understanding beneficiaries’ unique needs, Schiller said. There are greater numbers of dual-eligible beneficiaries enrolled in MA plans than there are in traditional Medicare, she noted, and MA enrollees typically suffer from more chronic conditions. Providers can use this data to learn how to better serve their patient populations.

“Home health users are more vulnerable, frail, older, more racially diverse, more likely to be single or widowed,” Schiller said. “You’re talking about a medically complex set of patients who do require extra levels of care who are receiving that care in their home.”

Caring for these patients becomes increasingly challenging as states struggle to fill home health jobs, she added. It’s especially difficult in rural states, Schiller noted, where long drive times can prevent home health users from receiving timely care.

“It is a struggle, and because of the way care is provided in the home, you know, you certainly need to have a large workforce in order to provide that care,” Schiller said. “It’s a totally totally unique workforce experience.”


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