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Home health quality up in several areas, AHHQI data reveal

February 23, 2015
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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The percent of home health users rehospitalized within 30 days of hospital discharge decreased by nearly two percent, from 19.17 percent to 17.39 percent, from 2011 to 2012 for the top 20 most common diagnosis groups of patients discharged from hospitals to post-acute care. That’s according to an updated Home Health Chartbook released by the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (AHHQI). The resource, compiled by Avalere Health, summarizes and analyzes statistics on home health from a range of government sources.

“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,” Teresa Lee, AHHQI’s executive director, said in a statement. “We’re seeing positive trends that are paving the way for reforming the entire post-acute care space.”

The overall rate across all post-acute care settings for 30-day hospital readmissions remains higher, at 18.4 percent, according to the data.

In addition to declining 30-day hospital readmission rates, data show 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, a three percent increase was experienced in patients who improved at walking or moving around while using home health when compared with the same timeframe a year earlier. Other areas of improvement: breathing among home health beneficiaries, getting in and out of bed, and home health professionals checking patients’ risk of falling.

The population of home health users continues to be older and sicker compared with the general Medicare population, according to AHHQI. The number of home health recipients aged more than 85 years 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 more than two percent from 2011 to 2012. Also, the proportion of female home health patients (compared with male home health patients) increased by almost three percent.

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