A pilot program to deliver primary care services to patients in their homes saved $7.8 million total, or an average of $746 per beneficiary, in its second year, according to CMS.
Fifteen practices covering more than 10,000 beneficiaries participated in the second year of the Independence at Home Demonstration.
- Home-based primary care services could help to reduce the high costs, driven in part by hospitalizations, associated with caring for patients nearing the end of their lives.
The healthcare system is uncovering ways to reduce spending on some of the costliest patients, those who are older and afflicted with chronic conditions. This is significant because more than 90% of older adults have at least one chronic condition and more than 75% have at least two, according to the National Council on Aging. Around three-quarters of all healthcare spending goes toward treating and managing chronic conditions.
The Independence at Home Demonstration was intended to explore ways that multidisciplinary teams of healthcare providers can improve health for beneficiaries while reducing costs. If the recently reported financial results are any indication, the strategy might be a successful one.
Over the past several decades, the healthcare system has been determining strategies for coping with the country's aging population. While home-based primary care services play a part in these strategies, barriers remain and only 12% of homebound individuals reported having these services available, Terry Fulmer, president of the John A Hartford Foundation wrote for Huffington Post.