Home Health Patient Volume Hits 116% of Pre-Pandemic Baselines

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Publish-acute care affected person quantity continues to rebound, with house well being companies recovering rather more quickly than expert nursing amenities (SNFs).

That basic assertion has been true for the previous few months. However now, new knowledge suggests the amount shift is probably going a part of a long-lasting development, in response to Tom Martin, director of post-acute care analytics at CarePort, a WellSky firm. 

“I feel we may be starting to see what that new regular goes to appear to be,” Martin informed House Well being Care Information.

Over the previous yr, hospital in-patient quantity has steadily inched its method upward after ranges hit a pandemic-low in April 2020. In truth, on the finish of this March, hospital in-patient quantity reached 98% of pre-pandemic baselines, with quantity not dipping beneath 90% of historic norms since early January.

That CarePort knowledge comes from 44 hospitals in 13 states.

“We’re very near getting again to 100%,” Martin stated. “I may even add … that we’ve seen referrals going into the post-acute area nearly attain 100% as nicely. So no matter this new regular is, the amount is trying near what it was in 2019.”

Whereas complete post-acute care quantity is nearing pre-pandemic ranges, it varies significantly between settings.

House well being affected person quantity, for instance, dropped all the best way to simply 69% of baseline ranges in April 2020, however then rapidly recovered in Could and June, reaching 89% and 105% of its pre-pandemic mark, respectively. SNF affected person quantity equally plummeted to simply 70% of baseline ranges final April, but it solely steadily improved over the next six or seven months.

CarePort’s most up-to-date figures present house well being quantity hit 116% of pre-pandemic baselines on the finish of March 2021. In the meantime, SNF quantity climbed to simply 91% of the 2019 mark.

CarePort’s post-acute care numbers come from an evaluation of 398 hospitals in additional than three dozen states.

“With referrals in March of 2019 amongst our nearly 400 hospitals, we have been seeing roughly a 50/50 cut up. Sufferers going to a post-acute setting, about half of the time they have been being referred to SNF, half the time they have been being referred to house well being,” Martin stated. “In March of 2021, we noticed the identical quantity of referrals to the post-acute area. However as an alternative of that fifty/50 cut up, we noticed a 60/40 cut up in favor of house well being.”

In different phrases, complete post-acute care quantity in 2021 seems to be similar to 2019 at first look, however now skews extra towards the house well being setting.

That may very well be because of a wide range of causes, equivalent to house well being suppliers proving their mettle all through the general public well being emergency, resulting in extra confidence from potential referral companions with “jump-ball sufferers.”

The Elixhauser Comorbidity Index — a technique of categorizing comorbidities of sufferers primarily based on the Worldwide Classification of Illnesses (ICD) prognosis — backs that up, Martin defined.

The Elixhauser Comorbidity Index for house well being sufferers in 2021 is about half a degree increased than in 2019, which means people going to house well being are usually sicker and extra complicated than prior to now.

“What we’re seeing is that, in 2021, the common acuity index of the affected person in house well being is a couple of half a degree increased, so like a ten.5 in 2021 versus a ten in 2019,” Martin stated. “That’s kind of telling me that a whole lot of these sufferers, the sicker sufferers that have been going to expert nursing, acute suppliers at the moment are kind of extra prepared to ship a few of these sufferers house.”

One other attention-grabbing takeaway from CarePort’s knowledge: the share of sufferers being referred into post-acute care with a prognosis code associated to a attainable COVID-19 restoration.

On the peak of the pandemic, upwards of 40% of sufferers discharged to post-acute care have been going to the SNF or house well being settings to recuperate from the coronavirus. On the finish of March 2021, that dropped to simply 5% of sufferers.

“The quantity of COVID sufferers we’re seeing has strongly diminished,” Martin stated.

It’s essential to notice that many of those figures are averages.

Whereas some hospitals have seen the affected person quantity principally recuperate, others haven’t, Martin famous. The identical might be stated for house well being and SNF suppliers.

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