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Guest Column
Here’s how house calls can help resuscitate our overburdened health care system | Column
The American Journal of Accountable Care confirms that home health care is a tremendously beneficial alternative to hospitalization for millions of Medicare beneficiaries across the country.
 
Patricia Wasseman holds Hermina Levin's hands as nurse Eva Diaz administers the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at John Knox Village in December 2020 in Pompano Beach.
Patricia Wasseman holds Hermina Levin's hands as nurse Eva Diaz administers the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at John Knox Village in December 2020 in Pompano Beach. [ MARTA LAVANDIER | AP ]
Published May 11, 2023|Updated May 11, 2023

The world and the way we live in it were changed significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic. With businesses closed and hospitals limited to patients with the coronavirus, home health care filled a need for outpatient services.

John Grant
John Grant [ Provided ]

The early weeks of the pandemic underscored the concept’s potential; however, studies conducted before the pandemic showed home health care was already a growing trend.

Related: Here are Florida's fastest growing cities and counties.

In 2013, the home health care services industry was estimated at $68.3 billion. Just seven years later, in 2020, the industry had grown more than 50% to nearly $103 billion. As a result, national firms are springing up across the country to fill this need to help seniors and reduce their health care costs.

Other countries, including Canada, Australia and Great Britain, have all had great success with the home health care model. Substantial financial and clinical benefits support building out the idea across the globe.

Obviously, receiving care inside the comfort of one’s own home is a huge plus for seniors who can avoid a costly stay at the hospital, where they can be exposed to other viruses and illnesses. At home, they can receive the tests they need, physical therapy, prescriptions, medical equipment and supplies, just to name a few.

Convenience is clearly an attractive element, but so is the cost-effectiveness to the health care system as a whole. Health care spending accounted for more than 18.3% of the U.S. GDP, accounting for $4.3 trillion, in 2021. That is expected to reach $6.2 trillion by 2028 per the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The hospital-at-home model has been tested and developed by Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine and Public Health. The medical institution found it is best used primarily to treat older adults by a home health care nurse.

Data from a 2018 study published by the Journal of General Internal Medicine shows substantial savings, with the average daily cost of an inpatient hospital stay at roughly $6,200 and the average cost of a home health visit at just $135.

The American Journal of Accountable Care confirms that home health care is a tremendously beneficial alternative to hospitalization for millions of Medicare beneficiaries across the country.

Patient safety, quality and patient satisfaction are among the other critical benefits.

Seniors 65 and older are expected to make up 25% of the population in Florida in about seven years. Gov. Ron DeSantis is acutely aware of his state’s senior population and has been earmarking money to help the elderly.

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Over the next few years, home health funding is likely to increase, and I urge seniors to take advantage of the specialty services being created to meet their very specific needs.

John Grant is a former state senator who is now president of Seniors Across America.