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John Grant Opinion: Resuscitating Our Health Care System with House Calls is a Growing Trend for Seniors

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.

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.‭

In‭ ‬2013,‭ ‬the home health care services industry was estimated at‭ ‬$68.3‭ ‬billion.‭ ‬Just seven years later in‭ ‬2020,‭ ‬the industry grew more than‭ ‬50 percent‭ ‬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 percent‭ ‬of the US GDP accounting for‭ ‬$4.3‭ ‬trillion in‭ ‬2021.‭ ‬That is expected to reach‭ ‬$6.2‭ ‬trillion by‭ ‬2028‭ ‬per the Centers for Medicare and 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 aged‭ ‬65‭ ‬and older are expected to make up‭ ‬25 percent 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.‭

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 Florida state senator. He is the‭ president of Seniors Across America and a member of the PBM Accountability Project of Florida.

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