CMS released a data snapshot of COVID-19 hospitalizations, length of stay, and discharge status for 109,607 patients. Payer sources include Fee-for-service (FFS) claims data, Medicare Advantage (MA) encounter data, and Medicare enrollment information.

Every home health agency, hospice, palliative care, and in-home care organization should use this data to compare it to their own data.

Discharge status breakdown of 109,607 patients:

  • Expired (28%)
  • Home (27%) (no services)
  • Skilled Nursing Facility (21%)
  • Home health (11%)
  • Hospice (5%)
  • Assisted living/nursing home (2%)
  • Another healthcare facility (5%)
  • Other (1%)

The low volume of discharges to home care and hospice speaks volumes to the under-utilization of home health, palliative care, and hospice services. More needs to be done.

  • Expanded Education. Stakeholder education across the healthcare industry to understand the core competencies, technology capabilities, and patient-centered care services in the home is a high priority. COVID-19 has created a paradigm shift in the delivery of care. A “siloed” approach to patient care is no longer efficient or effective.
  • Integrated Solutions. COVID-19 and beyond provide an opportunity to create integrated solutions between physician, ACO, health systems, payers, home health, hospice, palliative care, and in-home support. Opportunities such as creating new revenue streams, diversification, new growth, leveraging technology, and creating an integrated strategy for seamless care. Integrated solutions empower and enable new ways for providers to interact together that are fundamentally better for the patient and system at large.
  • Complex Care Management. COVID-19 helps providers to better understand the “gaps” in care management. For example, how home health, hospice, palliative care, and in-home support can be an extension to physician practices. The capabilities of technology to capture real-time data and on-demand patient care. Complex care allows for chronic care patients to be treated in the home with oversight from the patient’s primary care physician to treat higher acuity patients in the home and get paid. It creates an opportunity to capture better alignment of economic incentives for all stakeholders.
  • Leveraging technology. Widespread adoption of telehealth and virtual care is front and center and will remain after COVID-19. New revenue models create opportunities for growth. As an example, technology maintains continuity of care to prevent readmissions, and ED visits. Data and biometrics create real-time data exchanges to deliver better patient-centered care. Technology models can create new revenue streams and create care models that are extensions of care for ACOs, payers, and physician practices.

There is a need and opportunity to reshape care delivery and create a more efficient and effective care delivery system.

Get the CMS PDF: Medicare COVID-19 snapshot

For additional reading: The Remington Report July/August magazine: Telehealth Outlook & Paradigm Shifts

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