Why is Home Healthcare Substituting Nursing Homes
For many years, nursing homes have dominated the market as far as personalized, post hospitalization care goes. Now we are seeing a trend where Home Healthcare agencies are increasing their market share. Making Home Healthcare the future of personalized outpatient care.
Today, nursing homes are closing down all over the United States, due to the always changing demands of the healthcare industry. Three of the main reason why Nursing Homes have suffered so much in recent years are Low Medicaid Rates, Inadequate Financial Management and an Increased Rate of Re-hospitalizations
In an article published on the website, Medicareadvocacy.org, the Center for Medicare Advocacy reports that the nursing home industry blames their financial struggle on low Medicaid rates, stating that rates are "too low to even cover nursing home cost".
The article points out that public policy pushes to spend less on institutionalized home care, such as nursing homes. Instead, policy has been created to redirect public funds towards alternative home health care providers, like VNAs and assisted living facilities. However, low Medicaid rates are not alone responsible for a decrease on the quality of care, or the lack there of, provided by nursing homes.
In reality, nursing homes struggle to keep up with the amount of patients they have and their medical needs. The growing number of the baby boomer generation in need of nursing home healthcare, is putting a strain on the diminishing available beds at nursing homes. The increase in demand and the shortage of supply, creates a negative trend, which ultimately suppresses the quality of care that nursing home staff members can provide to their patients.
In Massachusetts alone, 851 nursing home beds were lost after several nursing home companies announced that they would be closing. For example in 2017, The Boston Globe reported that an industry giant like Kindred, would be closing its nursing home locations in Dedham, South Boston, Canton, and Needham. As a result, many Massachusetts seniors are now in need of specialized Home healthcare and do not know where to go.
Inadequate Financial Management
One of the main roles of our government is to ensure that tax payer money is being used correctly. In order to do so, nursing homes are constantly being put through audits and quality control checks. Unfortunately, government agencies have failed to monitor the financial viability of many nursing homes.
In an article written by Matthew Goldstein and published in The New York Times, Goldstein talks about the debacle of Rosewood Care Centers. According to The New York Times, the Illinois based giant announced that it will default on its $146 Million Government backed mortgage.
The Rosewood Care Center had received funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUB). According to Goldstein, the HUB's initiative to provide funding to nursing homes, was meant to make it more accessible for such organizations to receive loans at a much lower interest rate. The goal of the HUB program was to increase the amount of affordable nursing home beds in the community. Unfortunately, due to inadequate financial management, Rosewood Care Centers failed to meet their obligations and did not make any of their loan payments. The result was a waste of public funds, and a senior community left with out care.
Increased Rate of Re-hospitalization
One of the biggest concerns facing nursing homes today, is that they can not keep their patients healthy enough to not be re-hospitalized. Financial hardship prevents nursing homes from being fully staffed, and many preventable health conditions are sending their patients back to the emergency room. According to Kaiser Health News, one in every five medicare patients sent to a nursing home relapse and are sent back to the originating hospital within 30 days.
Regulating agencies such as medicare and medicaid, have many safeguards in place, in order to prevent re-hospitalization of recently discharged patients. Unfortunately doing so has raised additional concerns. For example, nursing homes with a negative track record of patient care and re-hospitalization rates, are now afraid of sending patients to the hospital as their conditions deteriorates. In essence, bad nursing homes avoid sending patients back to the hospitals because they are afraid of the consequences. Doing so puts patients at risk because it prevents them from getting the care they need. On the other hand, nursing homes which have a good patient care record and an acceptable re-hospitalization rate, do so because they ensure that every patient gets attentive medical care.
Home Health Care as an Alternative
First, let us understand who can qualify to receive Home Healthcare. According to the Medicare Handbook, "You can use your home health benefits under Part A and/or Part B to pay for home health services. Medicare covers medically necessary part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care, and/or physical therapy, speech-language pathology services, or continued occupational therapy services". Additionally, a healthcare professional must see you face-to face in order to certify that you are in need of health services. In order to complete the process your doctor must order your care and a Medicare-certified home health agency, like Caring Bees Healthcare must approve it.
Second, lets review the benefits of Home Healthcare. As previously mentioned, one of the biggest reasons nursing homes are failing is because of insufficient staffing, resulting in an increase of re-hospitalization rates. On the other hand, Home healthcare allows you to receive personalized one-on-one care, which ensures that your medical needs are not being overlooked. According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health, home care decreases costs, improves health outcomes, and reduces hospital stay. However, choosing the correct home healthcare agency is extremely important. In some cases, bad home care agencies, can make mistakes that will cause problems similar to those facing nursing homes today.
Finally, keeping yourself informed of all available home healthcare options is extremely important.
We encourage you to learn more about Caring Bees Healthcare and the types of care we provide. To contact a dedicated member of our staff please call (617) 929-0102 or email us at Referrals@caringbeeshealthcare.com.