Potential Cost Savings of Home Health Care for Rural Chronically Ill Elderly
This study aims to determine the extent of the cost savings of home health care for rural elderly with chronic conditions. Individuals with selected chronic conditions will be followed for several years. Several comparisons can be made. Individuals beginning home health care after periods without home health care can be compared across time to determine if cost savings arose once they began home health care. Cross-sectional comparisons can be made between individuals utilizing home health care and those receiving traditional care among groups with similar conditions and baseline functional status. Data will be obtained from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey and combined with Medicare claims data. Chronic conditions chosen for analysis include diabetes, emphysema/asthma/COPD, and hypertension. The results of this project have substantial policy significance. If home health care proves significantly less costly while maintaining or improving the health of rural beneficiaries than traditional care, then policies promoting its use should be aggressively pursued.
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