Potential Cost Savings of Home Health Care for Rural Chronically Ill Elderly

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project completed:
October 2001

This study aims to determine the extent of the cost savings of home healthcare 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 healthcare after periods without home healthcare can be compared across time to determine if cost savings arose once they began home healthcare. Cross-sectional comparisons can be made between individuals utilizing home healthcare 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 healthcare 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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