December 7, 2020

Home Health Patient Demographics Shift as Demand for Home Health Surges

Data reported in the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation’s annual Home Health Chartbook provides a timely look at the growing role of home health care in the lives of older Americans. The Chartbook, composed and compiled by Avalere Health, provides an overview of home health patients characteristics, the home health workforce, the economic impact of the sector and rehospitalization trends.

According to the 2020 Chartbook, the home health population data again reveal that home health patients are older, sicker, more diverse and more economically vulnerable that other patient populations:

  • 56.7% of home health patients are 75+ compared to 37.2% of all Medicare beneficiaries.
  • 50.4% of home health patients have an annual income of less than $25,000 per year compared to 37.3% of all Medicare beneficiaries.
  • 19% of home health patients are an ethnic minority compared to 11.2% of SNF patients.

The data also show an increase in chronic diseases among home health users:

  • 47.3% of home health beneficiaries have 5+ chronic conditions compared to 22.4% of all Medicare beneficiaries.
  • 1.3% increase in home health patients who are managing five or more chronic illnesses, from 46% in 2019 to 47.3% in 2020.
  • 82.4% of home health users have three or more chronic conditions, an 1.9% increase from the 2019 data.

The 2020 Chartbook also illustrates a continued decline in Medicare-Certified free-standing home health agencies (HHA’s). Since the Alliance Chartbook was published in 2019, 325 free-standing agencies have closed.

We commend the Alliance for annually gathering and reporting this data, and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) for sponsoring the Chartbook 2020. This comprehensive set of information enables the home health sector to more effectively advocate for home health and the vulnerable patient population we serve.

To view the Home Health Chartbook 2020, click here.

To view the Alliance/NAHC press release, click here.