An elderly couple sit next to each other in a nursing home post acute care spending

Trends in Post Acute Care Spending

What is Post Acute Care?

Have you or a family member ever required short-term rehabilitation and care in a hospital, or for a short period after a hospitalization? Typically, immediate health issues due to falls, accidents, illnesses or other health concerns can be taken care of within a hospital, but it’s not uncommon for patients to need a longer, more extended stay in a setting that makes rehabilitation accessible. At South Coast Post Acute, we help those who require more care after hospitalization. While in post-acute rehabilitation, patients are brought back to functional capacity and once they complete the program, they return to their homes as soon as possible.

Spending in the Post Acute Industry

Aging is an inevitable aspect of life, making places such as South Coast Post Acute vital for countless Americans and their families. That’s because the services can range from short-term rehabilitative care to long-term care that is needed with aging. But with post-acute care comes spending and trends are changing, meaning payments are about to look a lot different. Despite a previous decade of low spending growth per person, numbers in Medicare, according to a 2018 article by The Commonwealth Fund, we are beginning to see an increase in spending even in the post-acute care industry. Why? Insurance, plans for extended care and the overall need for services may have something to do with it.

The Role of Insurance in Post-Acute Care and Nursing Homes

According to a market research study performed by Adroit Market Research, the U.S. post-acute care market is expected to grow to $481.08 billion by 2025 with a growing CAGR rate of 4.3% taking place during the study period. The U.S. Bureau of Statistics estimates that the age bracket of 65 will grow to 85 million by 2050. As the numbers increase, so do the number of health-related accidents, illnesses or other health concerns that post-acute care facilities like South Coast Post Acute will be taking on.

An article by Healio Primary Care recently discussed statistics from a Health Affairs study of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Medicare beneficiaries. Their findings indicate that post-acute care for various conditions was significantly higher for Medicare beneficiaries than it was for patients who were insured by commercial insurance companies. However, readmission rates weren’t that different between the two types of patients. In the 2019 evaluation of post-acute spending, it was noted that episode-based incentives cause responsive post-acute spending. However, it’s unknown whether increased spending is occurring at a Medicare payment policy level, rather than solely because of a patient’s individual decision to do so. 

Another article by Healio Primary Care examines the readmission rates of post-acute care patients and how their location of release plays a role in spending. According to their examination of a study by JAMA Internal Medicine, patients discharged directly to their home rather than a nursing facility were 5.6% more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days, but Medicare patients were even lower. In the same study, payments were compared between Medicare beneficiaries and those using commercial insurance companies. Their findings showed that payments were as such: a Medicare payment for post-acute care (–$5,384; 95% CI, –6,932 to –3,837) and total Medicare payment within the first 60 days after admission (–$4,514; 95% CI, –6,932 to –3,837) were both lower for those discharged to home than those discharged to some type of skilled nursing facility after hospitalization. Adroit Market Research also shows a projected CAGR increase to 5% by 2025 and a penchant for acute care by the older, geriatric population compared to numbers in kids or adults. This leaves the post-acute care and home healthcare services dominating the industries and competing largely against one another as demand builds. The Commonwealth Fund study suggests that healthcare providers may be looking to avoid hospitalizations in the future for healthier patients, leading patients to stay sicker and in need of post-acute care after the fact.

A massive portion of Americans approaching 65 years or older in the coming years will be Medicare eligible, meaning options like post-acute care are readily available. But what makes the choice of post-acute care, rather than extended hospital stays or discharge to home, better? 

Why Post-Acute Care Matters

The post-acute rehab industry relies heavily on the close-knit relationships formed between patients and their nurses, doctors, hospice staff, and other healthcare providers needed as they age. When a patient is hospitalized, deciding to move them to a post-acute care facility can be one that requires the input of all providers, as well as that of family members. When determining if your loved one could benefit from our services, we first discuss their goals and formulate a plan that is right for them. Patients can receive physical, occupational, and speech therapy from our compassionate, highly-skilled therapists to work towards recovery. The therapists work in conjunction with our team of physicians, nurses, social workers, and nutritionists, along with the patient and their family to develop an individualized plan of care. All of this is to get patients healthy, get them home and to prevent typical 30-day re-hospitalizations that can occur when the proper care is not given. Currently, the U.S. national average of a return to the hospital after less than 30 days is 17.75%. The California State average is following closely behind at 14.92%. The average at South Coast Post Acute is 0%.

Why Post-Acute Care is Worth It

It can be discouraging when the reality of a quick recovery isn’t possible, but post-acute care is designed to alleviate the stress and strife that comes with aging. At South Coast Post Acute, we provide rehabilitation therapy and care for our patients until they are completely ready to return to their homes and function in their daily lives. Our patients stay in peaceful, comfortable rooms that have cable TV, unlimited local calls, and restaurant-style dining. In this environment, they can focus on getting well, while we focus on the regimen. We stay in touch with you every step of the way to communicate your loved one’s progress so you are reaching goals right along with us. Here, you can expect exceptional, compassionate care; every time, every touch.

There is a reason why so many amazing rehabilitation stories begin at South Coast Post Acute: it’s because we treat patients like family and the combination of our expert staff, exceptional care and leading-edge technology creates an outstanding rehabilitation experience. Our commitment and spirit of caring make South Coast Post Acute the recovery center of choice for patients, providers, and caregivers. Contact us today to learn more about our post-acute care, rehabilitation therapy, and memory care services. 

Real People. Remarkable Care. South Coast Post Acute.

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