Study: Most chronically-ill, elderly patients live far from in-home care providers: 5 thoughts

A new study in Health Affairs, found that most elderly Americans afflicted with chronic illness live too far from in-home providers to get the help they need to stay in their homes, Medline Plus reports

Here are five thoughts:

1. At least 2 million Medicare beneficiaries are homebound, compared to the under 2 million that receive care in nursing homes. Yet, the nursing home patients were visited by primary care providers 700 percent more.

2. More than half of Americans live more than 30 miles from a high volume provider of in-home medical care, with the studies mostly concentrated in large urban areas.

3. Chronically ill and elderly patients account for half of the costliest 5 percent of patients, but using in-home cares reduces their reliance on specialty care facilities.

4. The study used Medicare fee-for-service provider data from 2012 and 2013 to map service areas for in-home medical care providers and to identify gaps in coverage.

5. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is testing in-home care as part of an "shared savings" project. They found that independent, in-home saved SMC an average of $3,070 per participant in its first year.

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