Home Health

New reports show increase in home health referrals during pandemic

New data on home health referrals during the pandemic notes what industry leaders have been saying for months: home health clinicians are on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic, treating an increasing number of patients, including those with the coronavirus.

A updated CMS Snapshot report on beneficiaries hospitalized with COVID-19 found that 14% of patients, or around 46,500, were discharged into the care of home health agencies through Sept. 12. That percentage is roughly in line with the overall percentage of discharges to home health seen in recent years.

Beyond just COVID-19 patients, agencies are taking on more clients in general as home care is seen as a safer alternative to other post-acute settings. A report this month from ATI Advisory noted overall Medicare discharges from hospitals decreased by 30% in May 2020 compared to May 2019. But the total number of discharges to home health increased by nearly 32%, climbing from a little more than 88,100 last May to nearly 116,100 in May 2020.