A congressional pilot program called Independence at Home, has been allowing some of the sickest Medicare patients to receive care at home instead of in a skilled nursing facility. As discussed in a Wall Street Journal article titled “Elderly, Ailing—and Treated at Home”, the program has been a success since its launch in 2012 by providing high quality care at a lower cost than traditional Medicare.
In order to qualify, seniors must have been hospitalized within the past year and suffer from two or more chronic conditions. Patients must also require assistance with activities of daily living and have needed rehabilitation services such as a stay in a skilled nursing facility within the past year. Once accepted into the program, care is focused on keeping the patient healthly and at home. Avoiding hospitalization and increasing quality of care has lead to an estimated savings of $3,000 per patient in the program’s first year.
Unfortunately, the 10,000 patient cap on the program has been met. Hopefully, Congress will expand this program in the future so that more seniors can receive quality care at home.