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Study Finds Medicare Advantage Patients Get Less Home Health Care

The Axios news website has reported on a study published in JAMA Health Forum that found Medicare Advantage (MA) patients get slimmer home health care services and worse outcomes than their counterparts in traditional Medicare. Axios commented that this matters because more than half of Medicare beneficiaries are in MA plans, and more robust home health care can keep patients out of long-term care or nursing facilities. Specifically, Axios said the JAMA-published study found “MA patients got fewer home health visits from nurses, therapists and other classes of providers.” In addition, the odds of MA patients having improved mobility after hospital discharge were “3% lower than patients with similar needs in traditional Medicare, while the odds of improved self-care were 4% lower.” MA patients were also found to have been discharged to the community at higher rates, “which combined with lower functional improvement could limit their independence and increase the burden on caregivers.” The study was based on a review of about 285,000 patients who had care between 2019 and 2022.

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