According to study findings published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, a hospital reduced Medicare costs and skilled nursing facility stays by providing more primary care in elders’ homes. Over a two year period, the program at a hospital in the District of Columbia achieved Medicare cost savings of 17%. Additionally, the 720 patients enrolled in the program experienced 27% fewer emergency department visits than a control group of 2,100 Medicare beneficiaries. The program involves physicians and nurse practitioners who provide around-the-clock telephone coverage, as well as house calls to help manage cases that enter hospitals. The savings were achieved by shifting costs from inpatient stays and other costly services to home-based care. The hospital is one of the 18 sites participating in the Medicare demonstration project called Independence at Home.
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