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Community Factors and Outcomes of Home Health Care for High-Risk Rural Medicare Beneficiaries

Outcomes of care varied by region of the country for rural Medicare beneficiaries receiving home health services for high-risk conditions, including acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Rural beneficiaries in the East South Central and West South Central Census Divisions had lower rates of being discharged to the community and higher rates of hospital readmission and emergency department use. Rural beneficiaries in New England, Middle Atlantic, West North Central, and Pacific Census Divisions had higher rates of being discharged to the community and lower rates of hospital readmission and emergency department use. Differences in rural beneficiaries’ home health outcomes appear to be related primarily to the region of the country where they live rather than other included community factors such as rurality of beneficiary residence (large, small, or isolated small rural areas), county-level economic status, and availability of local health resources.

Contact Information:
Tracy Mroz
WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
Phone: 206.598.5396
tmroz@uw.edu