Peaks and Valleys: Home Infusion Edition

The cost of healthcare in this country is peaking, reflecting rising costs of providing care to a population that is both sicker and older than in past decades. Reuters reports U.S. healthcare spending will increase another 5.3 percent this year. As baby boomers age, it will put increasing pressure on Medicare to provide care for the elderly and infirm.

Hospital administrators are seeking ways to cut costs in this environment, which is predicted to reach $5.5 trillion by 2025, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

One answer to the healthcare dilemma lies in home infusion, an option that, when clinically appropriate, can serve to treat a wide range of chronic and acute conditions in the patient’s own home.

As a result, the home infusion market is rapidly growing, so as a healthcare professional, it’s important to stay updated on the latest trends. In this article, National Recruiters will review the benefits and roadblocks home infusion is facing.

Benefits of Home Infusion Treatment

Studies have shown receiving treatment for chronic medical conditions at home can be highly beneficial to the patient, improving their safety and health outcomes. These treatments can be very cost-effective for hospitals, reducing the exorbitant cost of hospital inpatient stays. Home infusion can encompass:

  • nutrition treatments for patients who receive substance via an IV catheter;
  • intravenous and subcutaneous immunoglobulin therapy;
  • treatment for heart failure;
  • bacterial infections and wound care;
  • patient education; and
  • diabetes management.

A 2017 Becker’s article suggested hospitals are increasingly looking for ways to partner with infusion care delivery providers in an effort to reduce inpatient admissions and readmission penalties. The article pointed out the clear benefits of home infusion therapy:

  • Reduced episodic and total cost of care for patients. The per-day savings documented can range up to 90 percent over hospital costs, and over the course of the treatment save upwards of $3,000 per patient. This also benefits the patient’s out-of-pocket costs.
  • Reduced risk of hospital-acquired infections (HAI). With one in every 25 hospitalized patients in the U.S. plagued with an HAI, reducing this risk can cuts costs and save lives.
  • The convenience and comfort of being treated in their own home are of huge benefit to patients, including those with mobility issues.
  • Reducing readmission penalties, which occur if a patient is readmitted within 30-days of their last hospital stay. This is a huge cost center for hospitals, which home infusion helps avoid.
  • Controlling overall health costs. Becker’s stated, “Hospitals that work closely with home infusion providers can improve efficiencies, squeezing as much waste out of their processes as possible, while improving quality.”

Challenges for Home Infusion

While the benefits are clear, home infusion is not yet possible for all patients. There are also roadblocks to widespread adoption of these methods, particularly tied to how these procedures are reimbursed. Care Centrix says Medicare reimbursement is a significant hurdle. While the government insurance plan does reimburse for medications, the cost of services and equipment are currently not covered. This requires patients to pay out-of-pocket costs.

Over time, it is anticipated the home infusion market will continue to expand. Current predictions expect the playing field to expand to $28.3 billion by 2024.

Start Your Home Infusion Career

At National Recruiters, we recruit medical professionals who want to take the next step in their careers, especially in the area of home infusion. Contact our top healthcare recruiters today to learn more!

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