2016 Medicare Home Health Data Shows Mixed Results for First Quarter

Filed under Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE:  Leading home health market research expert, Healthcare Market Resources, analyzed quarterly data releases from Medicare from 2013 – 2016.

Dresher, PA – Healthcare Market Resources, a leading provider of custom market data for hospices and home health agencies, examined the 1Q 2016 results for the Medicare home health segment and found an increase in episodes from the prior quarter, 4Q 2015, but a decline from 3Q 2015 levels.  Additionally, the 2015 and 2016 episode levels are higher than those reported in 2014.  Conversely, reimbursement for 1Q 2016 shows a drop-off from 4Q 2015 dollars, which had further decreased from 3Q 2015 levels.  The change in reimbursement methodology was likely at the heart of this negative slope.

In May 2016, Medicare changed their data release policy enabling Healthcare Market Resources to obtain claims data in a more timely manner, which includes quarterly releases versus the historic annual pattern.

The quarterly data release further enabled Healthcare Market Resources to apply a seasonality index to these numbers.  Because of that, the company adjusted the actuals, which thereby smoothed out the results, and showed them on the below graphs (blue line = adjusted; orange line = unadjusted):

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The seasonality index factors are:

  • First Quarter   99
  • Second Quarter     102
  • Third Quarter     99
  • Fourth Quarter   100

Unfortunately, the first set of quarterly data released was for 3Q 2015.  This is the reason for the gap 1Q and 2Q 2015 gaps in the graphs.  Furthermore it is likely that claims, which would have been included in the older release method, because of its later timing  were excluded from these recent files.  The impact of this exclusion is that the figures presented are likely understated.

“The release of quarterly data from Medicare underscores the fact that it is essential for providers to know the trends in their individual markets,” explains Richard Chesney, President of Healthcare Market Resources.  “As we see with the quarterly analysis so far, the market can shift sizably from one quarter to another.”

In response to the new availability of data from Medicare, the company has transitioned the entire suite of reports—market profiles, facility and physician behavior for home health, hospice and skilled nursing facilities – to a rolling 12 month basis, which means that reports will reflect the 12 most recent months of data available.

“We believe that as users come to use the quarterly data for both tactical and strategic planning, they will want to have more flexible data purchase options,” observes Chesney. “To keep pace, we are offering annual subscription plans which entitle purchasers to four quarters of any reports, and we are offering report bundles on an annual or multi-year basis.” This frequency allows users to more closely monitor referral source and competitor behavior.