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Medicare Advantage enrollees spend less time in rehab

Posted on July 12, 2018 at 4:30 PM

By Virgil Dickson | July 2, 2018

Medicare Advantage enrollees spend less time in nursing facilities after surgery and are less likely to be readmitted to the hospital when compared with those in traditional Medicare, according to a new report.

MA enrollees on average spent five fewer days in skilled nursing facilities and received 463 fewer minutes of rehabilitation therapy for hip fractures, according to a report in the June 2018 edition of PLOS Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal.

MA patients also were less likely to be readmitted to hospitals, less likely to become a long-term resident at a nursing home and were more likely to stay in their communities after release from rehab compared to fee-for-service Medicare patients.

"The results suggest that for hip fracture patients who are otherwise healthy, longer lengths of stay in skilled nursing facilities may not translate to better outcomes," Vincent Mor, the study's co-author and a professor of health services, policy and practice at Brown University, said in a statement.

The results come as the number of seniors in MA plans continues to rise and as the CMS seeks to cut spending on skilled-nursing homes by creating a new value-based care model.

Medicare spending for skilled-nursing facility services in fiscal 2002 was $14.5 billion, about 5.6% of total Medicare spending. By 2016, that budget was $29.1 billion or about 8% of Medicare spending, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.

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