An Overview of Home-Based Primary Care: Learning from the Field

Source:
Commonwealth Fund
Publisher:
Commonwealth Fund
Publication date:
07 June 2017

Abstract

In this issue brief, the authors report that successful home-based primary care practices optimize care by: fielding interdisciplinary teams, incorporating behavioral care and social supports into primary care, responding rapidly to urgent and acute care needs, offering palliative care, and supporting family members and caregiver

Issue: Homebound and functionally limited individuals are often unable to access office-based primary care, leading to unmet needs and increased health care spending.
Goal: Show how home-based primary care affects outcomes and costs for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries with complex care needs.
Methods: Qualitative synthesis of expert perspectives and the experiences of six case-study sites.
Findings and Conclusions: Successful home-based primary care practices optimize care by: fielding interdisciplinary teams, incorporating behavioral care and social supports into primary care, responding rapidly to urgent and acute care needs, offering palliative care, and supporting family members and caregivers. Practices participating in Medicare’s Independence at Home Demonstration saved $3,070 per beneficiary on average in the first year, primarily by reducing hospital use under this shared-savings program. The experience of a risk-based medical group that contracts with health plans and health systems to provide home-based care suggests similar potential to reduce health care spending under capitated or value-based payment arrangements. Making effective home-based primary care more widely available would require a better-prepared workforce, appropriate financial incentives to encourage more clinicians to provide house calls to their home-limited patients, and relevant quality measures to ensure that value-based payment is calibrated to meet the needs of patients and their families.