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Snapshot: Home Health Care in California: An Overview, 2006

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Publication Date: December 2006

Publisher(s): California HealthCare Foundation

Author(s): Charlene Harrington; Janis O'Meara

Topic: Health (Health services for the chronically ill)

Type: Brief

Coverage: California

Abstract:

As Americans are living longer, they're also facing an increasing number of chronic health problems and disabilities requiring medical support. Many individuals prefer to get that medical assistance from home health agencies that provide a wide range of services, such as short-term rehabilitative assistance performed by aides and skilled care from registered nurses and therapists. This CHCF snapshot tracks the statistics and trends shaping California's home health care market from 1996 to 2004. It provides a graphic overview of agency utilization, quality measures, inspection and investigation results, and payment sources. Among the key findings are:

*Even as the number of home health agencies in California decreased by 27% from 1996 to 2004, the average number of clients per agency increased by 50%. *The use of home health aides is declining, possibly due in part to changes in payment sources and growth in the availability of home care services providing the same care. *Although the vast majority of agencies receive no complaints, consumers and advocacy groups have charged the state with failing to promptly investigate when a complaint is made. *While Medicare pays for most home health care, the percentage of care paid for by Medicare decreased by 14% from 1996 to 2004.