Current trends reflect an increase in at-home care, and the extended care market is seeing rapid shifts for both providers and patients. There is significant growth in the number of home health agencies as well as home care product sales, while hospices experienced moderate growth. Skilled nursing facilities experienced minimal growth, while the number of SNF provider days of reimbursed care actually declined slightly in favor of increased intensive therapy days. The growing aged population and changes to reimbursement are coming together to reconfigure the extended care landscape.
Aging-in-place, new technology, nursing shortages, and an increasing number of mergers and acquisitions are all noteworthy trends in 2015 within extended care. Providers are also looking at transitional care, near-patient testing, and other innovative ways to care for the population, while on-line retailers are seeing a 10% increase in sales over prior year reports.
With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in place, newer legislation seeks to improve patient outcomes in skilled nursing facilities and to reduce hospital readmissions. SNFs, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and hospices all are receiving a slight increase in reimbursement levels in either fiscal year 2015 or 2016. All are experiencing new quality reporting standards and Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) requirements by Medicare.
GHX SALES DATA
The data from the Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX) Market Intelligence program provides statistics on overall growth in extended care sales through distribution, as well as for top product categories by both dollars and units for the prior calendar year. Of the $40.2 billion in overall healthcare sales through distribution as reported by GHX, extended care’s share remained at 24% for 2013 to 2014. As a subset of that, in home health product sales, point-of-care testing reagents and supplies, as well as specimen collection kits and supplies saw the greatest growth from 2013 to 2014.