A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in January reports that certain patients discharged from a skilled nursing facility (SNF) without home health had 32% higher mortality compared to patients who received home health. SNF discharges denied home health also experienced 11% more rehospitalizations within 30 days.

Unfortunately, the study also shows that eight out of ten Medicare beneficiaries discharged from an SNF with this high risk of mortality did not receive home health. It is possible that some care planners think of SNF and home health as duplicative since both are oriented toward skilled nursing. They may therefore be thinking of SNF and home health as an either/or option rather than realizing that every homebound senior discharging from SNFs needs transitional care.

A study like this one can go a long way toward encouraging doctors who already order transition-to-home services and toward persuading the other doctors could be ordering more home health. However, agencies need to present the data by the correct blueprint to win the respect of doctors. Additionally, home health agencies should be staying in front of referral sources by every means possible: in person, by physician newsletters, and through Facebook Referral Source Marketing.