A new study, published in the Journal of Rural Health, sought to identify differences in trends in quality performance between rural and urban home health agencies over time, by examining disparities in quality performance between rural and urban home health agencies between 2014 and 2018.
The study used 2014-2018 national Home Health Compare data and Providers of Service Profile data, including 7,908 home health agencies, of which 1,537 were rural agencies. Quality performance measures included timely initiation of care, hospitalization, and emergency department (ED) visits.
The study found rural agencies were less likely to be for-profit and accredited, and more likely to be hospital-based, serve both Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and have hospice programs. Rural agencies consistently outperformed on timely initiation of care over time, and urban agencies consistently outperformed on hospitalization and ED visits over time. These gaps between rural and urban agencies were steady over time except the gap in hospitalization, which slightly narrowed over time.
The authors of the study concluded significant differences exist in quality of care between rural and urban home health agencies and such differences have not been significantly narrowed over time.
- Rural and urban disparities in quality of home health care: A longitudinal cohort study (2014-2018). Journal of Rural Health. 5 Jan 2022