Independence at Home Demonstration Shows CMS Savings
The recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’Independence at Home (IAH) Demonstration results showed that the project has consistently saved CMS millions of dollars since launching in 2012. IAH was designed to test the effectiveness of employing comprehensive home-based primary care services and sought to reward providers who deliver quality care while reducing costs.
“The IAH project reduced Medicare spending by 11% in 2020, and this reduction was statistically significant,” said Aaron Yao, HCCI’s Director, Research and Analytics.. “It reflects the value of longitudinal primary care at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, house call providers faced the challenge of providing care in an ever-changing environment while managing the stress of increased risk of exposure to COVID. However, their patients still received a primary care visit every five weeks.”
In 2020, year seven of the demonstration, approximately 5,000 beneficiaries were cared for by 10 practices. These participating practices saw a change in savings of about $459 per beneficiary per month. The estimated reduction in Medicare spending exceeded incentive payments to IAH practices by $4.2 million.
“The results of the IAH project mirror what we see with the home-based primary care practices we advise: more consistent, quality primary care that saves money, particularly for patients with significant ADL deficiencies, by reducing hospitalizations and ED visits that lead to hospitalizations,” said Julie Sacks, HCCI’s President and COO. “The pandemic brought the value of home-based care to the forefront for many, and it is on the rise as the preferred site of care. Simultaneously the shift to value-based care is intensifying. These two factors are converging in ways that make the IAH project increasingly replicable. HCCI congratulates CMS and the IAH practices for initiating this project, for remaining committed to it, and for the impact the results will have on the future of home-based primary care.”