Rural hospitals tend to use more skilled nursing facility versus home health care services, leading to higher healthcare costs

From RevCycleIntelligence:

Despite receiving similar post-acute care services overall, rural hospital patients tend to undergo more skilled nursing facility treatment than home health care versus urban hospital patients, contributing to higher healthcare costs, according to recent research in the American Journal of Accountable Care.

With increased skilled nursing facility use, healthcare costs rise. The average cost of a skilled nursing facility stay is $11,357 versus just $2,720 for a home health care episode, the study stated, citing a March 2015 Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) report.

Colorado-based researchers examined the 2012 National Inpatient Sample from the Health Care Cost and Utilization Project to determine how post-acute care utilization and Medicare spending varies by geographic region.

The data revealed that post-acute care utilization was similar among patients discharged from rural versus urban hospitals. Rural hospital patients were only slightly less likely to receive post-acute care with an odds ratio of 0.95.