Factors associated with home health care costs

Deanna Evans Grimes, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Characteristics of Medicare-certified home health agencies in Texas and the contributions of selected agency characteristics on home health care costs were examined. Cost models were developed and estimated for both nursing and total visit costs using multiple regression procedures. The models included home health agency size, profit status, control, hospital-based affiliation, contract-cost ratio, service provision, competition, urban-rural input-price differences, and selected measures of patient case-mix. The study population comprised 314 home health agencies in Texas that had been certified at least one year on July, 1, 1986. Data for the analysis were obtained from Medicare Cost Reports for fiscal year ending between July 1, 1985 to June 30, 1986. Home health agency size, as measured by the logs of nursing and total visits, has a statistically significant negative linear relationship with nursing visit and total visit costs. Nursing and total visit costs decrease at a declining rate as size increases. The size-cost relationship is not altered when controlling for any other agency characteristic. The number of visits per patient per year, a measure of patient case-mix, is also negatively related to costs, suggesting that costs decline with care of chronic patients. Hospital-based affiliation and urban location are positively associated with costs. Together, the four characteristics explain 19 percent of the variance in nursing visit costs and 24 percent of the variance in total visit costs. Profit status and control, although correlated with other agency characteristics, exhibit no observable effect on costs. Although no relationship was found between costs and competition, contract cost ratio, or the provision on non-reimburseable services, no conclusions can be made due to problems with measurement of these variables.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Grimes, Deanna Evans, "Factors associated with home health care costs" (1988). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI8914291.