Many Older Americans Do Not Receive the Recommended Home Health Care After Hospitalization


A Jun Li, Mingyu Qi, Rachel M. Werner



  • • Only 54% of Medicare patients referred to home health care services following a hospitalization received home health care visits.
  • • Black and Hispanic Medicare beneficiaries received home health at lower rates than White patients by approximately 7.3 and 9.2 percentage points, respectively.
  • • Patients residing in disadvantaged neighborhoods—those in ZIP codes with high poverty and unemployment rates—received lower rates of home health care services by approximately 5 percentage points.


Home health care is one of the fastest-growing services used by patients following a hospital stay in the U.S. Patients receive health and social services within their homes to help them recover from illness or injury and to maintain their independence. Ensuring access to home health care has important implications for patient wellbeing and the U.S. health care system. Recent research examining the years before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has shown that a substantial portion of Medicare patients referred to home health care after hospitalization do not receive that care. It is unknown whether this discrepancy has changed in more recent years as rates of home health care have increased and the use of institutional post-acute care has declined.

Related Resources

Syracuse Center for Aging and Policy Studies (CAPS)