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Dr. Melissa O’Connor honored for distinguished publication

Big data analysis indicates best practice to prevent rehospitalization in Medicare-reimbursed home health care  


Melissa O’Connor, PhD, MBA, RN, COS-C, assistant professor, is the recipient of the Springer Publishing Company Geriatric/Gerontological Nursing Award for a distinguished published research manuscript. She is the lead author on “The Impact of Home Health Length of Stay and Number of Skilled Nursing Visits on Hospitalization among Medicare-Reimbursed Skilled Home Health Beneficiaries.” She was honored on November 19, 2015 at the Nursing Special Interest Group, Gerontological Society of America in Orlando, Fla.

Dr. O’Connor’s article published in the August 2015 issue of Research in Nursing and Health, points out that the 2000 implementation of the Home Health Prospective Payment System “led to a dramatic reduction in home health length of stay (LOS) and number of skilled nursing visits among Medicare beneficiaries. While policy leaders have focused on the rising costs of home health care, its potential underutilization, and the relationship between service use and patient outcomes including hospitalization rates have not been rigorously examined.”

Dr. O’Connor conducted a secondary analysis of five 2009 Medicare-owned assessment and claims data sets, with a sample of over 62,000 Medicare-reimbursed home health recipients and examined the relationship between home health length of stay or number of skilled nursing visits (SNV) and hospitalization rates within 90 days of discharge from home health.

The findings of this study suggest that home health providers should consider the benefits of at least four SNV and/or a home health LOS of 22 days or longer to prevent rehospitalization.

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