Study: Clinical Home Visit Program Reduces Costly Hospital and Nursing Home Admissions, Increases Physician Office Visits Among Medicare Beneficiaries

  • A RAND Corporation study published in Health Affairs evaluated the
    effectiveness of Optum’s HouseCalls℠ program on UnitedHealthcare
    Medicare Advantage plan beneficiaries
  • Results show HouseCalls program participants had up to 14 percent
    fewer hospital admissions, lower risk of admission to nursing homes,
    and a 2- to 6-percent increase in physician office visits.

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A RAND Corporation study published today in the peer-reviewed journal
Health Affairs demonstrates the effectiveness of Optum’s HouseCalls
program in reducing costly hospitalizations and nursing home admissions,
and increasing the use of office-based physician care.

UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan beneficiaries enrolled in the
HouseCalls program had up to 14 percent fewer hospital admissions over
the 12 months after the home visit, when compared to other Medicare
beneficiaries enrolled in traditional fee-for-service Medicare or
Medicare Advantage plans not eligible for the program. The risk of
nursing home admissions was also significantly reduced. In the year
following the HouseCalls visits, physician office visits – a lower-cost
care setting – increased by 2 percent to 6 percent depending on the
study’s comparison group.*

HouseCalls combines the convenience and compassion of a home visit with
the power of today’s technology and data. Licensed health care
practitioners use electronic tablets with up-to-date clinical data to
effectively assess and treat health conditions, educate people on
current and potential health issues and identify topics for patients to
discuss with their physicians.

“This study shows that our in-home-based care model is helping seniors
access the care they need and pre-empts costly hospitalizations and
nursing home admissions,” said Kristy Duffey, MS, APRN, GNP-BC, Optum’s
senior vice president of Clinical Operations for HouseCalls and Complex
Care Management. “The work we do through the HouseCalls program helps
people access quality and cost-efficient care, and embodies our mission
to make the health system work better for everyone.”

Paul and Judy Schuster’s HouseCalls Story

According to the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention
, fewer than half of adults age 65
and older are up-to-date with preventive services such as screenings for
chronic conditions, immunizations and counseling about personal health
behaviors. Expanding access to clinical home visit programs such as
HouseCalls can help close that gap and enable people to live healthier

Paul Schuster of Allenton, Wis., was one such HouseCalls patient.

Schuster describes himself as “not a doctor-going person.” At the urging
of his wife Judy, and after years without a checkup, Schuster agreed to
a HouseCalls appointment in the comfort of his own home. The nurse
practitioner who met with him identified high blood pressure as an issue
requiring immediate attention by his primary care physician. Persuaded
by Judy and the nurse practitioner, Schuster visited his doctor and
learned he has lung cancer. He has now completed treatment and continues
routine monitoring.

“Paul wouldn’t be here today had it not been for the HouseCalls
program,” said Judy Schuster. “I’ve been told by several of his
physicians that if we hadn’t addressed the problem when it was
addressed, he wouldn’t have made it.”

See Paul Schuster’s story at:

“These results and the Schusters’ story demonstrate why UnitedHealthcare
offers HouseCalls and other high-touch personalized services to help
people maintain and maximize their health,” said Sam Ho, M.D., chief
medical officer of UnitedHealthcare. “Because of these efforts, more
Medicare beneficiaries are learning about opportunities for preventive
care, becoming engaged in their health care and identifying health
issues early, when they are easier to treat.”

To read the Health Affairs article, click

About Optum

Optum is a leading information and technology-enabled health services
business dedicated to helping make the health system work better for
everyone. Optum delivers intelligent, integrated solutions to modernize
the health system and improve overall population health. For more
information, visit

*All RAND Corporation study statistics can be attributed to Health
, Vol. 34, No. 12. Dec. 7, 2015

All other statistics in this release can be attributed to
UnitedHealthcare Internal Data, 2015.

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Brad Lotterman, 714-445-0453