Among other top policy issues, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) most recent report focuses on ways to leverage and support the Acute Hospital Care at Home (AHCAH) program. AHCAH was established during the COVID-19 pandemic and allows for acute-level hospital care to be provided right in the person’s home, but the program is set to expire in December 2024. The MedPAC report addresses concerns regarding certain aspects of the program but also highlights its benefits. One concern raised by MedPAC is that beneficiaries receive fewer services through AHCAH compared to an inpatient stay. Additionally, the cost of in-home care appears to be higher.

The report notes that the program’s benefit to Hospital-at-Home (HAH) patients is the emotional and physical comfort of receiving care in their own home. This can result in a better patient and provider experience, which can improve health care outcomes and care continuity. HAH also has reduced readmission rates, compared to those receiving inpatient care. MedPAC’s key concern is ensuring that AHCAH doesn’t draw patients away from other less expensive home-based Medicare services, and ensuring patients are evaluated at a hospital prior to receiving health care at home. “Whether AHCAH can provide value to beneficiaries and the Medicare program—through better outcomes and reduced Medicare expenditures for follow-on care—has yet to be conclusively determined,” says the report.

AHPA extends our gratitude to McKenzie Kauffman, guest author of this article.
McKenzie is a graduate student in the Master of Communication & Business Leadership program at High Point University