Spending on nursing home care and home healthcare combined was $249 billion, or eight percent of total health spending, in December 2014, according to a February spending brief (PDF) released by Altarum Institute. Individually, nursing home care represented five percent of overall spending, and home healthcare was three percent, according to the healthcare research and consulting company.
End-of-year Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) data, on which Altarum’s 2014 spending estimates are based, are preliminary and will be revised as more data become available, Altarum notes. “BEA’s estimated growth rate for health services (physician services, dental services, other professional services, hospital care, and nursing home and home health care) for the fourth quarter of 2014 was 4%, year-over-year, which is slightly lower than its estimate for the third quarter (4.3%),” the company says. “This drop seems inconsistent with the acceleration in healthcare employment (which could indicate a growth in demand for services) toward the end of 2014. We therefore anticipate a possible upward revision in the estimate of fourth quarter growth in spending on services when the BEA data are revised in the coming months.”
The brief includes monthly and 12-month growth rates in national spending related to nursing care facilities, continuing care retirement communities, home health agencies and other healthcare sectors for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.