Home Healthc Now. 2021 Nov-Dec 01;39(6):302-309. doi: 10.1097/NHH.0000000000001023.
Malignant pleural effusion (MPE) resulting from metastatic spread to the pleura frequently occurs in patients with primary lung, breast, hematological, gastrointestinal, and gynecological cancers. These effusions tend to reaccumulate quickly, and the patient requires increasingly frequent thoracentesis. An indwelling pleural catheter allows for dramatic improvement in quality of life as the patient has the power to ease her/his own suffering by draining the effusion at home when shortness of breath and/or chest pain intensifies. Patients with MPE need home healthcare support to address symptom management related to complications of advanced metastatic cancer and antineoplasm treatment regimens. The financial obstacles for the home healthcare agency are explored by using agency supply costs, per visit costs, and the patient-driven groupings reimbursement mode grouper to estimate reimbursement. Care for a home healthcare patient with MPE costs Medicare approximately $64.50 per day, markedly less than costs for hospitalization and outpatient thoracentesis. Unfortunately, agencies must absorb the cost of vacuum drainage bottles. Whereas a small positive balance of $291 was estimated for the first 30-day posthospital episode, losses were estimated at $1,185 to $1,633 for subsequent 30-day episodes. Absorbing these costs has become extremely difficult as home healthcare agencies are experiencing unprecedented COVID-19 infection control and staffing-related costs.