Purpose Using a standardized approach and metrics to estimate home visiting costs across multiple evidence-based models and regions could improve the consistency and accuracy of cost estimates, allow stakeholders to observe trends in cost allocation, analyze how home visiting costs vary, and develop future program budgets. Between October 2015 and December 2018, we developed and pilot-tested the Home Visiting Budget Assistance Tool (HV-BAT) to standardize the collection of home visiting program costs and analyze costs for local implementing agencies (LIAs). Methods We recruited LIAs that implemented at least one of nine evidence-based home visiting models in 15 states implementing the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program. LIAs reported their costs to implement a home visiting model using the HV-BAT and provided feedback on the tool. We estimated annual total cost and cost per family served for each LIA, examined cost summary statistics for the sample, and analyzed whether and how LIA characteristics affected home visiting costs using regression analyses. Results Of the 168 LIAs invited to participate in the HV-BAT pilot study, 75 agreed to participate, and 45 across 14 states completed the HV-BAT. We estimated home visiting costs of approximately $8500 per family per year, but costs varied across LIAs (range $1970-$39,770; standard deviation = $5794). The marginal cost of adding a family declined as the number of families served by an LIA increased. Feedback from LIAs indicated that users had difficulty providing some details on costs (e.g., mileage for specific services), needed more detailed instructions, and desired a summary of subtotals and total costs reported in the HV-BAT. Conclusions The HV-BAT provides an approach to standardize cost data collection for home visiting programs. Pilot study results indicate that there may be significant economies of scale for home visiting services. This study provides preliminary estimates of costs that can help in program planning and budgeting.
Standardized cost estimates for home visiting
Pilot study of the home visiting budget assistance tool (HV-BAT)
Yarnoff, B., Khavjou, O., Bradley, C., Leis, J., Filene, J., Honeycutt, A., Herzfeldt-Kamprath, R., & Peplinski, K. (2019). Standardized cost estimates for home visiting: Pilot study of the home visiting budget assistance tool (HV-BAT). Maternal and Child Health Journal, 23(4), 470-478. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-018-2657-0