The “senior tsunami” is here with approximately 10,000 people turning 65 every day. By 2030, Americans 65 and older will represent 20 percent of the population at 70 million strong while during this same year, the number of seniors between the ages of 80 to 84 will increase 75 percent to 10.5 million people. And, the majority of these seniors want to age in their homes. This trend is evident from the analysis published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary, which states approximately $103 billion was spent on home health in the United States in 2018, with the number predicted to grow to almost $173 billion by 2026
This type of growth not only comes with many pluses, but there are also minuses. Both will be explored further in this blog.
A Tight Labor Market
The annual growth rate for home health spending is predicted to be 6.7 percent by 2020, which is higher than any other category tracked, which equates to a competitive labor market for nurses, aides and caregivers. While the average employment growth rate across all industries is projected to be about seven percent,according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the home health sector will grow by 54 percent by 2026, with much of the demand coming from home health aides and personal care aides.
Not only is the number of seniors growing dramatically every day, but two out of three older Americans have multiple chronic conditions, which also contribute to the escalating need for home health employees.
Breadth of Home Health Services
Many different types of professionals will be impacted by the rising star of home health. Even though the largest number of employees are home health aides and personal care aides, opportunities will also grow for therapists, paraprofessionals, RNs, administrators and coders.
Home health services encompass a broad gamut, including:
- Home Health Aide Services
- Medical Social Work Services
- Nursing Services
- Nutritional Services
- Physical Therapy Services
- Occupational Therapy Services
- Speech Therapy Services
- Home Medical Supplies and Equipment
- Professional Medical Equipment Assessment Services
Home health reimbursements have been trimmed, and more are threatened due to national deficit concerns. However, Medicare is still the largest single payer of home health care services. In previous blogs, we have discussed value-based care, which Medicare is increasingly favoring by supporting improved patient outcomes while controlling costs.
However, a third of these Medicare patients are now enrolled in Medicare Advantage, which is known as Part C or MA plans. The private insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage do not provide as high a reimbursement rate for home health as traditional Medicare. This enables these companies to offer extra benefits such as hearing aids, transportation to doctor visits, and dental coverage which are not covered by traditional Medicare.
Looking Forward to an Expansive and Positive Future
Home health will go through many changes in the future, and the overall outlook is positive in spite of many challenges.Technology will continue to make inroads directly in the home, improving communication and helping to alleviate some of the pressures of the tight labor market.Also, home health agencies will implement new ways to ensure amazing caregivers are rewarded and retained. Finally, the continuum of care will become more important, with collaboration between hospitals, senior living communities, and skilled nursing facilities, resulting in better patient outcomes.
Making Sure Your Home Health Agency is a Star
Home health is growing extremely fast, but to keep up with the market it often takes outside resources. 5 Star Consultants offers a knowledgeable and experienced team to help ensure your home health agency not only stays in the mix but becomes a leader in the industry. To find out more about our training options, consulting and coding capabilities, contact us today at [email protected] or 866-428-4040.