August 6, 2013

Home Health Recognized for High Job and Low Cost Growth

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The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare – a coalition of home health providers dedicated to developing innovative reforms to improve the program integrity, quality, and efficiency of home healthcare for our nation’s seniors – today cited a new report from the John Hancock Life Insurance Company as further evidence that home health is a valuable low cost alternative for meeting American seniors’ post-acute care needs. The report finds that home healthcare costs are growing at a significantly lower rate than other post-acute care sectors.

The report, which examines long term care across all service types over the past year, finds that home healthcare costs have increased the least. Based on a five-year average, the cost of home health services has risen 1.3 percent, while other sectors’ costs have increased at nearly three times that rate.

“As a low-cost alternative to more expensive treatment settings, skilled home healthcare is critical both to our nation’s seniors and to achieving greater healthcare efficiency,” said Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership. “Home health also continues to be a leader in job creation precisely because it is clinically advanced, cost-effective and patient preferred.”

Home health leaders point to recent data, which further emphasizes the valuable role home health is playing in the nation’s economic recovery. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) July 2013 jobs report, released last week, reported that the home healthcare sector created more new jobs (3,900) last month that in any other healthcare field.

Home health jobs created in July account for nearly two-thirds of all new jobs created in the ambulatory health care services sector last month. These gains allowed the overall healthcare sector to post positive job growth of 2,500. Without the significant increase in home health employment, the overall healthcare sector would have experienced a net loss of nearly 2,000 jobs.

Data show that continued job growth in the home health sector is expected. An analysis by Avalere Health finds that home healthcare jobs are expected to grow 5.5 times faster than all other non-farm industries for the remainder of the decade – unless funding reductions that would destabilize the home healthcare sector are allowed to take effect. ?

“If recently proposed Medicare funding cuts are implemented, they will jeopardize the high job and low cost growth that home healthcare has been delivering to our nation’s economy,” added Berger.