Home Health Leaders Concerned Looming Cuts Threaten to Halt Sustained Job Growth
WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) October jobs report released today, home healthcare generated 2,800 new jobs in October, representing more than one quarter of the 11,000 new ambulatory healthcare jobs added last month. The new job numbers reflect an ongoing trend of job creation in the home healthcare community, which has contributed more than 93,000 jobs to the U.S. economy since 2012.
The new report also shows home healthcare surpassing other ambulatory healthcare facility sectors in job creation.
As the Baby Boom generation ages into the Medicare system, home healthcare will remain an important source of job growth. More people with chronic conditions and post-acute care needs will turn to cost-effective and patient preferred skilled home healthcare, creating the need for a wide range of positions in the healthcare workforce. Nurses, therapists and aides will be needed to meet the growing demands of an aging population.
Unfortunately, the home healthcare community is threatened by potentially devastating Medicare cuts, threatening vulnerable patient access to critical skilled home healthcare services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a sweeping proposal in June that if finalized, will result in a 3.5 percent cut to the home health community each year for the next four years. In total, the home health community is poised to absorb 14 percent in cuts by 2017, driving the national Medicare margin to -9.77 percent.
"As the home health community awaits the final rule from CMS, the October jobs report reaffirms the growing demand for skilled home healthcare services. If deep Medicare home health funding cuts go into effect, we could see stalled job growth and reduced access to home-based healthcare services impacting millions of Medicare beneficiaries," stated Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare. "That is why we stand with leading healthcare stakeholders, including AARP and the American Hospital Association, who have urged CMS and the Administration to preserve funding and access for Medicare home healthcare services."
Home healthcare is widely recognized as clinically advanced, cost-effective and patient preferred. Many therapies once only available in costly institutional settings are now safely administered in the comfort of patients' own homes.
The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare was established to assist government officials in ensuring access to skilled home healthcare services for seniors and disabled Americans. Representing community- and hospital-based home healthcare agencies across the United States, the Partnership is dedicated to developing innovative reforms to improve the quality, efficiency and integrity of home healthcare. To learn more, visit www.homehealth4america.org. To join the home healthcare policy conversation, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and our blog.
SOURCE Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare