Home Health Community Leads Healthcare Sector In May Job Growth

- Home health leaders caution that any additional Medicare cuts stemming from regulatory or legislative action could threaten key healthcare jobs and employment gains -

Jun 13, 2013, 11:04 ET from Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The May 2013 Employment Situation report released this month by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) signals that the home healthcare sector continues to provide a growing number of healthcare jobs and is a key contributor to economic recovery in America.

Notably, the healthcare sector continued to add jobs with the majority of them in the home health field. Of the 11,000 plus healthcare jobs added in the month of May, 7,000 were home healthcare jobs. The remaining 4,000 jobs were added in the outpatient care field. Conversely, other healthcare sectors lost jobs in May, according to the BLS report.

As the economy continues to recover, home health remains a reliable and stable form of employment for nurses, aides, therapists and caregivers. The report demonstrates the rapidly increasing need for home healthcare services as the Baby Boom generation turns 65 at a rate of approximately 10,000 people per day.  

In reviewing the new BLS report, home health leaders expressed concern that policy threats on the horizon – including Medicare rebasing – could jeopardize these gains and cause many providers to incur net operating losses, leading to potentially significant job losses.  Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is directed to rebase home health payments between 2014 and 2017.  Analyses indicate that the current trajectory of Medicare home health reimbursement is on track to produce negative margins by 2017 in 10 states, even if home health payments are not subjected to further legislative and regulatory reductions. 

"As the ACA implementation process continues, we urge CMS to carefully consider the important role home health has in the nation's ongoing employment recovery and the economic state of our sector under current law," stated Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare. "Home healthcare not only provides vital and cost-effective services to nearly 3.5 million Medicare beneficiaries, it is creating thousands of quality jobs for healthcare professionals."

Home health is widely recognized as clinically advanced, cost-effective and patient preferred. Patients are now able to receive complex care and therapies, once only available in a hospital or institutional setting, in the comfort of their own homes. Furthermore, recent surveys indicate that 90 percent of seniors prefer to age in place.

The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare was established in 2010 to assist government officials in ensuring access to skilled home healthcare services for seniors and disabled Americans. Representing nearly 2,000 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