The home care industry is growing. As demand increases, so to do opportunities. The baby boomer generation (men and women born shortly after the end of World War II and through the mid-1960s) is now retiring and that means as they age, they’ll more likely need some level of assistance in life. This is where home care comes into play.
Even though the sector is growing, there are some sounding the alarm that a major crisis is looming. Given the dire warnings from these alarmists, in just a few short years in this country there will come a time when people who need help won’t be able to find it, simply because there won’t be enough workers to fill the gap.
There are a couple of basic reasons advocates point to as a reason for this impending crisis. As noted the July 17, 2018 editorial, Editorial: National crisis looms for home health care, published by the Daily Hampshire Gazette:
“A chief culprit for the shortage is low pay tied to inflexible rates set by Medicare or Medicaid. It’s time for federal and state legislators to recognize the problem and insist on improved compensation for caregivers so they can meet the needs of people who want to live at home instead of in an institution.
Gazette reporter Andy Castillo last week focused on the demands placed on home health care workers who are overworked and underpaid, often holding down multiple jobs and laboring up to 60 or 70 hours a week to make ends meet. Among them is Helen O’Gorman, of Buckland, a full-time certified nursing assistant at O’Connell Care at Home, based in Springfield, who also works for private home-care clients and runs a cleaning business.”
Yes, home care workers have continued to struggle with wage and benefits shortcomings, and while the federal government has cut Medicaid reimbursements by 14 percent to the home care sector (to help pay for the Affordable Care Act of 2010, more commonly referred to as Obamacare), agencies and other providers have been forced to find alternatives to help reduce expenses.
In some cases, clients have seen the hours they can receive help diminish, but also some people who couldn’t count on support in the past (either because they didn’t think it was affordable or available) are able to get the help they need at home. Home care is the number one job creator and wages are on the rise due to both demand economics and government regulation changes. There may not be a looming crisis so long as the private sector companies continue to seek out ways to deliver services more efficiently and provider increased value to those in need.