It’s no secret that the home health care industry is growing. It’s not just growing in the services and number of agencies and providers it offers, but also in demand. As more aging men and women and disabled adults turn to home care providers and other services to avoid costly and potentially lengthy stays at hospitals and nursing homes, a question of cost and how to pay for it is often a concern.
The home care industry across the United States now exceeds 15,000 providers, which include home health care agencies. Many of these agencies provide basic services such as assistance with bathing, toileting, meal preparation, and mobility while some also offer skilled nursing services. In many of these cases, reimbursement for these home care services can come privately or through Medicare/Medicaid.
A growing number of home care services that provide basic support are privately funded while those offering home health care strategies and solutions are Medicare certified. While this growing demand is placing increased pressure on the industry as a whole, it is also met with a conundrum, most notably the repeated cuts at the federal level to reimbursement rates afforded home health care agencies.
However, as more professionals note, as a federal government has also placed increased pressure on hospitals to reduce the length of stays and readmission rates, the importance of home health care has grown.
According to Forbes in the article, The Interim Healthcare Franchise Program: Strengthened By Medicare, written by Ed Teixeira:
“Hofstra University in The Rise of Home Health Care in 2017 reported that Medicare disbursements and population growth will fuel coming changes. Disabled adults and seniors over 85 represent 15% of those 65 and over, a group which comprises the largest segment of Medicare-aided home health care. With shorter hospital stays becoming the norm, home health agencies provide lower cost care, with a focus on favorable patient outcomes. Within this environment, it’s important to note that most franchisors provide only senior care or companion type home care while a small number of franchises provide some home health care or skilled nursing services. The franchisor with the highest number of Medicare-certified franchises providing home health care services is Interim Healthcare.”
Therefore, the home care industry is faced with a conundrum: provide top level healthcare services and other supports while also dealing with limited reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid. This can sometimes result in fewer approved hours per client, a greater reliance on technological innovations, and other forward thinking processes.
The home care industry continues to be a beacon for disabled and elderly adults who require care and support at home, either for short-term or long-term needs, and some of these agencies have to face limited financial resources while also seeking out the best, most qualified care providers for their clients.