It’s no secret by now that the home care industry is the number one job creator. While that sounds great for ads and marketing, the truth is many of these jobs are considered low-wage.
It’s not because agencies are greedy and are squeezing their home care aides, but it has more to do with financial resources. A number of home care agencies operating across the country rely on Medicaid reimbursements to continue delivering these essential services to elderly and disabled clients. Unfortunately, Medicaid cut reimbursement rates to home health care by 14 percent over a period of four years in order to help pay for the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010.
Now, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to put forth recommendations to cut these reimbursement rates (or payments to home health care providers) even more. As states argue over raising minimum wages, it is creating the perfect recipe for potential disaster.
While the industry is showing incredible signs of growth and great strength, there may be a breaking point at which some people may find themselves unable to receive the support and care they need at home.
As reported by the Herald-Dispatch in its blog, Home health care firm continues strong growth, written by Fred Pace:
“Almost $103 billion was spent on home health care in the United States in 2018, and that number will reach nearly $173 billion by 2026, according to an analysis from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary. The annual growth rate for home health spending is predicted to be 6.7% by 2020, which is higher than any other health care category tracked, according to the report.
That all means an expanding market for the home health care industry, and Village Caregiving, based in Barboursville, is feeling the effects. It continues to grow and expand its footprint in the Tri-State region with new offices and hundreds of new jobs.”
There’s no dispute that the current financial situation of the home care industry is strong. That doesn’t mean these services will be accessible to every citizen who might need them in a few years or even a decade.
If Medicaid reimbursement rates are cut again, if minimum wage laws are raised to the point the average worker would prefer a job at a fast food restaurant, for example, or other low stress environment rather than working in a high stress environment like as a home care aide for the same pay, there will likely be a major challenge for millions of Americans in gaining access to these support services.