The home health care industry is growing quickly, with Americans are projected to spend $5.7 trillion on services by 2026. But despite the growth, the industry faces a variety of challenges when it comes to remaining profitable. These challenges include a record-low unemployment rate, baby boomers retiring rapidly, costly compliance hurdles and a general misconception of working in home health care. As a result, home health care agencies struggle to staff up with enough quality talent to meet the increasing demand for home health care services.
While the challenges outlined above can be daunting for home health care agencies, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced new updates that can help home health care agencies boost profitability and improve patient care. Below, we’ve outlined an overview of the update and tips for making the most of your home health care people strategy in light of this update.
Overview of the Patient-Driven Groupings Model
CMS recently finalized the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM), which is planned to start in 2020. As part of the update, CMS changed how home health care agencies will be reimbursed for their services starting in 2019. As a result of this update, CMS projects Medicare payments to home health agencies will increase by 2.2% — or $420 million — in 2019. This will be the first reimbursement rate the industry has seen in a decade, and comes at an ideal time as the demand for home health care continues to grow.
In addition to increased medicare payments, CMS is promoting innovation in the home health care industry by allowing the cost of remote patient monitoring to be reported as allowable costs on the Medicare cost report form. Ultimately, CMS hopes this will lead to increased adoption of emerging technologies by home health agencies and more effective care planning, as data can be shared among patients, their caregivers and their providers.
Why Now is a Better Time Than Ever to Invest in the People Side of Your Business
While many in the industry are disappointed in proposed payment model reform outlined in the PDGM update, your home health care agency can embrace this change as an opportunity to improve your business strategy. With increased Medicare payments coming to agencies, now is a better time than ever to rethink your budget for the coming years. And a top priority in your budget should be investing in your people.
When it comes to providing top-notch patient care, your employees are your main source of competitive advantage. And as the demand for home health care continues to increase, you need to get ahead on hiring – or risk ending up short-staffed. To avoid this risk, it’s critical to invest in a hiring solution that can help you source qualified talent, keep candidates engaged throughout the hiring process and streamline your hiring efforts.
Given the record-low unemployment rate and somewhat negative perception of working in the industry, your team needs a strong employment brand and efficient hiring process to attract top talent. Through your job descriptions and career site, your employment brand needs to answer the “What’s in it for me?” question for job seekers. Leverage your employment brand to showcase benefits your team offers, opportunities for ongoing learning and development, career paths, and more. By selling prospective job seekers on the opportunity joining your team presents, you’ll be more likely to attract top talent.
Once candidates are interested in joining your team, it’s important to keep the hiring process quick and engaging. Hireology data found that the average business waits 10 days to review and respond to job applicants. During this time, top applicants could already be hired for open roles at other businesses. By partnering with an integrated hiring solution, you can automate many steps in the hiring process to move it along efficiently.
A standardized hiring process should include prescreen surveys, which are automatically sent to applicants, helping your team save time instead of reviewing each applicant individually. Once the prescreen surveys are automatically scored, only qualified candidates will move on to the candidate stage of the hiring process, helping you significantly decrease candidate review time. Other steps that can help your home health care agency speed up the hiring process include interview guides, integrated assessments, and automated background and reference checks.
Hiring the right team is going to be key to keeping up with industry growth. For additional information on how to improve hiring at your agency, read our resource, “The Home Health Care Hiring Guide.”