The beauty of home health care is the wide range of services it can provide to its patients. From any patient suffering from injury or illness, to elderly patients who simply need additional care in the convenience of their own home, home health care agencies offer a valuable service to many in need, and often times at a lower cost than receiving care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.
Check out these interesting facts about the home health care industry.
Home health care is experiencing massive growth
The healthcare industry is growing as a whole, but home health care, in particular, is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 1.3 million additional jobs within the homecare field will be added through 2020. Those currently in a home health care position will see a 69 percent growth through 2020, too.
This growth can be attributed to the shift toward value-based care. In a VBC world, patients certainly value the level of patient care, but convenience and affordability are also two important considerations, especially with patients taking on greater financial responsibility for their care due to increased numbers of higher deductible health plans.
Roughly 69 percent of home health care patients are ages 65 and older
Given the convenience of home health care, and that close to 90 percent of seniors want to "age in place" at home, it's no surprise that more than two-thirds of those who take advantage of home health care are 65 years or older.
This also coincides with the most common types of illnesses most treated by home care. According to the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, the most common conditions requiring home care most frequently are diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, osteoarthritis and chronic ulcer of the skin.
While it's certainly not every case, many of the diseases are more problematic and/or frequent in older patients.
The 21st Century Cures Act brought major changes to home health
Certain sections of the Cures Act were devoted to improving the home health care industry as a few key provisions required agencies to either update or invest in new technology.
It also contained a new Medicaid requirement for mandatory use of Electronic Visit Verification (EVV). EVV solutions allow caregivers to electronically and accurately record the date, time and location of their care visit.
Due to the Cures Act, agencies that fail to follow this requirement could be subject to significant financial penalty. While states are able to develop their own implementation strategies, EVV is required to be in place by 2019 for personal care services and 2023 for home health services.
There are roughly 12,000 home health care agencies in the United States
With the home care industry growing, it's no surprise that the number of agencies is also experiencing similar growth. As recently as 2009, there were only approximately 10,500 agencies in the United States, but now has risen to roughly 12,000.
By the end of 2001, the number of Medicare-certified home health agencies was only at 6,861. Furthermore, approximately 12 million individuals receive home care from more than 33,000 providers.