Home health care providers have been under mounting pressure in the past few years to offer educational training and classes to their employees not only as a means of recruitment, but additionally to reduce turnover in a high turnover industry. Dramatic change in the insurance industry paired with changing demographics is piling onto that pressure leaving providers of home care little choice but to acquiesce.
A recent proposal by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to make non-skilled home-based services a benefit in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans is quietly picking up steam. The details are sketchy and non-specific at the moment, but many home health care providers are already considering the impact such a measure could have. The writing on the wall seems to be that providers need to step up their game when it comes to providing educational and training opportunities to caregivers, aides, and CNAs.
Health insurance companies are slowly realizing that job requirements historically performed by skilled home health workers are now being done by CNA-level staff. This is creating a higher demand for new caregiving labor to enter the industry, and a higher level of continuing education to make sure the workforce can meet patient needs.
For example, CareLinx, an online platform with more than 250,000 caregivers serving home health and homecare markets nationwide, has seen this scenario first hand over the last couple of years.. People searching for home care can go online and try to find a caregiver and manage hiring and payment through CareLinx, but the shortage of workers has become more apparent.
The quest to improve the quality of care and improve patient outcomes while keeping costs lower (such as reducing hospital admissions) has placed a higher value on education in the industry. In some cases and lines of care, there are education-related requirements that CareLinx caregivers have to minimally meet in order to participate with some of the company’s larger partner programs.
CareLinx is doing its part , by offering over 25 courses to caregivers within its platform. As caregivers take various courses, they earn “badges of achievment” that appear on their CareLinx profiles. These badges open doors to new opportunities and more work. The courses are free to the caregivers. Because of the size of a business model such as CareLinx, covering the cost is feasible. For other firms which are smaller, this may not be as feasible.
Nationally caregivers have incentive to train and get more education. Like in many industries, the caregivers with more class credits and higher certifications have the potential to earn ; 50 to 70% more than they would at a smaller agency without such requirements.
While Medicare Advantage changes could increase the need for home care workers education, additionally a separate trend is increasing demand for better professional development in the industry, a generational influx of younger workers in the industry.
“Millennials” as they are called, born between the years of 1982 and 2000, are well on the path to being the largest chunk of the U.S workforce. A larger precentage than expected of these millennials seem to be gravitating towards nursing. These youngsters are also hungry for education and training. In a recent survey of 765 caregivers, the data revealed those 45 years or younger were nearly 20% more willing to attain higher education than those 45 or older. That data held true across all races and genders.
The data implies that home care agencies which offer educational programs will have more success attracting and retaining younger workers than those that do not. Retention in the industry may be a problem still though, for when these same respondents were asked if they were considering more education (even outside the realm of homecare), 52% of them said yes. The highest number of respondents seeking more education were black or African-American caregivers (55%) and Latino/Latina/Hispanic caregivers (57%), and the stats were lower (42%) for white caregivers. Lower income workers unsurprisingly longed for more educational opportunities as well.
The bottom line is, education and training is now becoming a must have for the workforce, and the agencies who provide it while incurring more cost at first, may well have the more sustained and productive workforce in final analysis.
The Alora Homecare Software Blog
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