In the first part of this series, we heard from NAHC president, Bill Dombi, who discussed how future industry trends such as workforce shortages and increased use of managed care could affect home health and hospice organizations, as well as how political partisanship could influence health policies in the near future. Now in part two, we hear from managing principal of Simione Healthcare Consultants, Bill Simione, who shares his thoughts regarding upcoming industry trends in the next one, three and five years.
Simione is the managing principal at Simione Healthcare Consultants. He has held prior leadership positions within the company and has been actively involved in the home care and hospice industry for more than 25 years.
As demand for home-based care increases and helps facilitate reductions in overall healthcare costs, home care and hospice are poised to play a larger role in the healthcare continuum. Innovative delivery models and technology are facilitating new best practices in both home care and hospice that are not recognized or reimbursed in the current regulatory environment. Some regulations are actually preventing home-based care from moving ahead with beneficial pre-acute services, telemonitoring and innovative practices to improve outcomes and quality of life for patients. Advocacy groups, associations, providers and other thought leaders continue to bring these issues to the forefront at the state and national level to gain support from Medicare/Medicaid and other government-sponsored health programs. This advocacy effort must be sustained in a big way over the next several years to ensure that the regulatory environment catches up with the service delivery needs and merits of healthcare at home.
Another key development requiring attention is the popularity of Medicare Advantage plans, where enrollment has doubled since 2008, representing 34% of all Medicare beneficiaries. As this trend continues, the industry needs to further explore and embrace creative delivery models to share risk and drive change in home health and hospice. Under a new demonstration project, Medicare Advantage plans will have the option of offering the Medicare hospice benefit in a value-based insurance model, bringing additional services into play that will include palliative care and telehealth to facilitate better coordination among providers. Additionally, data analytics will be essential to help home care and hospice providers develop a value proposition that supports growth in service delivery and reimbursement to ensure success under risk-based models and the adoption of new “best practice” to meet patient needs.
Overriding the quality and financial issues, all providers will continue to face challenges to attract, develop and retain highly qualified talent in home-based care. Market predictions from many sources point to significant staffing challenges ahead, accelerating the need for more dynamic leadership to engage employees with training programs, workforce incentives and team development opportunities to maximize retention. With unprecedented growth expected for occupations such as home health aides and registered nurses, our industry will require mindful leadership-driven agendas to stay competitive as employers of choice to keep the industry strong and thriving as demand for home-based care soars in our aging society and medical funding parameters remain unchanged. Our industry is well organized and united to forge ahead with the necessary actions to make a difference.
Check back for part three of the upcoming industry trends series to hear from Home Care Association of America executive director, Phil Bongiorno.
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