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Staffing to Meet the Demands of PDGM

Home health agencies will soon be dealing with the implementation of the Patient-Driven Groupings Model, which begins on January 1, 2020. Under PDGM, providers can succeed with a well-focused management team and a well-informed staff. For agencies to successfully move forward in the PDGM system, they must be diligent in forecasting, planning and preparing to meet the unique staffing demands that will come with the new payment model.

Staffing Challenges

One factor which is greatly affecting the home health industry, as well as the healthcare industry in general, is a nationwide nursing shortage. The ability to retain home health nurses is becoming increasingly difficult. One report found that the national turnover rate for all home health employees was 21% in 2018, up 2% from the previous year.

Many nurses have left the field because of the burden of regulatory requirements and the role of being financially responsible for decisions in patient care. The volume of documentation required with the completion of an OASIS assessment directly impacts a nurse’s decision to remain in home health. Due to the reimbursement structure of home health, is it difficult to compete with other areas of healthcare, such as hospitals and out-patient practices. These organizations generally pay a higher wage to their nursing staff.

One of the main things that attracts nurses to home health is the flexibility of the environment. They are not confined to an institutional setting and can adapt their patient schedules with their personal schedules. The nursing shortage presents an opportunity for many to seek other higher-paying jobs with less direct financial responsibility as those within home health.

Creative Staffing Solutions

Agencies must be creative in their recruiting and retention efforts. This has become a priority due the financial impact of having to hire and train new nurses on a regular basis. Due to the strictly regulated environment of home health, it takes many hours to train a nurse to perform the job competently, accurately, creatively, and safely. The time it takes for training could also affect the ability to accept new referrals. A staffing solution like AxxessCARE helps by connecting agencies using Axxess software with qualified clinicians to provide timely care. It can also help agencies avoid LUPAs, which can save thousands of dollars in a single episode.

Home health has come a long way over the years. The impact of PDGM is becoming clearer by the day. The most recent proposed rule for 2020 includes a significant reduction in RAP payments that will make cash flow even tighter. Still, regulators in Washington see the value in healthcare at home. The United States has an aging population and must create more effective ways in which to care for these people. According to the Population Reference Bureau, the number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to more than 95 million by 2060. People 65-and-older will make up a larger share of the population, with a rise from 16% to 23%.

Home health is the most cost-effective medical care a person can receive, and the popularity of this type of patient care can only grow. Adapting to the staffing demands of PDGM will require solutions like AxxessCARE to deliver quality care in a timely manner. In addition to the PDGM resources available, Axxess is also hosting seminars nationwide to train home health staff members how to operate efficiently. Together, we will all make lives better.

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