Many home caregivers have seen pay increases this year due to labor shortages and skyrocketing demand.
In some cases, the providers increased the remuneration in order to strengthen internal loyalty and to minimize the use of costly temporary workers. Bruce Greenstein, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at LHC Group Inc. (Nasdaq: LHCG) believes that wage increases are simply the market that works the way it is widely believed.
“The price of the work itself has increased dramatically,” Greenstein told Home Health Care News. “And to a certain extent it may just be a market that works efficiently because we have massive excess demand for a limited supply of this thing.”
Thanks to the raise above, some nurses have been able to use money on travel, pay off student loans, or save more money for their families, he said.
While the current labor price is about 50% above normal levels, it will eventually stabilize, Greenstein added. But even if it does, providers can still likely expect a rate of around 5 to 10% more than they did before the pandemic.
“What we need to do as a nation is really focus on producing a larger clinical workforce,” he said. “Our universities have to get stronger. The state and federal governments must draw attention to this. Companies need to invest in training programs. We can no longer take the availability of both clinical and non-clinical care for granted. “
Technology also plays an important role in employee retention, although vendors often under-invest in the area, said Greenstein, who previously served as CTO of the U.S. Department of Health (HHS). In a 2021 survey by software and technology company Forcura, for example, only 38% of respondents gave technology adoption a top priority.
“We need to keep evolving and evolving our technology infrastructure to drive the productivity gains that come with properly implementing the technology,” he said. “And we really need to cultivate and develop people who are both well versed in the home health business and who really master the technology.”
The “money ball” of home nursing
In the early 2000s, major league baseball was disrupted by a new way of thinking. Statistical analysis changed the way the game was played, and the most efficient – not necessarily talented or richest – teams gained an edge.
All of this is documented in the book “Moneyball” by the author Michael Lewis, which titled the revolutionary way of thinking in the title.
Greenstein believes the Value-Based Purchasing Model (HHVBP) for home nursing could be home nursing’s own wallet.
“I’m excited about the decision to deploy the model nationwide,” he said. “It was one of [the most effective] Programs in the History of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). And if I could change something, I would ask CMMI and CMS to pass on some of the savings to the GPs who are creating the savings. “
The LHC Group took part in seven of the nine HHVBP demo countries and scored “very good” according to Greenstein.
“We’re doing really well with patient satisfaction and we do above average on readmissions,” he said. “When we think about how we’re going to do this, we intend to make the program ‘Moneyball’. It’s about paying attention to the individual characteristics of each agency. “
By and large, this means going to the individual agency – and individual clinician – level to provide coaching and support for HHVBP to be successful.
This is where technology comes into play again. To implement a detailed “moneyball” strategy for HHVBP, the technology must act as an intermediary.
“Technology is really important here,” said Greenstein. “We believe we will do really well there. Both the delivery and the orchestration of these assets together enable us to [execute] to this great idea. I think any agency will come up with a great idea for the value buying program – but if you can’t orchestrate and execute it, your results will be relatively stable. “