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COVID-19 Healthcare Workforce and Revenue Reductions: U.S. Home Health Workforce

The nation’s 3.3 million home healthcare workers are front-line heroes in the war against COVID-19. The impact of COVID-19 and the healthcare workforce has been devastating in all sectors of the healthcare industry. Home health agencies are facing severe declines in revenue and workforce. Physicians have closed approximately 243,000 offices average and have suffered a 60% drop in patient volume. More aides and personal care workers are needed but lack Personal Protective Equipment. Stretched by challenges, new regulations and waivers are giving some hope to the home care industry.

A survey by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice between April 6 and April 17 to 1119 home health agencies (HHAs) across the U.S revealed the devastation of reduced revenue, patient’s refusal to accept physician-ordered care, and a loss of the workforce.

Reduced Revenue

Two factors contributed to revenue reductions: decreases in new patient admissions and patient refusal to accept all physician-ordered care to avoid virus transmission risks.

85% of respondents report revenue reductions with a median reduction between 15 and 20%.

Physician Ordered Care Refused

Payment reductions through the Low Utilization Payment Adjustment are a result of the patients refusing physician orders. LUPA rates reduced average reimbursement by approximately 75% or $1500 over a 30-day period.

Workforce Loss

Revenue reductions and low care demand have cost HHA employees jobs.

Home Health Agencies’ Future Concerns

The top three concerns from the survey respondent’s future are:

On April 29, 2020, CMS issued temporary waivers and regulations for home health agencies to better respond to COVID-19.