The December Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report projects that 3,700 home health jobs were lost in December, demonstrating the biggest loss in home health jobs in more than a decade. Leaders in the home health community have warned these cuts are directly related to the unprecedented 14 percent cut to the Medicare home health benefit, which went into effect on January 1.
This new report confirms what senior advocates have been concerned about – this deep 14 percent cut will negatively impact millions of American seniors, their families and needed healthcare jobs.
As the unprecedented cut to Medicare home health starts to take effect, 40 percent of all home health agencies are projected to end up operating at a loss. These agencies may be forced to reduce staff, limit patient services, file bankruptcy or close their doors completely. Avalere Health projects that a total of 500,000 home healthcare jobs could be lost.
As a result, nearly 1.5 million seniors could lose access to the high-quality, cost-effective home health services they need, and taxpayer costs will therefore rise as medical services are instead delivered in more costly institutional settings.
Medicare home health services are delivered to approximately 3.5 million Medicare beneficiaries, who are documented as being poorer, older, sicker, and more likely from a minority population than other Medicare beneficiaries.
These cuts should be stopped to protect access to care for our most vulnerable seniors.