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2023 Healthcare Trends: Are You Ready?

From the growth of home-based care and telehealth to regulation changes, post-acute care leaders need to be aware of this year’s healthcare industry trends. Here are six to watch and prepare for as 2023 unfolds.

Home-based care is growing

A McKinsey & Company survey shows that up to $265 billion worth of care services could shift from traditional healthcare facilities to the home by 2025. This estimate is based on a survey of physicians who primarily serve Medicare fee-for-service and Medicare Advantage patients and represents up to a fourfold increase in the cost of care delivered at home today.

The McKinsey article mentions pandemic-related factors that spurred home care’s expansion, such as general growth in virtual care, the emergence of new technologies and capabilities that make home care more possible for patients, and growing investments in the digital health market.

Vince Baiera, BSN, Partner for Post-Acute Care at Relias, estimates that the home health industry will grow from $345 billion in 2022 to $667 billion by 2030. “With the majority of seniors preferring to age in place, the industry needs to be ready to prepare staff to handle higher acuity of patients with fewer resources and find efficiencies by using technology,” said Baiera.

Telehealth is increasing

With the growth of health services at home, a 2021 report from the U.S. Department and Human Services found that Medicare visits conducted through telehealth in 2020 increased 63-fold, from about 840,000 in 2019 to 52.7 million.

The report also found trends in the kinds of services Medicare beneficiaries receive via telehealth. In 2020, a third of the visits were to behavioral health specialists, compared to 8% of visits to primary care providers and 3% to other specialists. These findings show an increased interest in seeking behavioral health care through telehealth.

“The COVID-19 pandemic was the push that our industry needed to become ‘open’ to the idea of telemedicine,” said Baiera. “With more care shifting to home health, providers are able to save time and money by answering patient questions from afar and limiting exposure by avoiding coming into a hospital or other care settings.”

Increased scrutiny of nursing homes

With over 200,000 residents and staff in nursing homes dying from COVID-19 in the past two years, the Biden Administration launched an action plan to improve the safety and quality of care in the nation’s nursing homes. The president’s reforms are designed to ensure that:

  • Nursing homes have a sufficient number of staff members who are trained to provide high-quality care.
  • Poorly performing nursing homes are held accountable for improper and unsafe care and must improve their services immediately, or risk losing federal funding.
  • The public is better informed about nursing home conditions so they can find the best options for care.

Penalties rise to $1M

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will expand its enforcement actions against poorly-performing facilities. President Biden called on Congress to raise the financial penalties on subpar nursing homes from $21,000 to $1 million per instance.

New minimum staffing requirements

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted staffing challenges in nursing homes across the country. To improve the safety and quality of care, CMS has launched a new study to determine the minimum level and type of staffing needed for safe, quality care. CMS plans to issue the new requirements in the spring, and facilities will be held accountable if they fail to meet the new standard.

Labor shortage continues

The staffing shortage is expected to continue this year. On September 20, 2022, a poll conducted by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) of 673 medical practices in the country reported that 58% of respondents said that staffing was their biggest challenge heading into 2023. One of the respondents told MGMA that finding capable, dependable staff to assist doctors was a crucial task for leaders. They reported spending many hours recruiting and training candidates for jobs and then found that some new employees leave within the first 90 days.

An MGMA Stat poll conducted on September 6, 2022, among 691 healthcare leaders found that 80% of respondents reported increased stress or burnout in 2022.

A study by the American Organization of Nursing Leadership (AONL) found that the top challenges nurse leaders face are employees’ emotional health and well-being and staff retention. In an interview for a Nurse.com blog, Robyn Begley, AONL CEO, offered several essentials for dealing with nurse burnout:

  • Safe work environments
  • Competitive compensation
  • Healthy work-life synergy
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Professional development
  • Shared decision-making

“Staff shortages will continue to be impactful and limit an organization’s ability to take on more patients,” said Baiera. “With staffing ratios increasing by roughly 25% in many states, organizations will be forced to provide a better workplace and more fringe benefits to keep current staff.”

Focus on retention

Recruiting and retention of good employees are critical aspects of your success. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.6 million healthcare and social assistance employees quit their jobs between June 2022 and October 2022. The Nurse.com 2022 Nurse Salary Research Report found that 29% of the 2,516 nurses surveyed considered leaving the profession. The report also found that regular merit increases, the ability to use the full scope of nursing practice, and managers were top factors in job satisfaction.

So what can you do to improve retention? The iHire’s 2022 Talent Retention Report, which surveyed 2,665 U.S. workers and 578 U.S. employers from 57 industries, asked employers this question. Here are the top five responses:

72.1% gave pay raises.

46.5% gave bonuses.

37.1% gave more meaningful employee recognition.

35.4% allowed for more flexible schedules.

26.4% provided more growth or advancement opportunities.

Value-based purchasing is strengthening

Value-based care is growing. As of January 1, 2023, the value-based purchasing model in the post-acute care space has expanded nationwide to all 50 states. According to this model, CMS pays for health services based on the quality of care rather than the volume of services provided to patients.

In late 2022, CMS announced that it plans to transition fully to value-based reimbursement by 2030. According to a study conducted by Coverys, a Boston-based insurance company, less than 20% of Medicare spending is value-based. CMS plans to have 100% of Medicare beneficiaries and most Medicaid beneficiaries in accountable care relationships by 2030, which means that providers are responsible for the quality and total costs of care for their patients.

“With value-based purchasing becoming more impactful, organizations are forced to implement measures to help them provide consistent care and make sure the patient is satisfied with their outcome,” said Baiera.



Post-Acute Care Survey Survival Guide: Will You Be Ready When Surveyors Come Calling?

Surveys of your healthcare operations are serious business, and they affect your bottom line in critical ways. The strategies in this survival guide will give you the tools to be prepared for a visit from state or federal officials coming to scrutinize your organization.

Download the Guide →

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