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The Home Care Workforce Has Not Kept Pace With Growth In Home And Community-Based Services.
Kreider AR, Werner RM. The Home Care Workforce Has Not Kept Pace With Growth In Home And Community-Based Services. Health affairs (Project Hope). 2023 May 1; 42(5):650-657.
Home and community-based services (HCBS) are the predominant approach to delivering long-term services and supports in the US, but there are growing numbers of reports of worker shortages in this industry. Medicaid, the primary payer for long-term services and supports, has expanded HCBS coverage, resulting in a shift in the services'' provision out of institutions and into homes. Yet it is unknown whether home care workforce growth has kept up with the increased use of these services. Using data from the American Community Survey and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, we compared trends in the size of the home care workforce with data on Medicaid HCBS participation between 2008 and 2020. The home care workforce grew from approximately 840,000 to 1.22 million workers between 2008 and 2013. After 2013, growth slowed, ultimately reaching 1.42 million workers in 2019. In contrast, the number of Medicaid HCBS participants grew continuously from 2008 to 2020, with accelerated growth between 2013 and 2020. As a consequence, the number of home care workers per 100 HCBS participants declined by 11.6 percent between 2013 and 2019, with preliminary estimates suggesting that further declines occurred in 2020. Improving access to HCBS will require not just expanded insurance coverage but also new workforce investments.