Nurse and patient using digital tablet

(HealthDay News) — The home care workforce increased from 2008 to 2013, but growth slowed to 2019, while the number of Medicaid home- and community-based services (HCBS) participants increased continuously from 2008 to 2020, according to a study published in the May issue of Health Affairs.

Amanda R. Kreider, PhD, and Rachel M. Werner, MD, PhD, from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, used data from the American Community Survey and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation to compare trends in the size of the home care workforce to data on Medicaid HCBS participation between 2008 and 2020.

The researchers found that between 2008 and 2013, the home care workforce increased from approximately 840,000 to 1.22 million workers. Growth slowed after 2013, reaching 1.42 million workers in 2019. In contrast, there was a continuous increase in the number of Medicaid HCBS participants from 2008 to 2020, with accelerated growth seen between 2013 and 2020. Consequently, there was an 11.6% decrease in the number of home care workers per 100 HCBS participants between 2013 to 2019, with an indication of a further decline in 2020.

“Increases in the number of Medicaid HCBS participants have outpaced workforce expansion since 2013,” the authors write. “To sustain access to HCBS for current and future generations, new investments in this workforce are essential.”

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