NewsHome health spending outpaces other healthcare sectors

Home health spending outpaces other healthcare sectors


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In November, home healthcare expenditures outpaced other healthcare sectors, registering a remarkable 12.9% year-over-year growth, according to Altarum’s monthly Health Sector Economic Indicators brief released on Wednesday. Altarum Fellow and Senior Researcher, George Miller, highlighted this surge, stating that spending on nursing home care during the same period grew by 7.9%, while prescription drug spending saw a 12.2% increase. Comparatively, spending on dental services and hospital care experienced more modest growth, standing at 5.8% and 5.9%, respectively.

The comprehensive report on personal spending in healthcare goods and services for November revealed an overall 7.3% year-over-year increase.

Miller emphasized that the accelerated growth in home healthcare spending was primarily due to heightened utilization rather than price hikes, with utilization increasing by 8.6% year over year, while prices grew by 4.3%. In contrast, growth in nursing home care was evenly split between utilization and prices, with utilization increasing by 4% year over year.

Job Growth in the Healthcare Sector

Altarum’s report also highlighted healthcare employment growth trends, indicating that December marked a slower pace but concluded a historically significant year for job creation in 2023. The healthcare sector witnessed the addition of 654,000 jobs throughout the year, accounting for nearly a quarter of all jobs added to the economy.

In December, nursing facilities and residential care facilities collectively added a net of 3,200 jobs. While nursing homes contributed 4,700 jobs, other nursing and residential care settings experienced a loss of 1,500 jobs. Miller noted that despite the growth, nursing and residential care employment remained 154,200 jobs (4.6%) below pre-pandemic levels.

December’s healthcare job growth was primarily led by the expansion of ambulatory care settings, adding 19,200 jobs, followed by hospitals with an increase of 15,300 jobs.

Wage Growth and Economic Overview

Wage growth in December within healthcare settings varied, with nursing and residential care leading at 4% year over year, followed by hospitals at 3.3%, and ambulatory care settings at 2.4%.

On a broader economic scale, the overall economy added 216,000 jobs in December, slightly below the 12-month average of 224,750. The unemployment rate remained stable at 3.7%. ADP Chief Economist Nela Richardson noted that progress on inflation has brightened the economic outlook, despite a slowdown in hiring and pay.

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