Salaries for home health care employees saw a slight jump from 2017 to 2018. Unfortunately, so did turnover rates.
That’s according to the latest Home Care Salary & Benefits report from Oakland, New Jersey-based Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service, which provides salary and benefits studies, along with custom marketplace studies, for the health care industry.
Released in November, the latest Home Care Salary & Benefits Report is based on responses from more than 1,450 home health agencies across the United States. The report is published in cooperation with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), an industry advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.
From 2017 to 2018, the average salary for executive directors and CEOs rose 3.16% to $207,487, according to the report. Salaries for chief operating officers and program directors climbed 4.28% on a year-over-year basis to $160,519, while salaries for top-level financial executives increased by 2.69% to $148,364.
For licensed practical nurses (LPNs), the average wage was $23.70 per hour in 2018, an increase of 3.40% from the year prior. Registered nurses (RNs) saw an increase of 2.39% from 2017 in hourly wages, which climbed to $35.34 this year.
Physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech pathologists saw 2018 hourly wages of $44.79, $41.36 and $40.91, respectively. Receptionists and medical records clerks had among the lowest hourly wages, according to the report.
“In answer to the age-old question of hourly versus per-visit pay, hourly pay is still the preference of 63.61% of participants, compared to 45.33% utilizing the per-visit pay mode,” Rosanne Zabka, director of reports at Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service, told Home Health Care News via email.
In total, the report covers more than 60 home health jobs, including information on salary, bonuses, hourly rates and benefits.
Of the more than 1,450 home health providers that participated in the Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service report, the vast majority – nearly 84% — were for-profit agencies. Slightly more than 9% were not-for-profit organizations, while 7% were based out of hospital systems.
Taking turnover into consideration
In addition to highlighting salary information for dozens of home health positions, Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service’s report, the 28th overall, also details annual turnover rates by job category.
At 24.49%, home care aides saw the highest turnover rate in 2018, according to the report. Therapists, in comparison, had the lowest turnover rate, at 12.58%. Turnover rates for top-level executives checked in at 14.93%.
“Salaries in home health agencies continued to increase, resulting in an increase in turnover rates for all areas of home health,” Zabka said. “Increased wages throughout home health agencies grants employees the confidence to switch health agencies, as similar wages are attainable throughout the industry.”
Non-exempt employees had a much higher turnover rate than exempt employees.
The national average turnover rate for all home health employees was 21.23% in 2018, an increase of more than 2% compared to 2017. Although minor, the upward trending turnover rate for all home health employees does not bode well for agencies, as caregiver recruiting and retention is widely cited as a top operational challenge.
Still, the data from the Home Care Salary & Benefits Report is significantly lower than other available reports, which have placed the turnover rate for home health employees at 50% or higher.
Of the agencies that participated in Home Care Salary & Benefits Report, 100% offered health insurance, with the national average health premium increasing slightly from $7,116 in 2017 to $7,316 in 2018. More than 65% of participants reported that part-time employees are eligible for health insurance, while more than 92% of agencies reported domestic partners are eligible for health insurance. Additionally, 98.4% of participants reported that same sex spouses are eligible for health insurance.
*Editor’s note (Dec. 7, 2018): This story was updated to include comments from Rosanne Zabka.
Written by Robert Holly