The new payment model, which took effect Oct. 1, is designed to eliminate the incentive to deliver potentially unnecessary services by basing payment on data-driven characteristics. Before, payment was based on the volume of therapy services provided.
But the side effect of that has been skilled nursing providers laying off and cutting the pay of thousands of therapists nationwide. Associations representing therapists are warning the CMS that Medicare beneficiaries may be harmed as a result of the staffing changes.
October was a weak month overall for healthcare hiring. The industry added just 14,600 jobs last month, 61% fewer than in September, when the industry added 37,600 jobs. September's total was revised down from its preliminary estimate.
The ambulatory sector made 7,800 new hires last month, down significantly from a preliminary estimate of 28,700 in September.
Within ambulatory, dentists' offices shed 3,600 jobs in October, after adding 900 in September. Physicians' offices shed 700 jobs last month, after a strong 5,200 jobs added in the prior month. Home health added 4,200 jobs in October, down 26% from September. Outpatient care centers added 3,400 jobs, and medical and diagnostic laboratories added 3,000.
Hospitals made just 2,100 new hires in October, down significantly from the government's estimate of 8,100 in September.
Community care facilities for the elderly had a strong showing last month, having added 4,600 jobs. That's up significantly from September, when the government estimated they shed 300 jobs.
Outside of healthcare, food services and drinking places also had a solid October, having added 48,000 jobs. Professional and businesses services employment grew by 22,000 jobs last month. Social assistance added 20,000 jobs, while financial activities added 16,000. Manufacturing employment declined by 36,000 jobs last month.