Joseph Ebberwein, Co-Founder and CFO
Themes shaping 2023
As Corstrata moves into the new year of 2023, it's essential to consider what the future holds for the healthcare industry. We will explore six major themes likely to shape U.S. healthcare in 2023: virtual care, staffing shortages, value-based care, home-based care, the continued shift to Medicare Advantage, and the evolution of rural healthcare.
Virtual Care Will Become More Widely Adopted
Virtual care, or the delivery of healthcare services remotely through the use of technology, has been on the rise in recent years. In 2023, we can expect this trend to continue as more and more patients, and providers turn to virtual care as a convenient and cost-effective alternative to in-person visits.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many healthcare providers to shift to remote care delivery. The benefits of virtual care are likely to persist even as the Public Health Emergency related to the pandemic ends. For patients, virtual care offers the convenience of receiving care from the comfort of their homes and the ability to schedule appointments around their busy schedules. For providers, virtual care can reduce no-shows and increase patient retention.
2. Staffing Shortages Will Remain a Concern
The healthcare industry has long struggled with staffing shortages, and this is unlikely to change in 2023. In fact, the shortage of healthcare workers is expected to worsen in the coming years due to several factors, including the large cohort of aging baby boomers, an aging workforce, a lack of investment in training and development, and competition from other industries.
To address these staffing shortages, healthcare organizations will need to adopt new strategies, such as increasing the use of technology to automate tasks, offering flexible work arrangements and higher salaries to attract and retain employees, and partnering with other organizations to share resources.
3. Value-Based Care Will Become More Prevalent
Value-based care, or the idea of paying for healthcare based on the value it provides rather than the number of services rendered, is expected to become more prevalent in 2023. This shift is driven by a number of factors, including a growing focus on cost containment, a desire to improve patient outcomes, and the need to address the high levels of waste and inefficiency in the healthcare system.
One of the main ways that value-based care will be implemented is through alternative payment models, such as bundled payments and accountable care organizations (ACOs), including ACO Reach. In traditional certified home health, providers are processing the implementation of Home Health Value-Based Purchasing (HHVBP) which creates an incentive payment model (upside and downside +/- 5%) for key clinical, financial, and patient experience measures. These models incentivize providers to work together and coordinate care to deliver high-quality care at a lower cost.
4. Home-Based Care Will Become More Common
Home-based care, or the delivery of healthcare services in the patient's home, is expected to become more common in 2023. This trend is driven by several factors, including an aging population, a desire for patients to receive care in their own homes, and the cost savings associated with home-based care.
One of the main benefits of home-based care is that it allows patients to receive care in a familiar and comfortable setting, which can help to improve their overall quality of life. It can also help reduce the risk of hospital readmissions, as patients can receive follow-up care at home rather than returning to the hospital.
Home-based care is provided by a variety of healthcare professionals, including nurses, therapists, and home health aides. It can include a wide range of services, such as medication management, wound care, and physical therapy. As the demand for home-based care continues to grow, it will be important for healthcare organizations to develop effective strategies for delivering these services to patients in their own homes.
5. Medicare Advantage Will See Continued Growth
Medicare Advantage is a type of Medicare health plan offered by private insurance companies. It is an alternative to original Medicare and includes all the benefits of original Medicare and additional benefits like prescription drug coverage, vision, and dental. In 2023, we can expect continued growth in the Medicare Advantage market as more and more seniors opt for these plans due to their comprehensive coverage and added benefits.
One of the reasons for the growth of Medicare Advantage is the increasing number of baby boomers reaching retirement age. As this demographic ages, the demand for Medicare Advantage plans will likely increase. Additionally, Medicare Advantage plans have become more appealing to seniors in recent years due to new benefits and the introduction of lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
6. Rural Healthcare Trends
In the decade leading up to 2020, the average margins of rural hospitals were on a downward trajectory, with more than 130 closing in that time. During the COVID-19 pandemic, challenges with limited staff and capacity worsened. But thanks to pandemic relief funds, rural hospitals received billions of dollars to offset mounting costs. However, with dwindling funds, rural hospitals are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels of profitability. Rural hospitals must include strategies that include augmenting existing service lines with outsourced, tech-enabled services, allowing them to retain patients that might otherwise have to be cared for in other acute care hospitals located at a significant distance from the rural hospital, resulting in higher cost of care and increased stress on the patient/caregiver.
The healthcare industry is expected to see several major changes in 2023, including increased adoption of virtual care, persistent staffing shortages, a shift towards value-based care, growing popularity of home-based care, continued growth in the Medicare Advantage market, and evolving rural healthcare trends. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated virtual care adoption and highlighted the need for more effective ways to address staffing shortages. Value-based care aims to improve patient outcomes and address inefficiencies in the healthcare system through alternative payment models such as bundled payments and accountable care organizations. Home-based care is becoming more common as the population ages and patients prefer to receive care in their own homes. Medicare Advantage plans are becoming more appealing to seniors due to additional benefits and lower costs, even as providers adjust to varied models of payment with these plans. Rural healthcare faces limited staff and capacity challenges, but technology-enabled services may provide a solution to retain patients and improve profitability.
Corstrata was founded as a solution to provide access to scarce wound and ostomy specialists. We provide services to a range of healthcare providers - hospital at home, home health, hospice, skilled nursing facilities, mobile clinicians, value-based care organizations, etc. Our staff of board-certified wound nurses (CWS, WOC Nurses) provides virtual wound consultations employing evidence-based wound practice to all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico.