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Home Health: A Surging Setting for Travel

According to a Zion Research report, global demand for home healthcare in the year 2015 was valued at $228.90 billion and is expected to reach a revenue of $391.41 billion by 2021. As the population gets older, healthcare costs rise, and healthcare device technology advances, the demand for home healthcare is anticipated to grow. Clearly home health is where the market is heading, but should you as a therapist go that direction as well? Here are some factors you may want to weigh when making that decision.

Want to set your own schedule? For some a blessing and for some a curse, in a home healthcare setting organization becomes everything. By doing planning on the front end you truly set yourself up for success on the back end.

In a home health setting, therapists go to the patients. As in any situation where logistics are involved, being flexible and adaptable are key. The nice thing is that you really get to set your own hours and plan your week in the way you want. For those wanting certain days to be lighter than others this could be an excellent situation. Also, the monotony of a “nine to five” schedule can become tedious and frankly boring. Every day being different may just be a cure.

There is always an exception to every rule. However, for the most part home health travel contracts will net a greater compensation package than any other setting. Given that the market for home health is ever growing and home health therapists are scarce, this becomes a recipe for dollar signs. Pay isn’t everything, but it sure is something.

So how does it work? Many therapists who work home health in a permanent position will be paid on a per visit basis. However, given travel pay is structured, the more likely case on contract will be hourly pay. This creates a unique situation where expectations need to be clearly set and effectively managed. The last thing a home healthcare agency wants to do is pay more to have contract coverage, and have someone come in and not meet minimum expectations. Overall, the key here is to have that discussion before an offer is even accepted, so you know what you’re getting into.

The compensation package is extremely similar to others. If you choose to do housing on your own, you’d receive an hourly rate which is taxed as well as a living per diem which is tax free per week. The difference comes in when you take into consideration home health mileage. This would not be a factor if the company furnished a vehicle to use, but on contract it is very uncommon. You’re more than likely going to need to use your own personal vehicle. This mileage reimbursement ranges on a position by position basis, and from there varies each week depending on how many miles are driven. At the end of the day though, this additional amount can really boost your weekly take-home pay significantly.

All in all, expect a pay package format structured like those below.

If the Traveler is finding housing on their own:

Pay Rate: Hourly amount which is taxed.

Living Per Diem: Weekly amount that is tax-free. Combines housing and meals and incidentals into one.

Home Health Mileage: Reimbursed at a rate per mile each week. Not given if the company furnished a vehicle for use.

If the Traveler has the staffing agency find housing for them:

Pay Rate: Hourly amount which is taxed.

Meals and Incidentals Per Diem: Weekly amount that is tax-free. Housing is not included within this amount, as it is budgeted towards housing.

Home Health Mileage: Reimbursed at a rate per mile each week. Not given if the company furnished a vehicle for use.

Every day, people strive to be more marketable. With every passing hour of experience, each new skill learned, or new connection made, demand goes up for that individual’s services. Home healthcare is an outstanding opportunity to do just that. The market for this setting is only growing meaning that skilled staff will be needed in order to support that growth. Home healthcare is a different animal. Typically, those who strive at it are independent, confident, flexible, and adaptable. Therefore, when a company looks to bring someone on for temporary coverage, they usually want someone who has done it before.

Ever been frustrated that you can’t seem to find a contract opportunity even remotely close to where you want to be? By gaining contract home health experience, you’ll open new doors to make finding your next travel contract much easier. That goes for other settings as well. Being that it takes such a strong personality to be able to thrive in home health, many of those skills and experiences translate into other environments as well. Overall, home health is a great addition to your resume.

All in all, home health is the wave of the future. Hopefully these factors will help in you deciding whether that wave is for you!

Reid Johnson is an Account Manager for the Rehab Therapy division of Aureus Medical Group.

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