Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq: AMED) — the second-largest home health provider in the country, according to LexisNexis — is aiming to become the industry’s leader in employee turnover rates.
Just five years ago, the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based home health giant sported over a 40% turnover rate. That number was lowered to under 16% by the end of 2019, a 12% improvement compared to the previous year.
The company has many goals in the coming year, but improving even further when it comes to turnover is one of its biggest, Amedisys CEO and President Paul Kusserow said Tuesday at J.P. Morgan’s annual health care conference in San Francisco.
“We aim to lead this,” Kusserow said. “We believe that as we retain clinicians, as we give them career paths, and as we give them the tools they need to do their jobs — they’ll really want to stay with us.”
Additionally, Kusserow said he believes the lessened turnover rate is helping Amedisys’s bottom line.
“I think it’s reflected in our productivity, and I think it’s reflected in our financial performance,” he said.
Amedisys has more than 21,000 employees that make more than 12.3 million in-home visits per year. The company sees more than 50,000 patients each day.
While Amedisys is optimistic in its ability to attract and retain talent, there is an expectation that there will be an increase in turnover rate in some areas over the next year. Part of that is linked to the company’s desire to have clinicians working at the tops of their licenses.
“We have had to change some staffing,” Kusserow said. “You will see an uptick in certain types of turnover. We want to employ more LPNs, and for specific types of work, we want everyone to practice at the top of their license. You might see a little increase this year in terms of RNs and PTs, but you will see increases in LPNs and PTAs. So, we’re looking to drive that.”
In terms of the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM), Kusserow joked that he should get a tattoo of the acronym on his body, given how much he had talked about it over the past year. Amedisys was mostly happy with CMS’s October revisions to the new payment model.
“The rule came out much better than we thought,” Kusserow said. “We spent a lot of time in Washington lobbying CMS, which did okay. We were able to put up some significantly challenging legislation that, if we believe CMS overstepped … we would have taken Congressional action. I’m glad we didn’t have to, because things haven’t been passing through Congress.”
As one of the largest home health providers around, Amedisys is in a position to benefit from the effects of PDGM, at least compared to some of its smaller industry peers. Its plan is to continue acquiring agencies that are struggling with the new payment structure and its impact on cash flow.
Apart from PDGM, the company’s partnership with ClearCare — a web-based operating platform for home care agencies — has been more successful than expected. ClearCare has helped create a large network of personal care agencies for Amedisys, which it hopes will create more opportunities in the Medicare Advantage space.
ClearCare was officially acquired by WellSky in November.
Other strategic priorities for Amedisys in 2020 include innovating in the palliative care and dialysis spaces, continuing to scale its personal care network with ClearCare, driving more Medicare Advantage arrangements and thriving under PDGM.
But cutting turnover will always be important.
“If we don’t produce high-quality care, we shouldn’t be in business,” Kusserow said. “And we can’t be the best in care if we don’t have the best people. And if we don’t keep the best people and we don’t incentivize the best people, we aren’t going to be the best in care. It’s all about people, and it’s all about quality.”