How Amedisys, CenterWell Home Health Are Retaining Workers In 2024

This article is a part of your HHCN+ Membership

Every home-based care provider wants to recruit and retain better this year than they did last year. But that’s easier said than done.

Companies are constantly tinkering with their approaches to attract and retain skilled professionals, and are doing so in 2024 yet again.

Between new recruiting processes, career advancement opportunities and more technology, there’s a lot to learn from some of the more forward-thinking organizations in home-based care.


“There’s lots of data that shows the importance of the purpose of an organization,” Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq: AMED) Chief People Officer Adam Holton told Home Health Care News. “I’ve never worked in an organization before where people care this much about taking care of other people. Our leaders have that same mindset with our caregivers as our caregivers do with their patients. That cultural piece is something that we don’t take for granted.”

Investments made at Amedisys

Amedisys had one of its strongest years in 2023, when it comes to organic growth within its nurse hiring program.

At the same time, it has struggled to hold onto its nurses. When clinicians leave Amedisys, over 50% of the time it is in the first year.


“There are two big levers in this space,” Holton said. “You either bring in more clinicians at a faster rate or retain them at a better clip. Obviously it sounds simple, but it’s not.”

Based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Amedisys is one of the largest home health and hospice companies in the country. It has over 520 care centers and about 19,000 employees across 37 states and the District of Columbia.

In order to keep the momentum strong from 2023 to 2024, Holton and his team have doubled down on a number of initiatives that have worked incredibly well over the past 15 months. Those ventures include widening the aperture of where Amedisys looks for talent and implementing sourcing capabilities to its job posting program.

“Once upon a time in our industry, and in our company as well, we could get away with only hiring primarily — and almost exclusively — individuals who had past backgrounds and home health,” Holton said. Those days are over.”

Estimates vary, but the general consensus for how many home health nurses the industry is short ranges from 200,000 to 400,000. The nurse workforce contracted by 3.3% during the pandemic while the demand continues to rise every year between 5% and 7%, Holton said.

Because of that, home health providers have to get creative to find the right workers. Last year, Amedisys invested in a new applicant tracking system that has been a real needle mover, Holton said.

“That has been game changing for us as an organization,” Holton said. “Being able to take our great recruiters and focus less of their time on a lot of administrative, manual work and have them focus on the art and science of recruiting great clinicians to come into the organization has been hugely important.”

Another major investment Amedisys has made is in its preceptor program. Although expensive, Amedisys has dedicated nurses who are not operational in the field, but are solely there to train new hires.

“It’s not new to the industry, and we’ve done it in the past, but we’ve really started to see value from it,” Holton said. “It’s an investment where we have individuals now that have been hired to 100% work with new clinicians coming in to train them, answer all the questions, to follow up with them and to make sure that they’re comfortable and confident in what they’re going to be doing day in and day out.”

CenterWell’s investments

As is the case in all of health care, information is king.

Data can be used at every level of a business, particularly when hiring clinicians and attempting to maintain a highly qualified workforce.

“We take a multi-faceted approach to recruiting and retaining nurses and other clinicians that provide home-based care to our patients,” Jennifer Rose, CenterWell Home Health’s VP of Human Resources, told HHCN. “We have put systems and processes in place to continuously learn from our clinicians in the field. This daily information gathering provides a window into our clinicians’ mindset: their needs, pain points and what they’re asking for to enhance their experience.”

CenterWell Home Health — Humana’s (NYSE: HUM) home health provider arm — has over 350 locations, over 9,000 clinicians and serves more than 350,000 patients annually.

The simple process of actively listening to current clinicians about what they want out of their job has been a point of emphasis for CenterWell as staffing shortages persist.

Elevating the perception of the job and offering career paths for clinicians has proven to be a major boost in CenterWell’s retention efforts, Rose said.

“We’re helping grow the careers of our clinicians by investing in tuition reimbursement programs for college and university degree work, as well as RN to BSN advancement programs,” she said. “We also have programs in place for our clinicians to learn new skills and obtain technical certifications that allow them to care for patients with specialized needs.”

CenterWell has also made sure to work with its parent company when offering advancements and promotions throughout the company. The provider has made it easier for its employees to move from one part of the organization to another, in hopes that the flexibility offered to clinicians and nurses will be a boon to retention.

“For instance, moving from a care coordination role with our insurance business to home health or even our owned primary care centers,” Rose said. “This agile approach is a win-win for our clinicians as well as the business, providing additional flexibility.”

Investment in new technologies has also been an area of focus for CenterWell. Using AI and other capabilities to streamline scheduling and reduce on-call burden are just a couple of examples.

“We’re implementing advanced technologies like voice-to-text capability to simplify the task of documenting patient encounters,” Rose said. “That allows our clinicians to focus more of their time and energy on what they’re most passionate about – serving their patients.”

Amedisys has found success in its own newer investments in tech.

“We recently invested in a new listening platform,” Holton said. “There are lots of good listening platforms out there, but the one we’re now using collects all the feedback that we get from our clinicians and people in the field, and based off the science and the algorithms, it helps our leaders to pin down, ‘Here are the two action items you should take that are going to have the most impact on the caregiver experience.’”

Companies featured in this article:

, ,