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Direct caregivers will comprise nation’s largest workforce by 2020, says PHI

May 11, 2012
by Sandra Hoban
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By 2020, direct-care providers will comprise the nation’s largest workforce, with home health aides and personal aides becoming the fastest-growing segment, according to a PHI analysis.

Statistics from 2011 indicate that direct-care workers comprise a dominant segment of the healthcare field. They outnumber by 30.6 percent physicians, nurses and therapists. In addition, the ratio of direct-care providers to others in the allied health professions is nearly three to one.

Of the 4 million direct-care providers, most work in home- or community-based settings. The PHI analysis predicts that by 2020, the workers in these settings will outnumber the direct-care staff based in facilities.

Home health workers privately contracted by families or individuals enrolled in Medicaid-funded program numbered nearly 800,000 in 2011. Researchers explain that independent providers are not tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Therefore, they are undercounted by government surveys.

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