HHCN Voices Interview with Vickie Anenberg, COO, Supplemental Health Care

Image: Vickie Anenberg headshot

This article is sponsored by Supplemental Health Care. In this Voices interview, Home Health Care News sits down with Vickie Anenberg, Chief Operating Officer, Supplemental Health Care, to talk about the growing role of technology in today’s volatile staffing environment. She shares her outlook on the future of clinical skills development in home-based care and discusses the different ways in which technology is changing the job search for employers and employees alike. She also lays out the steps SHC has taken to address hiring challenges in home-based care for 2024 and years to come.

Home Health Care News: What career experiences do you most draw from in your role today?

Vickie Anenberg: My longevity in the industry, through economic hills and valleys, has prepared me to balance the needs of a short-term market with the benefits of the long-term strategy. One or the other will not suffice in an evolving market like home-based care, so I am thankful for my depth and breadth of experience in the health care space as a whole.

How does home care play into the larger health care delivery landscape?

Home care has become a vital part of the larger health care landscape, especially as the U.S. population ages. In the coming years, home care is expected to be one of the fastest-growing settings of care. In turn, this growth will introduce extra competition for certain clinical skills, but also the challenge of bringing caregivers to rural parts of the U.S., many of which already have less access to health care services.

What is your outlook on the future of skills development in the clinical health care workforce in the next 3-5 years?

Research estimates that over 100,000 nurses left the workforce during the pandemic, and many more are expected to retire or quit in the next few years. Although the number of new nurses graduating from school is growing, the volume of workforce entrants is not increasing nearly fast enough to meet the demands of the growing market.

Further, the nurses who are leaving are not just retiring — many are exiting the industry altogether as a result of burnout. Mid-career nurses are some of the most likely to leave their jobs, and combined with the current workforce shortages, we have a recipe for deeper skills deficiencies and an increasing demand for numerous care services beyond nursing alone.

How does training and education empower providers to mitigate workforce shortages, and what is SHC doing to help?

Training and education are critical in health care in general, and even more so for home care. We’ve launched a series of upskilling initiatives to help develop CNAs into higher-skill roles through professional coaching, education and training.

Last year, we created scholarships through the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) to support LPNs who are earning their BSNs, and in the last year, we’ve provided OASIS and home-based care training to countless nurses to ensure they can thrive in a home care setting.

Still, we need to find infinitely more ways to support and train the caregivers that we all rely on.

How are technology tools changing the way that clinicians find and evaluate employers?

Technology is changing everything around us, so it’s no surprise that health care professionals are using new tools and resources to identify job opportunities. We’re seeing an increased demand for mobile-first employment management, greater transparency around pay and benefits, and more options for scheduling flexibility.

Even today, technology continues to close the gap between employers and caregivers, but at the same time, caregivers have raised their expectations drastically. SHC has been working hard on its digital transformation for several years to bring tools like mobile apps, AI, and automation to our clinicians’ fingertips in home-based and other settings.

What steps has Supplemental Health Care taken to address hiring challenges in the home-based care industry?

The most important step we’ve taken is dedicating resources to home-based care workers. Most large staffing companies focus primarily on acute care — everything else is an afterthought. But at SHC, home-based care has been our focus for more than 15 years, and we have over 40 team members who are 100% dedicated to home health and hospice today.

Our team is doing a phenomenal job at helping caregivers excel in the home setting. In recent surveys, over 80% of our home care clinicians and 85% of our home care clients said they’d recommend SHC as a partner. Those numbers are beyond world-class, and they speak to the importance of expertise and dedicated partnerships in addressing hiring challenges across the entire health care continuum.

Finish this sentence: “In the home-based care industry, 2024 will be the year of…”

…optimization for employees.

The labor crunch will certainly begin to ease, but it will not entirely disappear in the near future. Clinical staffing in home-based care will only increase in complexity as hospital-at-home initiatives and more comprehensive chronic illness coordination become the norm. This jump in acuity in the home will drive the demand for highly credentialed providers to work at the top of their licenses so that the providers can benefit from risk-based payor arrangements. Employers must leverage competitive schedules and benefit programs while balancing appropriate workloads to attract and retain top talent, so workforce optimization will be a key factor moving forward.

Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length and clarity.

Supplemental Health Care connects highly skilled healthcare professionals with employers across the United States. SHC’s dedicated Home Care division brings technology-driven solutions together with award-winning service to make connections that fuel miracles every day. Learn more at shccares.com/voices.

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