Rehab Labor Costs Grow Least for Institutional Long-Term Care Providers

Staffing costs remain a top concern for skilled nursing providers, and a new report shows that salary growth for key rehabilitation employees in the long-term care space has lagged slightly behind other care settings.

In general, long-term care providers reported slower pay increases for the 12 months ended June 2018, according to the latest rehab wage report from the Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service. For instance, physical therapy directors in LTC facilities saw a 2.33% increase in pay over that time, compared to 2.43% gains for their hospital-based counterparts. Home health PT directors scored a 2.40% increase, the report — published by the HHCS and John R. Zabka Associates — found.

Institutional LTC providers predicted similar increases for the coming 12 months, with pay increases for all rehab therapy employees ranging from 2.31% to 2.33%. That compares with projected gains in the 2.50% range for hospitals.


On a per-dollar basis, however, skilled nursing didn’t rank at the bottom for certain positions. The average physical therapist, for instance, made $41.03 per hour in the space, easily topping the hospital rate of $39.07 — but falling behind the home health industry, which pays its PTs an average of $46.41 per hour with a typical bonus of $1,623.

The annual report polled 2,250 long-term health care providers across the country, along with 530 hospitals and 660 home health agencies. The data, which was current as of June, also includes a window into the benefits that providers across the space offer to employees. For instance, only 5.5% of long-term care operators offer health insurance to part-time employees, while 93.8% extend eligibility to the same-sex spouses of workers who do qualify for the insurance program.


Furthermore, only 35.8% of long-term operators told HHCS and John R. Zabka Associates that they offer continuing education classes for management employees — a number that isn’t too far off from the 33.2% that provide such perks for hourly workers.

Written by Alex Spanko

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