Medicare recently proposed expanding coverage of cardiac rehabilitation services for cardiac patients, reports MedPage Today. Prior to the proposal, announced online last week, CMS claimed there was insufficient evidence to support cardiac rehab to patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). Medicare currently only covers such services for patients who have experienced major events like coronary bypass surgery, heart or heart-lung transplant, or an acute myocardial infarction.
CMS is now asking for public comments on increasing coverage to a wider range of heart patients. After reviewing existing literature on cardiac rehab service, the agency stated, “With the accumulated evidence that supports the benefits of the individual components of cardiac rehabilitation programs, the evidence is sufficient to determine that participation in these multi-component programs improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic heart failure.”
Contrary to the claims of some previous studies, a new study shows that overweight and obese people are, indeed, likely to die sooner than their normal-weight counterparts. Read the story
Sometimes the message changes when you look closer. It's not OK to be overweight. It's not OK to be obese, even though you might not have metabolic abnormalities. -- Dr. Caroline Kramer, an endocrinologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto who led the study
Technicians are working round the clock to fix glitches, but Healthcare.gov is still getting mixed reviews, with some users able to navigate quickly and efficiently and others still stymied and frustrated. Read the story
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation is seeking ways to bundle payments and reduce costs. Proposals have been made for 178 programs designed to connect hospitals and post-acute providers through episodes of care. Read the story
It was 23 years and more than 700 miles ago that Lorraine Oakes was bitten by the volunteering bug. Then a 40-something in Titusville, Florida, Lorraine had her first opportunity to volunteer in a nursing center, and she never looked back, despite a re-location to North Carolina. Now, more than two decades since she first set foot in the facility, her tireless devotion to the residents at Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation – Elizabeth City earned her the respect of colleagues who nominated her for the 2013 American Health Care Association (AHCA) Volunteer of Year distinction, which she won.
Lorraine, who is at the nursing center each day for about five or six hours, enjoys the opportunity to provide an encouraging voice, help a resident do his crossword puzzles or just be in the right place at the right time when people need her.
Michael Montgomery, branch manager for Victorian Home Care, an affiliate of Kindred at Home, recently sat down with radio station News Talk KION of the Salinas/Santa Cruz/Monterey, California for their "Saturday Experts" talk program to share information about personal home care assistance. Michael explained how home care can benefit the geriatric population and patients of all ages who are recovering from surgery, illness or an accident. Michael also provided background about the home care process and how home care professionals coordinate care with discharging hospitals and perform home assessments to look for common items in the house that can pose safety risks that people often overlook. Click play on the video below to hear the interview:
This is the last week of National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month. In recognition, this week's edition of Healthcare Headlines will be devoted to these and related topics.
A new study has shown that patients with dementia who were discharged from an acute care hospital to a nursing facility were less likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days than those with dementia who were discharged home or to the home of a family member. Read the story
Tampa Bay Tribune columnist has written a first-person piece about traveling with a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's. Read the story
A new survey shows that nearly a quarter of Americans over the age of 75 have not communicated their end-of-life wishes, although the number of people who have put their end-of-life wishes into writing has increased. Read the story
As the nation’s leading provider of post-acute care services, Kindred is well-positioned to make important contributions to cutting-edge initiatives aimed at improving delivery of post-acute care across the continuum, from the long-term acute care hospital through the skilled nursing facility, rehabilitation hospital, home health and hospice.
In two Indiana skilled nursing facilities, Kindred is participating in a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-sponsored initiative called OPTIMISTIC – Optimizing Patient Transfers, Impacting Medical Quality and Improving Symptoms: Transforming Institutional Care. The project aims to improve health care, reduce avoidable hospitalizations and increase access to palliative care.
“OPTIMISTIC benefits our long-term residents,” said Pamela Zanes, RN, BSN, Ed.M., senior director of care transitions for Kindred Healthcare.
Congress has passed an act that will allow people to keep the insurance plans they thought would be canceled for not meeting new requirements under the Affordable Care Act. The new act addresses the reality that many people were being forced to give up their old plans in exchange for more expensive alternatives. Read the story
A report from the AARP has found that hospital observation stays increased substantially over a study period that lasted from 2001 through 2009 (before the implementation of readmissions penalties). Read the story
Some are hopeful that legislation will provide relief: A bill that has been proposed in both the House and Senate would allow observation stays to count toward Medicare's three-midnight requirement for the skilled nursing benefit. AARP has endorsed the legislation.
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The year was 1969. Richard Nixon was president. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Sesame Street debuted on television. And a young nurse named Naomi “Ginger” Stewart started work at Lakeside Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, a hospital that would eventually become Kindred Hospital Kansas City.
“I have fulfilled many lifelong dreams that would’ve appeared to be those of a dreamer,” Ginger said in a letter announcing her retirement after 44 years of service. “The most important one was my father and mother’s dream for me to become a ‘real nurse,’ though teaching was always in my heart.”
Ginger credits Kindred with allowing her to pursue that dream of teaching through a position as an adjunct nursing professor at Johnson County Community College.
Her own words sum up her experience best:
A group of leading technology and aging services companies recently convened in Silicon Valley to explore the future of care. The fourth AgeTech Conference and Exposition was held in San Jose, California, with partners, sponsors and presenters that included Intel, Google, Yahoo, and other technology companies, AARP, assisted living companies, and large healthcare organizations. Many of the technologies that were presented focused on aging-in-place or health/cognition.
Hospitals that rely on a government subsidy for uncompensated or under-compensated care now face a cut to that subsidy that may make it necessary to cut back on certain services, like cancer care. The subsidy cut is hardest hitting to hospitals in states that opted out of a Medicaid expansion. Read the story
The subsidy, which for years has helped defray the cost of uncompensated and undercompensated care, was cut substantially on the assumption that the hospitals would replace much of the lost income with payments for patients newly covered by Medicaid or private insurance. But now the hospitals in states like Georgia will get neither the new Medicaid patients nor most of the old subsidies, which many say are crucial to the mission of care for the poor.
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