In her blog, "You're the Boss," Melinda Emerson takes readers step-by-step through her experience navigating Healthcare.gov in pursuit of health insurance for herself after her policy was canceled under the Affordable Care Act. Read the story
While the introduction of the Affordable Care Act and its website was poorly executed, I am delighted that the law has eliminated pre-existing conditions and lowered rates — at least for me. My big question now is whether the law will keep my insurance company from raising my rates arbitrarily in the future.
According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nursing homes still provide the vast majority of long-term care in the United States, despite policies aimed at increasing access to, and utilization of, home health care services. Home and community-based care is grabbing hold and growing more quickly in the Western states, the report said. Read the story
Have you ever heard the term “bed sore” before? “Bed sore” is another way of saying “pressure ulcer,” a condition that occurs when pressure, with or without friction, builds up in an area of the body, such as the sacrum, coccyx, heels or hips, particularly in an immobile person. Pressure obstructs blood flow to the soft tissue, causing injury to the area. Because pressure ulcers can develop in patients confined to wheelchairs or beds in a hospital or long-term care facility, caregivers must be well trained in preventing pressure ulcers and treating them early and effectively when they do develop. The more advanced a pressure ulcer gets, the harder it is to treat and the longer it may take to heal.
Integrating the post-acute care continuum; focusing on seamless transitions made possible through clear communication, and embracing the digital age through electronic health records systems are a few ways that Kindred is leading the charge as the post-acute sphere evolves on the changing American healthcare landscape. Kindred’s own Marc Rothman, MD, Chief Medical Officer for the Nursing Center Division, and Susan Sender, RN, Chief Clinical Officer for Kindred at Home, address these issues in more depth in M.D. Update magazine’s special section on Senior Health.
Mandatory licensing and background checks are just two of the proposed requirements some states are considering for home health care workers and agencies, which have traditionally been loosely regulated. Read the story
A new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services exception states that if a physician believes a patient with a new vent only requires one night of hospital care, inpatient admission and Part A payment will still be appropriate. Read the story
The Department of Health and Human Services will be working with the Health Resources and Services Administration to develop enhanced curriculum and training materials for use by clinicians caring for patients with multiple chronic conditions. Read the story
The federal healthcare exchange has been erroneously telling some people they are eligible for Medicaid, setting off a race-against-the-clock appeals process that many won't be able to wrap up before the Dec. 23 deadline for enrollment. Read the story
What is palliative care?
Palliative care is interdisciplinary care that seeks to improve quality of life and relieve suffering for those with advanced diseases.
Where is palliative care delivered?
What is needed for a patient to receive palliative care?
A physician order for referral to/for palliative care.
Who typically delivers palliative care and how is it reimbursed?
Palliative care is reimbursed as a medical service – like seeing a primary care provider or a specialist – and payment goes to the practitioner who provides it, such as a nurse practitioner or physician. A claim is submitted for the visit, just like in the outpatient or inpatient setting, with a code for palliative care. Most palliative care teams incorporate other disciplines that often do the pre-visit prep (through a nurse, nurse practitioner, social worker or chaplain) and the post-visit follow ups.
Who qualifies for a palliative care consult?
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.
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
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