Representing the commitment to pursuing improved quality and the innovations that enable better patient care in our nation’s skilled nursing facilities, the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care (the Alliance) published its 2013 Quality Report on Skilled Nursing Facility Care. The stated goal of which “is to provide an objective national overview of Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) patient care quality, pertinent quality trends, specific improvements, and areas of care requiring continued attention.” The report relies on publicly reported data as well as expert third-party experts to provide an effective assessment.
The release of the report is timely as legislators in Washington, DC, prepare to consider Medicare payment reforms for post-acute care – especially in light of the wide recognition that nursing facilities are a cost-effective and important element in the care continuum.
Some of the top line findings of this report include:
As hospitals face penalties for higher-than-expected readmissions rates and new programs are implemented to keep patients from returning, some people are questioning if certain hospitals, such as those that treat the sickest patients and those that serve lower-income populations, are at an unfair disadvantage. Read the story
A recently-published research paper takes the pharmaceutical industry to task for allegedly charging exorbitant prices for some drugs that cancer patients cannot live without. Read the story
A Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposal provides a 0.8 percent pay raise for acute care hospitals and a 1.1 percent increase for long-term acute care facilities that would take effect in October. Read the story
Seniors have long been targets for scammers, and that trend may be on the rise. Authorities are reporting an increase in insurance-related scams across the country and the new health care laws are creating a new tool for scammers, who play on confusion about them. Read the story
A poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs has revealed that most Americans age 40 and over don't like to think about their long-term care needs and don't have a clear understanding of what those needs might be and how much they are likely to cost. Read the story
Focusing on maintaining and increasing muscle power through exercises including strength training done at a faster speed may be an important step to retaining function as we age. Read the story
Read on for a collection of news stories affecting the U.S. healthcare industry this week.
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people under the age of 65 are twice as likely as older Americans to not take their medications as prescribed, and not taking medications correctly can lead to worsening health and more emergency room visits. Read the story
The STACH response in the wake of the Boston bombings was swift. Those who were there say the wounds they saw were more typical of what would be seen in a war zone. Read the story
Insurers and doctors are wondering if a strategy that works in corporate America might work in the medical world as well – paying for performance. Read the story
A long and brutal flu season may be finally coming to an end. Read the story
Medications to slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease may be less than five years away, according to researchers. Read the story
Choosing a nursing home for yourself or a loved one can be a daunting task. But there are tools available to help, such as the annual U.S. News & World Report ratings of nearly all of the 16,000 nursing homes in the country — including Kindred’s 224 nursing centers.
Information for the rankings comes from Nursing Home Compare, a website sponsored by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Using data collected from surveys of local agencies and facility self-reporting, CMS assigns a one- to five-star rating to the three categories of state-conducted health inspections, nursing staffing, and quality of care measures (based on nine different factors). The ratings are then combined to produce an overall facility rating of one to five stars.
At the 2013 American Medical Directors Association (AMDA) convention in Washington, D.C., speakers from Kindred Healthcare and the Cleveland Clinic presented on acute care to post-acute care relationships. The session highlighted aspects of their own clinical and quality initiatives while giving participants a tutorial in how to get started forming their own collaborations. It is through these types of relationships that health care organizations can work to design and to improve care transitions to meet the challenges of the changing healthcare environment.
Occupational therapists and assistants play a vital role in the care of Kindred patients. Carey Anderson-Hoyt, OT/L, Program Director of Rehab Care at Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation-The Greens in Ohio, talks about the profession that’s being spotlighted in April for National Occupational Therapy Month.
Q. How did you become interested in OT?
A. I had horses growing up and loved how therapeutic they were. When I was learning about career options, I came across hippotherapy, which is the practice of using horses as a therapeutic modality. After doing some research, I found that I had to become a physical therapist or occupational therapist, but decided on the latter because it offered more opportunities to be creative.
Q. What type of schooling do occupational therapists need?
Born out of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, the concept of the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) is tied to the goal of providing better and more efficient, coordinated health care to more people at lower cost. The organizations themselves are composed of groups of physicians and other providers of Medicare-covered services, and venues where care is provided, connected by networks of individual practices or partnerships, joint ventures or hospital-employed ACO professionals. Payment is tied to the achievement of health care quality goals, and the organization is expected to be patient-centered, with patients and providers working together toward optimum health care delivery.
Transitional Care Hospitals (TCHs) offer aggressive, medically complex care, intensive care and short-term rehabilitation.
Certified as long-term acute care hospitals and licensed as acute care hospitals, Transitional Care Hospitals are unique in their ability to care for critically ill patients who require specialized and goal-directed care over an extended recovery time. They have an additional Medicare certification that supports a length of stay measured in weeks as compared to the typical five-day stay for patients in traditional hospitals. At Kindred, about two-thirds of our TCH patients have Medicare.
TCH patients require an average length of stay of 25-30 days, and have many co-existing medical conditions, some acute and some chronic. Examples of some of the services TCH patients require are:
Some of the conditions commonly seen in a TCH are:
Respected pulmonologists Thomas Petty, MD, and Kent Christopher, MD, played important roles in turning would-be surgeon Eric Yaeger, MD, Medical Director of Kindred Hospital Denver, into the prolific expert and outstanding pulmonary clinician he is today.
“I was thinking of surgery, or maybe interventional radiology, but then as a resident I met two very influential leaders in pulmonary critical care,” Dr. Yaeger said. He has never looked back.
Both Dr. Petty and Dr. Christopher were pioneers and leaders in the continued development of transtracheal oxygen therapy, which optimizes oxygen therapy for patients by delivering it directly into the trachea and bypassing the nose, which can cause challenges related to discomfort and anatomical breakdown. Dr. Yaeger took the transtracheal baton and has continued to advance the field through his work at Kindred and industry partnerships.
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