There is no denying that healthcare reform continues to be on everyone’s minds these days. The industry is moving towards a value-based purchasing system that seeks reimbursement linked to performance. One of the main areas that reform will be concerned with is quality outcomes; this means that providers will be rewarded for clinical outcomes and the demonstrated functional improvement of patients. Providers must be fully prepared to show they’re providing the highest level of quality outcomes at the lowest cost.
Outcomes are important to provide data and knowledge that support quality improvement, and to provide data for evidence-based practice.
The new healthcare reform mandates will impact all providers from short-term acute care hospitals to skilled nursing services. Post-acute care is an important part of the evolving healthcare marketplace. A focus on quality clinical outcomes is paramount to succeeding in this changing environment.
“Every day clinicians in Kindred hospitals across the nation provide critical pulmonary care to patients suffering from chronic conditions or acute illnesses. We are dedicated to providing the best medical care to provide healing and recovery. But we are also focused on efforts that prevent cardio-pulmonary disease.
For this reason, we have historically supported the American Lung Association (ALA) through participation in, fundraising for and sponsorship of their walks, cycling adventures and climbs around the country," says Jeffrey Winter, Executive Vice President and President, Kindred Hospital Division.
Four separate teams of scientists, hoping to build on the exciting results of a 2012 study showing that a cancer drug might be effective in reversing developing Alzheimer's disease, were unable to replicate the original study's results, putting the findings in question.
A study published in the journal Medical Care Research and Review found that the regional variations in how much Medicare spends per beneficiary may be largely due to differences in general health in different areas of the country, and perhaps not due to how aggressive physicians are in providing treatment and testing, as a popular theory holds. Read the story
People really are sicker in some parts of the country -- Study Author Patrick Romano, MD
Knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke is always important, but since May is Stroke Awareness Month, it seems like a good time for a reminder. A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is cut off, resulting in lack of oxygen and other nutrients. Some areas of the brain can die, which results in loss of function.
How do you know if someone is having a stroke? Look for:
If you think someone is having a stroke, dial 911 immediately.
According to the National Stroke Association:
What happens after a stroke?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has updated its provider certification manual for hospitals, beefing up the discharge guidelines with evaluation recommendations designed to help reduce costly readmissions. Read the story
A small study compared alcoholics who smoke to those who don't, and found that the smokers were more susceptible to "early aging" of the brain. The results of the study were published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Read the story
A new study shows that older men with other health problems in addition to their prostate cancer may not benefit from aggressive cancer treatment, which may have unpleasant side effects, since they might not live long enough to benefit from it. Read the story
Last month I spent an evening with a dedicated group of physicians at Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation Milwaukee, one of the largest skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in the country. During his introductions, Executive Director Michael Thomas spoke passionately about the importance of communication – between physicians; physicians and nurses; nurses and nursing assistants; staff and administration and, perhaps most importantly for healthcare reform, between the acute and post-acute care settings. I could not help but think about this year’s American Medical Directors Association (AMDA) Annual Meeting in Washington D.C.
As part of Kindred’s belief that transparency is essential to a high quality healthcare system, the company issues an annual report that provides detailed data on clinical outcomes, trends in performance and chronicles efforts to further improve quality on behalf of patients, employees and healthcare partners.
Kindred’s 2012 Quality and Social Responsibility Report highlights these efforts in spite of a very challenging operating environment, and details the Company’s partnerships with hospitals and other healthcare providers to develop a more patient-centered, integrated and efficient care delivery system.
The quality outcomes and positive progress is a direct result of the 78,000 dedicated employees who strive to deliver on Kindred’s commitment to hope, healing and recovery and in providing coordinated care throughout an entire patient care episode from hospital to home.
The way doctors present end-of-life decisions, such as do-not-resusitate (DNR) orders, heavily influences the decisions of patients' families in how they handle these difficult choices, according to a new study published in the journal Critical Care Medicine. Read the story
"Simple changes of words and perceptions about social norms resulted in large differences in CPR choices,” said study author Dr. Amber Barnato, an associate professor of clinical and translational science at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in a statement. “This study suggests that the change isn’t just window dressing — it makes a real difference in the choices that people make. We expect that it also may reduce feelings of guilt for choosing against CPR by making family members feel like they are doing something positive to honor their loved one’s wishes at the end of life, rather than taking something away from them.”
Each May, we recognize Better Hearing and Speech Month to honor and thank the speech language pathologists who work for us and celebrate their accomplishments. SLPs take the lead in caring for language, speaking and hearing disorders that often afflict our patients. Our SLPs most frequently treat patients with dysphagia, a disorder that affects the physical and/or sensory aspects of swallowing, and aphasia, a language disorder resulting from brain damage. SLPs are uniquely trained to assess the problems affecting communication and swallowing, design a rehabilitation program and motivate the patient through rehabilitation. An SLP can teach compensatory strategies in areas where communication or swallowing function may not be regained.
– transitional care and inpatient rehabilitation – during National Hospital Week, May 12-18. This is an excellent opportunity to acknowledge the innovations, technologies and staff dedicated to quality patient care.
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