In recent weeks, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued several final regulations that included Medicare payment updates for fiscal year 2014, which begins on October 1, 2013. Three of the final rules addressed updates to the long-term acute care hospital, inpatient rehabilitation facility and skilled nursing facility prospective payment systems (PPS).
Long-Term Acute Care Hospital FY 2014 Update
In the final LTAC hospital payment update, CMS announced that for fiscal year 2014 Medicare payments will increase by 1.3 percent, which includes a 2.5 percent market basket update offset by outlier payments, the second installment of the budget neutrality adjustment, and productivity adjustments.
The rule also included several regulatory changes including the full implementation of the 25% Rule beginning on October 1, 2013 and new measures that will be added to the LTAC hospital Quality Reporting program in FY 2017 and FY 2018.
A recent study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows a link between higher blood sugar levels and risk for developing dementia, even in the absence of diabetes, which is known to put people at higher risk for dementia. Read the story
The results of this study indicate that controlling blood sugar levels may be a means for lowering Alzheimer’s risk.
A new study, published in the journal Neurology, has found that two cups of hot cocoa per day may be just what the doctor ordered for aging brains. The chocolate appeared to increase blood flow in the brains of the study participants who had impaired blood flow to start, a risk factor for Alzheimer's.
USA Today, the National Council on Aging and United Healthcare have pulled together some data that provide insight into Americans' feelings about how prepared the country is for a booming population of seniors. See the data
In observance of Cataract Awareness Month, we wanted to create a blog post about, well, cataracts – what they are, who gets them, and how they are treated. It turns out there is a ton of information on the Web about cataracts, which is a good thing, and much of it comes from highly reputable sources, such as the doctors who treat cataracts. And quite a few other people have blogged about cataracts, so we decided we would share some of the interesting things we found.
First things first. What are cataracts? A cataract forms when the lens, which sits in the eye behind the iris (the colored part), gets cloudy, causing blurred vision. This happens as we age. Cataracts are also the most common cause of reversible blindness in the world.
Kindred Healthcare offers multiple resources for nurses to become stronger in their field.
“We are serious about developing our people. Part of our nurse leadership efforts includes bringing our Chief Clinical Officers and our Directors of Nursing Services to the Support Center. They spend an intensive week getting management and leadership training to bolster their skills,” said Matt Hennecke, Senior Director of Leadership Development at Kindred.
Kindred is training nurses in healthcare skills and preparing nurses for management roles as well. “We have recently launched and are continuing to develop Kindred University. It is an attempt to develop people throughout the organization not only with professional and technical skills but interpersonal, managerial and leadership skills as well,” said Hennecke.
Medicare is set to impose $227 million in fines against hospitals in every state but one as avoidable readmissions continue to be penalized. Read the story
A study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, has found that patients who take calcium-channel blockers to treat high blood pressure may be at increased risk for developing breast cancer. Other types of blood pressure medications did not appear to be linked. Read the story
The AARP has created two Web sites designed to provide seniors with information about the Affordable Care Act, how it works and what benefits it offers. Read the story
It's not about the politics...It's about my life and what this means to me -- AARP Vice President Nicole Duritz
Washington Post Wonkblogger Sarah Kliff draws a link between Republican votes against healthcare reform, and the media attention that follows. Read the blog
Kindred’s Transitional Care Hospitals play a vital role in the recovery process for the sickest and most medically complex patients who require aggressive medical care and rehabilitation over a longer period of time. For patients who have complex ventilator needs, multi-organ system failure or complicated medical problems that are very difficult to treat, transitional care hospitals may represent the first important step necessary to make recovery and return home possible.
These hospitals are licensed as general acute hospitals, often featuring such familiar elements as Intensive Care Units (ICUs), operating rooms and on-site laboratory and radiology services, but they also are distinguished by an additional Medicare certification that recognizes the need for extended recovery periods.
As Vice President of Physician and Medical Development for Kindred Healthcare’s Nursing Center Division, Dr. Sally Brooks is well versed in the challenges of caring for seniors. But when it came time to select a nursing center for her own parents, she found herself facing new challenges. She told her story recently in an article on caring.com, and here are some of the main points.
"Over the years I watched families being thrust suddenly into these decisions, so a couple of years before I moved my parents, I toured a few facilities and found one near my home," says Brooks. "However, my grand plan did not work perfectly, because when the time came to make the move, the facility I liked had no vacancies, so I still had to do research with the help of a social worker to find another place for them near me."
Healthcare reform will spur the creation of thousands of new jobs, as the government ramps up the ranks of call center employees, IT professionals and community workers who will help people understand how to navigate the new health insurance exchanges, expected in October. Read the story
European regulators announced that concerns that a big class of diabetes drugs may cause pancreatic inflammation and cancer may be largely unfounded. The concerns were based on several studies, but the regulators concluded that the research had many limitations. Read the story
Parts of Miami, Chicago and Houston will be affected by a temporary ban by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on new providers of home health and ambulance services from enrolling in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance program, based on several factors including high utilization.
Watch Kelly's inspirational story of hope, healing and recovery. Kelly, a 37 year old wife, teacher and mother of two gradually lost feeling in her legs and then woke up one day paralyzed from her neck down. Kelly's doctor sent her to Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation – Greenbriar to see if rehabilitation therapy could help her condition improve. With Kelly's positive attitude and the dedicated staff at Greenbriar, she was able to walk again. This story, with video of Kelly during her therapy takes place from December of 2012 through March of 2013.
To all of our valued readers and subscribers:
You will begin seeing a post or two each month that is a "Kindred Conversation" posted to this blog that requires a password to read. This is the work of Steve Cunanan, Kindred's Chief People Officer. Steve is passionate about blogging and wants to use the medium to have conversations with our Kindred colleagues. As this is a public blog, most of the content we publish is for the world to see. Steve's posts are special for our Kindred colleagues, and password protected for their benefit. Steve will be communicating with Kindred staff soon to share a password that you can use to view the blog posts.
If you are not a Kindred employee and subscribed to these posts, we apologize for the extra email (one or two a month) and are working on a platform that Steve can use internally. Thanks for reading and keeping up with the Kindred Continuum.
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