• The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Congress have begun to develop and test different approaches to better manage care for chronically ill beneficiaries. This has included the promotion of Chronic Care Management (CCM) to better control costs while improving the quality of care and outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries suffering from multiple chronic conditions. More specifically, CMS has supported the testing of innovative approaches including the use of home-based primary care teams to improve beneficiary health for this difficult to manage patient population while controlling costs.

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  • Navigating the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program

    By Kindred Healthcare
    Navigating the Hosptial Readmission Reduction ProgramReducing Rehospitalizations: What to Focus on Next
    Here is a mini-roadmap on what to focus on next for this important initiative. Reducing rehospitalizations is the right thing to do for patient care – we all know this. But with task forces on performance improvement initiatives ranging from infections to patient satisfaction, it can be difficult to know where to focus efforts for the greatest impact. Read Full Post
  • Making Sense of Healthcare Reform: Dual Eligibles

    By Kindred Healthcare

    Dual EligiblesDual Eligible Demonstration Programs

    Individuals referred to as “dual-eligible” are those people who are eligible for coverage by both the Medicare and Medicaid programs – most often low-income seniors or younger individuals with severe disabilities.

    According to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), “They tend to be poor and report lower health status than other health beneficiaries, and cost Medicare about 60 percent more than nondual eligibles.”

    The health and cost challenges of the dual-eligible population are further complicated by the variation in coverage and payment policies offered by 50 separate and unique Medicaid policies.

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  • Medical Homes On the Rise

    By Kindred Healthcare

    Medical Homes On the RiseEven before the passage of the Affordable Care Act – otherwise known as healthcare reform – the concept of medical homes was the subject of prolonged debate as a theoretical model of care. But what, exactly, is a medical home?

    What Is a Medical Home?

    For the most part, a medical home is not a physical care location. Rather, it is a care practice model that encompasses a network of providers delivering patient-centered preventive and primary care. The goals of the medical home concept are to reduce costs while improving quality outcomes and efficiency in care delivery.

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  • CMS Final Payment Rules Reflect Kindred Comments

    By Kindred Healthcare
    In early August, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)issued several final rules regarding Medicare policies and payment rates for several post-acute care providers – including Long-term Acute Care Hospitals (LTACs), Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs), and Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) – which go into effect at the start of fiscal year 2015 (FY 15) on October 1, 2014.

    During the public comment period prior to the issuance of these final rules, Kindred took the opportunity to react to proposals within each rule and advocate the value of quality post-acute care services within our nation’s healthcare continuum. Read Full Post
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) officials last week revoked the prior authorization process for many drugs used in hospice care. Read Full Post
  • Kindred’s Ray Sierpina Honored as Patient Advocate

    By Kindred Healthcare
    Kindred's Ray Sierpina Honored as a Patient AdvocateEarlier this year the nation’s largest association of nursing and rehabilitation centers – the American Health Care Association (AHCA)– honored Kindred’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Ray Sierpina, with the coveted Joe Warner Patient Advocacy Award.

    The annual award recognizes individuals who possess the compassion and commitment to the patients and residents benefitting from the medical care and rehabilitation services provided in our nation’s nursing facilities – consistent with the advocacy efforts exemplified by the late Joe Warner, the former president and CEO of Illinois based Heritage Enterprises.

    The association presents the award to members “who have worked directly to educate Members of Congress about the needs of long term and post-acute care patients and to advance quality long term care.” Read Full Post
  • The 10th Long-Term and Post-Acute Care Health IT Summit is taking place June 22-24. This annual gathering of people involved in post acute care will be looking at broad directions for the future of healthcare and technology. The Summit combines health and healthcare trends, information technology directions and Federal legislative and regulatory policy.

    Kindred has been a strategic partner of the LTPAC HIT Summit for several years, shaping the agenda and leading the panel discussions. This year, I will be presenting work I’ve done for the Federal Health IT Policy Committee on a voluntary certification program for LTPAC Electronic Health Records.

    The 2014 LTPAC HIT Summit has five different themes:

    • Connected patients and caregivers
    • Connected workers
    • Connected partners
    • Health intelligence, and
    • Changing business imperatives.

    We live in a connected world. We now expect to be connected in the palm of our hand to all the critical information we need to get through our day. We connect with family and friends, arrange meetings, find the information and resources we need and make financial transactions. Mobile apps and the Internet have changed what happens outside of work and is also changing what happens at work. The Summit will explore how post-acute and long-term care is participating in these changes, how we connect with our patients, residents and their families and caregivers, how we connect our workforce to the information they need and how we connect with the many partners we have in providing care.

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  • Communicating with Aphasia

    By Kindred Healthcare

    Aphasia is a little-known language disorder that affects nearly one-third of stroke victims. It occurs when there is damage to the communications hub in the left side of the brain. While aphasia disrupts communication skills, it does not affect a person’s thinking skills.

    There are many types of aphasia, but the most general categories are receptive and expressive aphasia. With receptive aphasia, the person can hear a voice or read print, but may not understand the meaning of the message. With expressive aphasia, the person knows what he or she wants to say yet has difficulty communicating it to others.

    Someone with receptive aphasia may:

    • Have difficulty comprehending what others say
    • Have difficulty with reading comprehension
    • Be unaware that they are using words incorrectly

    Someone with expressive aphasia may:

    • Be able to understand what others say
    • Have difficulty saying what they are thinking
    • Speak in a jumbled manner
    • Say a word different than the one they want to say
    • Have difficulty writing
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  • It is widely recognized by policymakers and payers that our nation’s healthcare system is fragmented, creating gaps in care for patients. Researchers believe that part of this fragmentation is a result of the separate payments furnished by Medicare for each provider type that a patient may encounter during a single care episode.

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