• ACOs: Past, Present and Future

    By Kindred Healthcare

    What is an Accountable Care Organization (ACO)?

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) broadly defines ACOs as “groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high quality care to their Medicare patients.” The ultimate goal of this care coordination is to streamline services and ensure that patients get the right care at the right time with better clinical outcomes. A secondary goal is to create savings to the Medicare program by eliminating duplicate services, medical errors and preventable rehospitalizations.

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  • American Lung Association Report Hopes to Clear the Air

    By Kindred Healthcare

    The American Lung Association (ALA) released its 15th annual State of the Air report. The data is compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and analyzed by the ALA with the purpose of educating people about the air they breathe and how they can work to make air cleaner for better health.

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  • On April 1, 2014, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 was signed into law by President Obama. Most commonly, this legislation is known for providing a one-year patch to the physician Medicare sustainable growth rate – otherwise known as the ‘doc fix’ – but it also includes other important provisions including the extension of the Part B Therapy Cap exceptions process and the establishment of a value-based purchasing (VBP) program for skilled nursing facilities.

    In more common terms, the legislation creates hospital readmission reduction program for all patients cared for in nursing centers nationwide. In order to incentivize improvement in preventable admissions to short term hospitals, the legislation establishes an incentive pool for high performers.

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  • Try Something New for National Nutrition Month

    By Quincie Grounds, RD/LD, CNSC

    As we focus on good nutrition during National Nutrition Month, I challenge you to explore new flavors and foods. Explore the vast array of foods at your local grocery store, restaurants, and at home in your own kitchen.

    When shopping, make it a point to try one new fruit, vegetable or whole grain every week. Start small by picking a new variety of apple or potato and then try venturing into the world of whole grains trying whole wheat couscous, quinoa, barley, whole grain rice and whole wheat pastas. Have your family choose a new recipe to try each week that includes an ingredient you aren’t familiar with.

    The next time you and your family head out to eat, choose a restaurant that features ethnic foods from Asia, Europe or Africa. These restaurants often feature menus filled with healthy options that will be new to you. Try a restaurant that specializes in local produce or seasonal ingredients. Try a vegetarian or vegan restaurant. Grab a friend and spend a night enjoying something new.

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  • 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.

     

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  • Medicare Proposes Expansion of Rehab Coverage for CHF Patients

    By Kindred Healthcare

    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.”

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  • OPTIMISTIC About Better Post-Acute Care

    By Kindred Healthcare

    As the nation’s leading provider of post-acute care services, Kindred is well-positioned to make important contributions to cutting-edge initiatives aimed at improving delivery of post-acute care across the continuum, from the long-term acute care hospital through the skilled nursing facility, rehabilitation hospital, home health and hospice.

    In two Indiana skilled nursing facilities, Kindred is participating in a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-sponsored initiative called OPTIMISTIC – Optimizing Patient Transfers, Impacting Medical Quality and Improving Symptoms: Transforming Institutional Care. The project aims to improve health care, reduce avoidable hospitalizations and increase access to palliative care.

    “OPTIMISTIC benefits our long-term residents,” said Pamela Zanes, RN, BSN, Ed.M., senior director of care transitions for Kindred Healthcare.

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  • AgeTech Conference and Exposition: Caring for the Whole Person

    By Kindred Healthcare

     

     Sylvia Todor<br />Marketing Director, West Region Sylvia Todor
    Marketing Director, West Region

     

    A group of leading technology and aging services companies recently convened in Silicon Valley to explore the future of care. The fourth AgeTech Conference and Exposition was held in San Jose, California, with partners, sponsors and presenters that included Intel, Google, Yahoo, and other technology companies, AARP, assisted living companies, and large healthcare organizations. Many of the technologies that were presented focused on aging-in-place or health/cognition.

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  • The Value of a Healthy Workforce

    By Kindred Healthcare

     

     Ronald S. Leopold, MD, MBA, MPH Ronald S. Leopold, MD, MBA, MPH

     

    In the last presentation of the 2013 Kindred Clinical Impact Symposium, Ronald Leopold, MD, MBA, MPH, Senior Vice President, National Practice Leader, Health and Productivity for Wells Fargo Insurance Services, talked about the business value of a healthy workforce.

    People are remaining in the workforce longer than ever before, and perhaps longer than they had planned, Leopold said.

    “Your ability to earn a living is your biggest financial asset,” he said.

    And companies, in turn, are well-served to encourage a healthy workforce.

    “It’s in [companies’] best interest to get their workforces healthier and more importantly, it’s in your own best interest,” Leopold said.

    How can individuals do that? First, they can pick realistic goals and stick with them. Have a healthy lifestyle – move around, eat well, consider behavior changes – what are you doing that you shouldn’t be doing and vice versa?

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  • So What About Jack?

    By Kindred Healthcare
     (l-r) Matt Sivret, Tony Disser, Susan Sender, Kathy Owens, Mary Van de Kamp (l-r) Matt Sivret, Tony Disser, Susan Sender, Kathy Owens, Mary Van de Kamp

    As the Fifth Annual Kindred Clinical Impact Symposium wraps up, participants came together to make some recommendations for further care of our fictitious patient, Jack, who has many co-morbid conditions and ended up in the post-acute care continuum after being hit by a car while riding his bike, requiring surgery for a broken femur.

    After his initial discharge from the acute care hospital, Jack went to a skilled nursing facility, back to the acute care hospital, then to a transitional care hospital and ultimately he was transitioned to home health care. At the current moment, Jack’s home health providers are concerned about his agitated state and resistance to taking medications and exercising.

    As Jack continues his journey in the post-acute continuum, CIS participants had some common recommendations for his care:

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