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Thursday, 28 November 2013 13:35

Senior Healthcare Technology Demand Is Growing

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As Boomers Become Seniors, Healthcare Technology Demand Grows

With baby boomers all grown up, a new generation of tech-savvy seniors is emerging.

Tech-savvy seniors will begin to enter the healthcare market in the coming years, so the industry needs to prepare for this new type of aging patient. An estimated 3.5 million US citizens a year are expected to reach 65-years-old through 2023, according to an Accenture study. Internet use from 2000 to 2012 tripled for those 65 and older, and doubled among those 50 to 64-years-old, as documented by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

A different study found 73 percent of baby boomers and Generation Xers want to age in their own home, and 95 percent don't think today's technology will allow them to do so. Georgetown University's Global Social Enterprise Initiative and Philips surveyed current and future seniors' attitudes on technology, finding most boomers and Gen Xers skeptical of the technology that awaits them as they enter their senior years.

Information Week: Healthcare

Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:00

Long Term Care and the Rehospitalization Issue

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Government inspectors say there’s not enough attention being paid to the readmissions problem in long-term care settings, specifically nursing homes. 

A recent study by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that of the 825,765 Medicare residents who stayed in nursing homes for at least one day in fiscal year 2011, 24.8% experienced hospitalizations.

As this population cost Medicare $14.3 billion during that year—33% more per stay than for the average Medicare hospitalization—OIG’s study stresses the need for improved quality measures that detail hospitalization rates within these care settings.

The most common illnesses that drew nursing home residents back to the hospital were for septicemia (13.4%), pneumonia (7%) and congestive heart failure (5.8%).

Septicemia alone accounted for 21% of Medicare spending on nursing home resident hospitalizations, amounting to almost $3 billion in FY 2011, according to OIG’s findings.

Nursing homes routinely collect resident assessment data during a nursing home stay and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) converts this data into 18 quality measures.

Examples of quality measures indicate how well a nursing home provides care to its residents, including the percentages of residents who report moderate to severe pain, residents who were appropriately given the seasonal influenza vaccine, and the percentage of residents who have lost significant amounts of weight.

While nursing homes routinely collect resident assessment data when reporting quality measures to CMS, there is not a measure of how often nursing homes hospitalize their residents.

Read more

Tuesday, 26 November 2013 15:11

Medicare Set to Cover Postacute Rehab for CHF Patients

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WASHINGTON -- Medicare has proposed covering cardiac rehabilitation services for patients with chronic heart failure 4 years after saying there was little evidence to support doing so.

The proposed and projected coverage decision would expand access to rehab for a wider range of heart patients. Medicare currently covers rehab only for patients who have had an acute MI in the preceding year, coronary artery bypass surgery, heart or heart-lung transplant, or other major events.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) came to the determination after extensively reviewing literature on the rehab service from 2006 to August 2013. It announced the decision online late last week.

"Since chronic heart failure often results from coronary artery disease and hypertension, evidence on behavioral interventions in the treatment of these conditions provide additional supportive evidence," the agency wrote. "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."

Stay tuned.

Late November is often a time for gatherings with family and friends – Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, soon followed by Christmas and the New Year.

Nursing home residents often want to participate in these gatherings but may worry that they will lose Medicare coverage if they leave the facility to do so. Residents and their families have the right to do so, according to the Center for Medicare Advocacy which has issued a new Alert..

According to Medicare law, nursing home residents may leave the facility for holidays without losing their Medicare coverage. However, depending on the length of their absence, beneficiaries may be charged a "bed hold" fee.

Read more.

Friday, 22 November 2013 00:00

SNF Discharges. Interesting Data

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Elizabeth Newman writing for McKnight's, recently quoted a report from the Commonwealth Fund, which attempts to draw a correlation (cause and effect) between the rate of skilled nursing discharges to hospitals based upon how well a state provides healthcare for low income people.

The report found that in many cases, low income populations in the top performing states receive better healthcare than high income populations in the lowest ranked states.

The data is meaningful especially in light of the rehospitalization issue for discharges from SNF's back to hospitals within a 30 day period from the initial admission to the facility from the hospital.

Monday, 21 October 2013 00:00

What is the Meaning of Minimum Data Set (MDS)?

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What is MDS?

MDS stands for Minimum Data Set which is a comprehensive assessment for patients and residents who are here for rehabilitation and long term care.

MDS, covers many areas of assessment, including the patients illness and history, how much assistance the patient needs, what the patient and and facility goals are for the 3 therapy disciplines, activity participation, therapy minutes, social service issues and more.

The assessments are done at intervals with more frequent assessments for Medicare patients. These assessments are used for the purposes of ascertaining the reimbursement schedule from Medicare and Medicaid, which is influenced by the acuity of the patient.

Pictured below is the MDS Coordinator for Regency Heritage, Christina Segro!

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