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Thursday, 05 December 2013 17:59

New Method For Predicting Alzheimer's?

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I just came across a fantastic article from David Surico writing for McKnight's

New method predicts Alzheimer's in two-year window

A new study has led to a breakthrough in the process to identify people who will fall victim to Alzheimer's disease.

The research predicted with 90% accuracy which mild cognitive impairment sufferers would develop Alzheimer's disease within two years. Findings were published in the current issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

The combination of brain imaging analysis and a neuropsychological assessment allowed the team to uncover which subjects would develop Alzheimer's and those who would not. Sylvie Belleville, Ph.D., Director of Research at the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, an institution affiliated with Université de Montréal, led the study.

Read more.

Tuesday, 03 December 2013 14:05

Does Medicaid Breed Dependency?

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With more and more Americans going on Medicaid, this has become a real issue.

The question is, does Medicaid breed Dependency? Obviously, for those who would otherwise be ineligible for coverage, the question is more practical than philosophical.

In fact, the refusal of 25 states to expand their Medicaid programs is a tragedy for the 5.2 million people who won't get health coverage. At the same time, it's also an excellent opportunity to test a long-held conservative view: that Medicaid and other government programs lull able-bodied Americans into a state of dependency.

Your reaction to that concept is about as good a litmus test as you can get for where you fall on the ideological scale.

Bloomberg certainly has much to say on this topic.

Monday, 02 December 2013 15:48

Charity Care Documented by NJ Hospitals On The Rise

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I must say, I have seen an increase in the amount of charity case referrals we received from the local hospitals in the past year.

It is always extremely unfortunate when I see elderly people who are sick and compromised and have no health insurance.

It should never come to that. People owe it to themselves (and their families owe it to them) to secure proper insurance, especially elderly people who are at greater risk for hospitalizations and skilled nursing placement. 

Take a look at this recent article from the New Jersey Department of Health.

Friday, 29 November 2013 09:32

Growth of Medicaid Enrollment Creates Doctor Shortage

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For some time now, the Healthcare industry has been dealing with this growing problem.

We are seeing more and more doctors who are reluctant to keep patients as they transition from Medicare to Medicaid, or to accept residents who are already enrolled in Medicaid.

The fact is, doctors who accept Medicaid patients are forced to make due with a significantly lower reimbursement rate and over the top red tape.

This situation is likely to get worse with the high expansion anticipated once the President's healthcare law goes into full effect.

In just 5 weeks millions of additional Americans will be covered under Medicaid, many of them older people with a myriad of health problems.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts that an additional 9 million people will gain coverage through Medicaid in the next year alone.

How this will continue to impact the Skilled Nursing Community is left to be seen.

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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