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The Return Of The Little Black Bag In Healthcare

August 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Right around the same time some private physicians are refusing to accept new Medicare patients in fear of lower government reimbursements, another physician based concept is taking hold. The Academy of Home Care Physicians has a mission statement that promotes the art, science and practice of medicine in the home. Established in 1988, the Academy “envisions a healthcare system in which any patient who needs it can receive comprehensive primary care in their home.” Research shows that for every elderly person in a nursing home, there are three more patients equally as sick and fragile who are living at home. In a recently article published in The New England Journal of Medicine on “Why Health Care is Going Home,” Dr. Steven H. Landers stated that, “Our financing system, malpractice laws, and consumer culture all encourage utilization of costly services and have contributed to unsustainable increases in the cost of care. In home care is often less costly, and since it is highly desirable for patients, it offers a potential win–win solution.”

He added that, “The transformation of patients’ homes into central venues for health care may take years or decades, depending on how the national and institutional politics play out. New payment models are needed to cover services that haven’t previously been offered at home and to realign physicians’ incentives. Yet, ultimately, health care organizations that do not adapt to the home care imperative risk becoming irrelevant.” In today’s generation of physicians, few have been educated in medical school or continuing education to provide the kind and level of care that could be made available. Few have been educated to provide home health agencies with professional support as medical directors; fewer still have learned the advanced team techniques that allow them to work with other health professionals, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists and others by providing continuity of care across the care continuum. Concerns over reimbursement also have been a barrier.

The American Academy of Home Care Physicians serves the needs of thousands of physicians and related professionals and agencies interested in improving care of patients in the home. Members and volunteers work to reduce barriers and enhance practice education. Notable successes include fostering increased reimbursement, sponsoring multiple educational and scientific seminars and providing the practice community with a variety of helpful publications. Academy members include home care physicians who make house calls, care for homebound patients, act as home health agency medical directors or refer patients to home care agencies. Specialties include internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics, geriatrics, psychiatry, emergency medicine and more.
Other members are directors of agencies actively planning for future home care organizations, medical directors of managed care plans, nurse practitioners who make house calls, physician assistants, and administrators of medical groups interested in home care. The services provided by home care agencies and physicians are billed under a set of codes designated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Physicians, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and physician assistants are required to oversee or directly provide progressively more sophisticated and more frequent home visits.

Beyond the licensure and certification processes, no similar evaluation mechanism exists for skills obtained through continuing education and practice experience. The Home Care Credentialing Examination fills this gap and enables home care medical providers to demonstrate their proficiency. Patients also benefit from proficiency testing and the Academy’s recognition of those who receive the credential since the exam assesses the knowledge and skills identified by respected experts as necessary to provide safe and effective medical care in the home. Upon the completion of this educational activity, the participant should be better able to:
Discuss and apply knowledge of clinical problems, effective approaches to end of life/palliative care, functionality, social services and legal/ethical concerns related to home care. Attest to his or her added competency in home care medicine by demonstrating knowledge, skills and proficiency in managing common problems faced in home care. As a public service, The American Academy of Home Care Physician’s website provides a list of its members and medical groups that provide home care.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care Chicago, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Facilities and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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Research Shows Home Health Care Healthy For Medical System

August 17, 2011 Leave a comment

The world’s health care system is already strained by rising costs and a shortage of qualified personnel. A recent study by the RAND Corporation found that moving care into patients’ homes is fast becoming an alternative to the high costs of institutional care. The study also identifies home health care as a major shift in the structure of the health care system, warranting consensus between patients, health care providers, insurance companies and policy makers before it can become an effective solution.
“The aging of the world’s population and fact that more diseases are treatable will create serious financial and manpower challenges for the world’s health care systems,” said Dr. Soeren Mattke, the study’s lead author and a senior natural scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “Moving more health care into the home setting where patients or family members can manage care could be one important solution to these challenges.”

The findings are from a global study of the needs, expectations and priorities regarding home health care among key stakeholders in six countries – China, France, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. Researchers conducted over 100 interviews with government officials, regulators, providers, insurers, manufacturers, distributors and patient organizations, as well as reviewing existing research about home health care. An increase in the world’s elderly population, coupled with better treatment for many diseases, is expected to increase the number of people living with chronic conditions and disability in the decades ahead, putting pressure on the finances and the workforce of health care systems. In the United States, for example, people age 64 and older represent 12 percent of the population, yet account for 34 percent of the nation’s total health care spending. In the United States alone, the aging population is projected to increase to 71.5 million by the year 2030, when one in five Americans will be age 65 and older. Home health care increases the chance for patients to age in place and avoid institutionalization.

While this trend sprouted in the developed world, it is increasingly taking root in developing and transitional nations. For example, Singapore has become the world’s most rapidly aging country and already 80 percent of all deaths in China are caused by chronic disease. Soeren Mattke, senior scientist at Rand said that, “by 2014, China will have more people living with chronic disease than the entire U.S. population.” The demand for non institutional care in these countries has spurred the development of the home health care concept. Home health care is an attractive solution because it empowers patients to self manage their conditions to a larger extent and helps to shift care from high cost institutional and professional settings to patients’ homes and the community. Such a change could both save money and ease pressure on health systems suffering from worker shortages and capacity constraints, researchers say.

The best evidence so far comes from the U.S. Veterans Health Administration, which uses remote monitoring equipment to help veterans manage diabetes, hypertension and chronic heart failure. The 2008 VA study of 17,025 home telehealth patients showed the devices cut the average number of days hospitalized by 25 percent and produced a 19 percent reduction in hospital admissions.
Home health care technology spans a broad spectrum from basic diagnostic tools, such as glucose meters, to advanced telemedicine solutions. Those advances have pushed the frontier of care management further into the home setting. The advances have the potential to not only support current care delivery, but to fundamentally change the model to a more efficient and more patient centered one, according to the report.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care San Diego, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Facilities and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

Senior Citizen Risks Danger To Continue Lifelong Pursuit

August 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Several times a week, the 74 year old grandmother drives from her home in El Paso, TX into the murder capital of the world to help keep a sanctuary for its citizens alive. Many senior citizens around the world find personal satisfaction by staying active and involved in causes that are meaningful to them. Independent and assisted living communities around the nation not only offer leisure activities to their residents, but expose them to many educational opportunities that can lead them to the discovery of new interests and pursuits. This fall, CNN’s Heroes of 2010 revealed Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega as one of the top 10 nominated this year for their outstanding humanitarian services. Arizpe De La Vega founded the Hospital de la Familia, a health center more than 30 years ago.

The center in Juarez, Mexico, cares for about 900 people daily, regardless of their ability to pay. Despite the escalating violence in the city, the 74 year old senior travels there several times a week to make sure residents get the care they need. Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega insists on returning to her hometown to preserve the center, saying, “It’s very, very important to keep that place open, giving good services” to the people of Juarez. “Because it’s their hope.” Her journey from El Paso to Juarez has seared some painful images into her mind. “We were going under a bridge and there was a body upside down without a head, hanging there with all the blood flowing,” she recalls. “It was something like a horror movie.” Such sights have become increasingly common in Juarez, as Mexico’s drug war has intensified. Nearly 2,000 people have been killed so far this year, including 34 members of the municipal police. That is in addition to the 2,623 deaths last year and 1,908 deaths in 2007-08.

Gun Control by *matt- on deviantART

Despite the violence, De La Vega’s hospital and its staff — which treats about 900 patients daily, regardless of their ability to pay — have remained unharmed. “Our hospital has not been touched. Our doctors have not been kidnapped. This is a miracle of God, believe me,” she says. “Everybody knows that it’s a safe place for healing, for loving, for empowering people. Why would they be against that? We have been working there for 37 years with the community,” she says. “We don’t turn anybody away.” De La Vega, who is married to a prominent businessman from Juarez, lived there for decades, but the escalating violence, murder, crime and corruption recently forced her to move to El Paso. She says the tipping point came when her family was threatened. “They called and they said that they had kidnapped my daughter. They wanted us to send the money, but my daughter came into the room while we were talking to them. More than anything I wanted to protect my three children,” she says. De La Vega says she has lost friends and neighbors in the conflicts, but she insists she’s not afraid and she’s determined to help the people of Juarez continue receiving the medical care they need.

De La Vega has always been passionate about health care, volunteering with the Red Cross when she was 8 years old. She became an advocate for maternal and infant health in the early 1970s after reading a newspaper article about an impoverished mother of nine, pregnant with her 10th child, who tried to kill her fetus by stabbing herself in the stomach. For De La Vega, who frequently visits patients and is active in administrative, operational and financial aspects at the hospital, her work not only saves lives but has given meaning to her own life as well. “I just love it. Because it’s my life, it’s my passion. I get the privilege of experiencing the magic moment of change from sickness to health, from darkness to light, from apathy to enthusiasm. This is what gives me meaning to my life.”

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Chicago and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

The Shrinking Supply of Primary Care Physicians

July 6, 2011 1 comment

Primary care physicians are already in short supply in many parts of the country. The passing of the landmark Health Care Reform bill will bring them millions more newly insured patients in the next few years and promises even more of a strain. The new law goes beyond offering coverage to the uninsured, with steps to improve the quality of care for the average person and help keep us well instead of today’s seek-care-after-you’re-sick culture. However, to take advantage, you will need a regular primary care physician. Recently published reports predict a shortfall of roughly 40,000 primary care doctors over the next decade, a profession losing out to the better pay, better hours and higher profile of many other specialties. Provisions in the new law aim to start reversing that tide, from bonus payments for certain physicians to expanded community health centers that will pick up some of the slack.

The law offers incentives to encourage more people to enter medical professions, and a 10% Medicare pay boost for primary care doctors. Also at issue, is the need for affordable education for would be primary care physicians. To cope with the growing shortage, federal officials are considering several proposals. One would increase affordable enrollment in medical schools and residency training programs. Another would encourage greater use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants. A third would expand the National Health Service Corps, which deploys doctors and nurses in rural areas and poor neighborhoods. The U.S. has 352,908 primary care doctors now, and the college association estimates that 45,000 more will be needed by 2020. However, the number of medical school students entering family medicine fell more than a quarter between 2002 and 2007. Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat and chairperson of the Finance Committee, said, “Medicare payments were skewed against primary care doctors, the very ones needed to coordinate the care of older people with chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Physician 2 by *stitchxwitch on deviantART

A number of new medical schools have opened around the country recently. As of last October, four new schools enrolled about 190 students, and 12 medical schools raised the enrollment of first year students by a total of about 150 slots, according to the AAMC. Some 18,000 students entered U.S. medical schools in the fall of 2009, the AAMC says. Medicare pays $9.1 billion a year to teaching hospitals, which goes toward resident salaries and direct teaching costs, as well as the higher operating costs associated with teaching hospitals, which tend to see the sickest and most costly patients. Doctors’ groups and medical schools had hoped that the new health care law passed in March, would increase the number of funded residency slots, but such a provision did not make it into the final bill. The residency is the minimum three year period when medical school graduates train in hospitals and clinics. There are about 110,000 resident positions in the U.S., according to the AAMC. Teaching hospitals rely heavily on Medicare funding to pay for these slots. In 1997, Congress imposed a cap on funding for medical residencies, which hospitals say has increasingly hurt their ability to expand the number of positions.

One provision in the Health Care Reform bill attempts to address residencies. Since some residency slots go unfilled each year, the law will pool the funding for unused slots and redistribute it to other institutions, with the majority of these slots going to primary care or general surgery residencies. The slot redistribution will create additional residencies, because previously unfilled positions will now be used, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It will probably take 10 years to even make a dent into the number of doctors that we need out there,” said Atul Grover, the AAMC’s chief advocacy officer.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Chicago and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

The Elder Care Justice Act – A Part Of Health Care Reform You May Have Missed

June 22, 2011 1 comment

While health care reform captured the national headlines, the Elder Care Justice Act, which is part of the overall reform, deserves our attention as well. When Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, was asked about provisions in health care reform that received little fanfare, she pointed to the EJA. This part of the legislation that was signed into law on March 23, gives our nation a solid framework to protect seniors from being beaten, neglected and exploited.

The reason this is an important step forward is because the EJA is the most comprehensive federal legislation ever enacted to combat elder abuse. The EJA authorizes increased federal resources and leadership to support state and community efforts to prevent, detect, treat, understand, intervene in and, where appropriate, prosecute elder abuse. It also authorizes funding for broad-based education and awareness efforts.
This is a critical victory for today’s seniors and each of the 76 million boomers that have a one in ten chance of facing elder abuse as our society ages.
Where the funding will go:

Adult Protective Services

Provides $400 million ($100 million per year) in first‐time dedicated funding for adult protective services.
Provides $100 million ($25 million annually) for state demonstration grants
to test a variety of methods to improve adult protective services.
Provides $32.5 million (over 4 years) in grants to support the LongTerm
Care Ombudsman Program and an additional $40 million ($10 million
annually) in training programs for national organizations and State long‐term
care ombudsman programs.

John Severn by *janesey on deviantART

Elder Justice Coordinating Council

Makes recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on the coordination of activities of federal, state, local and private agencies and entities relating to elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. Recommendations contained in report are due in 2 years.

The Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act

Creates a national program of criminal background checks for persons seeking employment in nursing homes and other long‐term care facilities.

CLASS Act

Creates a voluntary payroll deduction plan for long-term care workers. Employees who pay into the program for at least five years will be entitled to a daily cash benefit of at least $50 that they can use for long-term care at home or in a community-based setting. Medicaid beneficiaries in nursing homes would retain 5 percent of their cash benefit; and Medicaid beneficiaries receiving home and community-based services would keep 50 percent.

Home and Community-Based Services

Creates a state Medicaid option to provide community-based attendant services and supports for people who meet their state’s nursing home eligibility standards.
Gives states the option to provide home and community-based services through a state plan amendment, rather than a waiver. Requires the plan to be statewide; prohibits caps on the number served; and enables targeting of individuals with specific conditions.
Creates incentives for states to move Medicaid beneficiaries out of nursing homes into home and community-based services. Extends the Money Follows the Person program for six years.
Extends spousal impoverishment protections to spouses of Medicaid beneficiaries receiving home and community-based services.
Eliminates Medicare Part D cost-sharing requirements for people who are receiving long-term care under a home and community-based waiver.
Provides for grants and demonstration programs to train workers in geriatrics and long-term care.

Side Note: The Senate Special Committee on Aging estimates that there may be as many as 5 million elder victims of abuse every year.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Dallas and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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