Tag Archives: medicare
August 26th, 2013 | 7
Recently, PBS’s Frontline produced an in depth three part series on what life is like inside of assisted living facilities. PBS focused on assisted living facilities run by Emeritus, the parent company of the largest chain of assisted-living facilities in the nation. Emeritus was chosen as the focus because, as a large national chain, it has the resources and infrastructure to provide adequate care to patients. Unfortunately, it alleged that Emeritus was falling short and letting patients down in many ways.
The disturbing three-part Frontline series highlighted tragic stories of patients in assisted living facilities who died in care facilities that did not have the tools or policies in place to care for them. Unfortunately, variations of these stories may happen without the headlines at many assisted living facilities throughout the United States, as the business model of assisted living may be set up to encourage a focus on profits rather than people.Continue Reading
July 24th, 2013 | 1
The U.S. is running out of time to remedy its long-term health care crisis, Dr. Bruce Chernof, chairman of the Federal Commission on Long-term Care, told Chicago’s NPR affiliate. As long-term care insurance dries up and becomes more expensive, millions of baby boomers must begin planning now for uncertain futures.
“It’s important to recognize that we are going to age differently than our grandparents did,” Chernof said, “because 70 percent of folks over the age of 65 will need, on average, about three years of long-term services and support.” Twenty percent will need five years or more. Planning is vital because federal benefits will most likely be scarce; such care is not covered through standard health insurance and is not a prominent portion of Medicare or Medicaid.Continue Reading
Medicare Funding at Risk of Being Drastically Reduced: What Does This Mean for the Rest of Us? Blake Pappas
July 17th, 2013 | 0
Medicare and Medicaid are two of the largest expenses the federal government undertakes. Due to this, these are often areas that receive some sort of cut when a financial crisis occurs. Currently, there are benefits that are being cut by the Obama administration in order to help reduce the national deficit. These cuts are going to affect individuals who are currently using Medicare, so if you or someone you know and love receives benefits from Medicare, there are a few different altering adjustments you need to be made aware of. This way you can try your best to plan accordingly.Continue Reading
July 1st, 2013 | 0
On July 1, Medicare begins a second round of competitive bidding for medical equipment and supplies, such as diabetes testing strips that beneficiaries use to check their blood sugar levels. There’s nothing remarkable about any of this except that the industry is fighting to make sure that competitive bidding does not happen.
This fight is emblematic of the difficulty Medicare has containing costs when the profits of sellers of medical goods and services are at stake. As we know, one person’s savings is often the loss of another’s income. We also know that industry folks squawk mighty loudly to Congress when their income is threatened.Continue Reading
May 2nd, 2013 | 10
The high number of readmissions within 30 days is an issue that all hospitals are currently seeking to analyze and improve. In order to do so, it is crucial to assess and improve current practices and develop innovative new policies and procedures that will help patients to recover quickly without need for readmission within a short period of time.
The Importance of Reducing Readmissions
Currently, about one in five Medicare patients are being readmitted to hospitals within 30 days due to secondary conditions that have arisen since discharge after treatment of an initial condition such as heart failure or pneumonia. To reduce this number, hospitals have begun to modify and improve patient care while the patient is hospitalized as well as after the patient has been discharged.Continue Reading
February 22nd, 2013 | 0
Health care is a hot topic, and hospitals must pay increasing attention to something called the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). Pronounced H-Caps, this assessment is given to random eligible patients after they are discharged, and the patients’ responses are used to establish ratings for the hospitals. These ratings are released to the public four times a year.
The HCAHPS Requirement
In 2002, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began working with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to create and test the survey before it went into public use. Both agencies are in the federal Department of Health and Human Services.Continue Reading
January 15th, 2013 | 2
Anti-psychotic medications are being abused in record numbers in nursing home settings as care providers dose patients to make them more docile and to make their behavior easier to control. This is an egregious form of senior abuse and a serious public health problem. In February 2012, the American Health Care Association announced a three-year plan for nursing homes and assisted living communities to improve their care, including reducing the use of off-label uses of antipsychotic medications. Anyone interacting with senior patients, from hospital discharge planners to nursing home administrators, needs to be aware of the measures being taken.
Progress on this issue is just one important trend in senior care. Consider both the anti-psychotic drugs issue as well as some other key trends that are important to senior care providers.Continue Reading
January 3rd, 2013 | 0
Here’s the understatement of the New Year: Medicare can be frustratingly complex for patients and discharge planners alike. Nevertheless, it is critical for social workers and discharge planners to be in the know about the aspects of Medicare that directly affect their patients and care facilities. We have compiled a list that, although not exhaustive, highlights some crucial information that discharge planners should be aware of.Continue Reading
December 7th, 2012 | 0
Doctors and hospitals have certain obligations to provide competent care to patients. This duty of care does not end at the hospital doors. When a patient is discharged, the hospital/healthcare provider has a responsibility to ensure that any discharge plan is made in the best interests of the patient and takes into account the medical needs of the patient. Everyone, from the treating physician to the discharge planner, must take certain steps to ensure that the goals of providing competent care are met even once the patient has left.Continue Reading
November 21st, 2012 | 2
A few weeks ago, I reported that most seniors on Medicare tend to stick to the plan they initially chose even though as the years go by they might be able to get a cheaper model by junking the old one. Medicare beneficiaries are more like bank customers than car buyers, it seems. Once they choose a plan—whether it’s a traditional Medigap policy or one of the new Medicare Advantage (MA) plans—they keep it.
A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private, nonprofit research organization, checked out this phenomenon and concluded that if seniors stayed in a plan they could end up paying ten percent more in premiums than if they switched to a newer plan. New plans often have cheaper premiums because health insurance sellers—engaging in a kind of bait and switch—entice shoppers with low price tags and then as they get older and sicker and have medical claims, the premiums go up. Still, people hang on to what they have.Continue Reading
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