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News Roundup: May 20, 2013

How hospital CEOs see future: More home monitoring

Published by Sacramento Business Journal
Kathy Robertson
May 20, 2013

Facing a shortage of doctors and other providers as millions more people gain health coverage next year under the Affordable Care Act, local hospital CEOs see promise in patients doing their own monitoring from home — and better use of mid-level providers to the full extent of their license.

Not all patients need to be seen by a doctor, and the health care system is going to have to be a lot more efficient than it is now if new folks with high expectations are going to get the care they need at a competitive cost, speakers said at a health care CEO roundtable Wednesday sponsored by Drexel University Sacramento.

“Some patients have immediate needs. Some need to be touched, but some just have questions that can be answered with secure messaging or a phone conversation with the doctor,” said Ed Glavis, Kaiser Permanente’s Roseville area manager. “A lot of things can be taken care that way.”

Expect more reliance on blood pressure, temperature and weight checks at home with relatively inexpensive devices that may or may not be covered by insurance — but will feed information to a computer that can identify factors that are out of normal range, said Anne Madden Rice, CEO of the UC Davis Medical Center.

“We’re waiting now for a doctor to read it,” she added, “but we could use technology in a way that makes sense.”
Another answer is using people to the full extent of their capabilities, said Janet Wagner, chief administrative officer at Sutter Davis Hospital. “But even with that, we can’t put enough physician assistants and nurse practitioners into circulation.”

CMS Puts $1 Billion Up for Grabs for Post-Acute Care Innovation

Published by Senior Housing News
Alyssa Gerace
May 16, 2013

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Wednesday a billion dollar funding opportunity for round two of its Health Care Innovation Awards, focusing this time on post-acute care innovation.

CMS will spend up to $1 billion for awards and evaluation of projects from across the country that test new payment and service deliver models that will deliver better care and lower costs for Medicare and Medicaid, along with the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE:BKD), the largest national senior living provider, received $7.3 million in Round 1 of the Health Care Innovation Awards in a partnership with the University of North Texas Health Science Center to test its Transitions of Care program for independent living, assisted living, and memory care residents.

This second round of awards will support public and private organizations in four defined areas that have high likelihood of driving healthcare system transformation and delivering better outcomes.

Proposals submitted to CMS must be for models designed to rapidly reduce Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP costs in post-acute settings; models that improve care for populations with specialized needs; and models that test approaches for specific types of providers to transform their financial and clinical models.

Lastly, CMS is seeking proposals for models that improve the health of specific populations, whether geographically, clinically, or by socioeconomic class, through activities focused on engaging beneficiaries; prevention; wellness; and comprehensive care that extend beyond the clinical service deliver setting.

As part of the application, applications must submit the design of a payment model that is consistent with the new serve deliver model they’re proposing.

The eligibility for these awards extends to all types of organizations who have developed innovations that will drive significant improvement in population health, quality of care, and total cost of care, including provider groups, health systems, public-privtae partnerships, faith-based organizations, and for-profit organization.

CMS will accept letters of intent to apply for the awards beginning June 1 through June 28, 2013. Applications can be submitted between June 14 and August 15.

New push for more health home services support

Published by WGEM
Andy Devine
May 14, 2013

The senior citizen population is expected to double in the next two decades, meaning there will be a great need for more home health caretakers.

Now some lawmakers are trying to support the expanding service.

New legislation would make long-term home health care services more affordable and accessible in communities across the country.

Experts say many elderly people prefer home care and it can even save them money.

"Most people prefer to stay in their own homes if they can. It can also be more cost effective for someone to someone to stay in their own home versus moving into a nursing home setting, but without supportive services or help with basic activities with daily living some people won't be able to stay at home," said Carelink president Cathy Meckes.

The legislation has been introduced in the U-S House and Senate, but so far, no action has been taken.

Home Health Projects Heating Up in Alabama

Published by Home Health Care News
Jason Oliva
May 9, 2013

Alabama could be turning into a home health hotspot as a growing number of providers eye several counties for their next projects.

On Monday, four groups had already invested nearly $4 million worth of home health projects in the Birmingham and south Alabama areas, Birmingham Business Journal reports (BBJ).

Alacare Home Health Service, Inc., the only Birmingham-based group, said it is planning a $443,524 home health agency in Baldwin County, while its competition looks toward nearby counties for their projects.

Mobile-based Saad Enterprises Inc. said it plans to spend $1.1 million toward the building of three agencies in the Shelby, St. Clair and Blount counties.

Joining Saad in these counties will be Allied Health Management LLC, who intends to spend $1.8 million to develop three home health agencies in the area.

For its St. Clair projects, Allied plans to build two Medicare-certified agencies costing $537,071 each.

Even Atlanta-based Partners Healthcare Group is getting in on the action by investing $885,531 toward on an agency in Shelby County.

A follow-up article from BBJ published the next day could signal provider interest shows no signs of dying down.

Hometown Home Health Care has also thrown its hat into the ring. The Gadsden, Alabama-based provider already applied for a Certificate of Need with the state for its plan to build a $345,200 home health agency in Blount County.

While none of the provider-submitted Certificates filed with the state disclosed exact locations for the planned projects, according to the article, Alabama residents look to have a variety of home health options in the coming years.