Better healthcare helps everyone, even our local hospitals
Dino Capestrani | Aug 1, 2012, 9:49 p.m.
For several years now, reducing rehospitalizations of Medicare beneficiaries has been a key public policy goal. The intent of which is to improve quality of care for beneficiaries and reduce costs for the Medicare program.
With the new Affordable Care Act recently deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court, deadlines and polices are still on track. October 1, 2012, Medicare will begin to penalize hospitals that do not bring their patient readmission rates under control. Fines will start at 1% of a hospital’s annual Medicare payments and rise every year until readmissions decline.
What does this mean to Concordia Visiting Nurses?
Because of this deadline, hospital administrators will be open to any and all suggestions from post-acute care providers (post-acute care, like home health care agencies, nursing homes, etc. provide for the medical and emotional needs of people who are well enough to be out of a traditional hospital setting, but not well enough to return home). Home health care providers like Concordia Visiting Nurses are in a key position to help our hospitals by helping you manage your health..
What does this mean to you, an older adult?
The more informed you are on your heath, the healthier you will remain. For instance, many seniors have chronic conditions like Congestive Heart Failure or sometimes referred to as CHF. If left unchecked, CHF can result in a health crisis that leads to frequent hospitalizations. With increased education on disease management and clinical protocols provided by home health agencies, older adults can stay in their home much longer without those frequent visits to the hospital. So in short, we help you manage your health.
Hospitals are wonderful when you need them. There is no doubt, however, it’s better to stay healthy and with home health care’s skilled nurses and therapists who utilize special educational tools and best practices, we together can prevent unnecessary rehospitalizations, thus keeping you healthy longer in your own home.
As an example, Concordia Visiting Nurses offers five ways we help CHF clients manage their own health.
• First, all of our clinicians are specially trained on our Congestive Heart Failure clinical pathway which is designed to teach best practices in health care for CHF.
• Second, we provide each CHF patient with a special Stop Light Tool which helps to educate you on your disease and are guided to have you contact us when they’re beginning to experience elevated signs and symptoms which left unmet, can lead to hospitalizations.
• Thirdly, we provide CHF patients with a Standardized Teaching Tool to help you manage your disease which will help prevent another visit to the hospital.
• Fourth, as a CHF patient, you are evaluated for Telehealth Monitoring which has been proven to prevent re-hospitalizations.
TeleHealth combines advanced communication technology and health monitoring equipment to gather and transmit your vital signs to one of our health care professionals. The information is reviewed daily and early warning signs of problems are addressed immediately by our nurse and the physician. The combination of daily monitoring at the Concordia Visiting Nurses office and early intervention greatly improves the quality of your care.
• Lastly, CHF is a condition that requires a lot of daily management. Concordia Visiting Nurses offers a FREE educational website www.elderpages.com/pittsburgh which provides helpful tips and tools for family caregivers. The website helps
Viewers to learn information like managing their diet by reducing salt intake,
What to do when you or your loved one gets tired easily,
How to beat “cabin fever”,
What to do if you have to go to the Emergency Room, and
Making treatment decisions.
Not all hospitalizations and rehospitalizations should be prevented. Some, given a patient's particular circumstances, may well be medically necessary and appropriate. Moreover, denying Medicare beneficiaries the hospital care they actually need can be dangerous. Reducing hospitalizations and rehospitalizations is a worthy goal, so long as policymakers first recognize that:
• Many hospitalizations and rehospitalizations are medically necessary and appropriate,
• Hospitalized patients should not be misclassified as observation status outpatients, and
• Post-Acute Care Providers must be appropriately staffed so that Medicare beneficiaries receive the care they need.
None the less, we at Concordia Visiting Nurses are committed to help you manage your health. For more information on Concordia Visiting Nurses at (888) 352-1571 or visit www.concordialm.org.