By: Tim Mullaney
Home health agencies are outperforming the post-acute sector as a whole in preventing patient rehospitalizations, according to data released Wednesday by the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation.
The numbers suggest that home health providers are taking steps to protect and expand their referral streams from hospitals, Alliance Executive Director Teresa Lee tells Home Health Care News. Since 2012, hospitals have faced Medicare reimbursement cuts if too many patients return within 30 days, meaning they are looking for post-acute providers that can help prevent readmissions.
Between 2011 and 2012, hospital readmissions from home health settings decreased about 2%, from 19.2% to 17.4%, according to the Alliance’s Chartbook report. For the post-acute sector overall, including skilled nursing and other provider types, the 2012 readmissions rate was 18.4%. These numbers were calculated for readmissions within 30 days of discharge, for the top 20 most common diagnosis groups sent to a post-acute setting.
Home health providers have taken a variety of steps to cut hospital readmissions, such as using checklists to ensure ongoing care coordination with the hospital after the patient has returned home.
Given the shifts in Medicare incentives, other types of providers also have sought to decrease rehospitalizations, and there has been a system-wide reduction, Lee notes.
“There is this overall trend, and we’re very pleased to see home health is part of that trend,” she tells HHCN.
Still, the fact that home health agencies are performing especially well on readmissions, coupled with the lower costs for home care versus facility-based care, could make HHAs particularly attractive partners for hospitals — particularly those that are part of accountable care organizations and similar provider groups that are financially rewarded for bringing down Medicare spending while meeting quality objectives.
“I hear anecdotally about agencies interacting with ACOs,” Lee says, noting that she does not have hard numbers on home health participation in ACOs. “It does seem to me that within the Alliance membership, there’s a great deal of engagement with ACOs, bundled payments, these different types of programs.”
Lee also points out that the percentage of patients who go from the hospital to home care has remained relatively stable over the past several Chartbook reports. However, she thinks it is reasonable to expect the proportion to increase in coming years. Medicare data does not immediately become available for analysis, so this shift might be underway well before it is reflected in an Alliance Chartbook report, she notes.
Part of a 19-episode series by the Atlantic, this video discusses some of the newest health care innovations occurring at Google. The video below is an interview with Andrew Conrad, the head of Google Life Sciences and he discusses "why Google is making human skin".
According Dr. Bergquist, an assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine, thinking negatively about aging can have detrimental effects. Dr. Bergquist tells of five studied effects that positive thinking can do for your health in her recent CNN article.
1. Live Longer
According to a 2001 study done by Harvard and Yale researchers that spanned 22.6 years, participants that held a positive attitude toward aging lived an extra 7.5 years. Additionally, the study found that perceptions toward aging influences life span more than blood pressure, cholesterol, body-mass index, and activity level.
2. Reduce Disability
The Ohio Longitudinal Study of Aging and Retirement which was published in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological, found that participants that had a brighter outlook on aging had a greater ability to carry out daily activities over 18 years, regardless of their ability in the beginning of the study.
3. Prevention Care
In the 2004 Ohio Longitudinal Study of Aging and Retirement, participants that perceived aging more positively were more likely take care of themselves, such as physical exams, eat better, and take prescriptions as directed.
4. Boost Memory
The fear of losing something may cause you to lose it. The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, the longest-running study of memory and aging, found that expecting memory loss might contribute to actual memory loss. A study that spanned 28 years found that 60-year-old participants held negative views and stereotypes toward mental aging had an increased 30.2% chance of decreased memory.
5. Cardiovascular Health
According to the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, young adults who kept negative age stereotypes were more likely to suffer a cardiovascular experience the next 38 years. But the study found that participants that changed their view on aging from a negative one to a positive one reduced their risk of suffering a cardiovascular experience by 80%.
Dr. Bergquist’s article pushes the idea that self-fulfilling prophecies are connected to health. Whether a person views his or her future full of life, vigor, and tenacity, or disability, cognitive decline, and suffering may depend on perception alone.
Source: Dr. Sharon Horesh Bergquist, CNN HEALTH, “Five Powerful Benefits of “Pro-Aging” Thinking,” (January 2, 2015). http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/02/health/age-self-fulfilling-prophecy/index.html?hpt=he_c1
Holiday season is here, and with comes stress. There are, however, many ways to handle the various stresses that come with presents, pumpkin pie, and Christmas carols. Here are several ways to manage it:
CREATE A TO-DO LIST:
You’re going to be busy so writing it down will help you be as effective as possible. When one task is done just look at your list and move onto the next one. Or if you are running errands you can route your trip to have an efficient trip. Additionally, checking off items helps is a reward in itself. It provides some joy in completing your goals.
ASK FOR HELP:
You’re not Superman or Wonder Woman. Ask for help. It’s that simple. If your loved one is running to the store, see if they can pick up some wrapping paper for you. Or if you need help cleaning the entire house, then get help. Don’t add additional stress by trying to clean, wrap, cook, and work. Usually those situations just give birth to chaos.
LEARN THE WORD "NO":
Holiday season brings a lot of chores and adding items to your to-do list only makes life harder for you. Learn to say no by recognizing when your time is limited. Again, by creating a to-do list it will be easier to analyze your day and judge if you can take on extra work. If not, then simply say “Sorry I can’t,” or “Let me finish my to-do list, and I’ll see if I can.”
Last but no least, learn to treat yourself. Don’t let the holidays be associated with hard work and no play. Take in the season. Enjoy it. There is a reason it is one of the best times of the season. Reserve some “me” time either in the morning or at night. This way your work and chores are not interrupted.
There are many more ways to reduce stress. Don’t stick to this list, though. Find ways to weave these habits and one’s you find helpful into your life on a constant basis, and finally reduce some of the holiday stress and enjoy the season for once.
BCM Office of Communications, BCS Momentum, http://momentumblog.bcm.edu/2014/12/17/tips-to-help-cut-stress-enjoy-the-holidays/ (12/17/2014)
Harvard University may have taken a giant step in the fight against diabetes. Their researches claim they have created a way to change stem cells so that diabetics could produce their own insulin.
At Inland Home Health Providers, we believe that everyone should be informed about events that could impact their health. That is why we have created this blog. It provides the most up-to-date information on events and new studies on day-to-day health issues. By being better informed, you can be better equipped to maintain your health.