WV plan helps elderly stay in their homes 

A West Virginia plan to help elderly and disabled individuals remain in the community and out of institutions has been approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Approval of this home-and-community-based waiver program will provide elderly and disabled people in certain public housing facilities with the opportunity to receive adult residential care services and allow them to "age in place" rather than be moved to a skilled nursing facility as their conditions deteriorate.

"This West Virginia waiver furthers our goal of helping people live independently in their homes and communities, rather than entering institutions," says Mark B. McClellan, MD, PhD, CMS administrator.

Individuals served under this waiver will receive a package of adult residential care services including personal care, homemaker, chore, attendant care, companion, medication oversight, therapeutic social and recreational programming, transportation, and periodic nursing evaluations. These are all services that would be provided in a licensed community care facility.

This waiver program will be pilot-tested in four cities in West Virginia: Moundsville, Williamson, Wheeling, and Huntington.

List of resources aids HIPAA compliance

One of the most comprehensive lists of documents that provide guidance to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance can be found in a white paper produced by the Health Care Security Workgroup, a combination of public and private organizations that have worked together to provide guidance to health care organizations in privacy and security issues.

The document includes links to a wide range of presentations, tools, and publications that outline specific steps and challenges to meeting HIPAA rules, including how to perform a risk analysis and how to assess security compliance.

The document can be found at www.wedi.org/cmsUploads/pdfUpload/WhitePaper/pub/2004-02-09NUWWP.pdf.

Homebound definition test chooses three states

Missouri, Colorado, and Massachusetts are the three states in which a demonstration project designed to test a more liberal homebound definition will occur.

Scheduled to begin in October, the demonstration that was authorized by the 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement & Modernization Act may involve up to 15,000 severely disabled patients who would be exempt from Medicare’s current restrictions related to the "length, frequency, and purpose of absences from home." The two-year test will determine if the more liberal definition of homebound will cause an "unreasonable increase" in Medicare expenses.

Providers receive award for palliative care

Ten health care organizations were honored on July 26th at the American Hospital Association (AHA) and Health Forum’s annual Leadership Summit in San Diego for their innovative palliative and end-of-life care programs.

Receiving the 2004 Circle of Life Award are Hope Hospice and Palliative Care of Fort Myers, FL; St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children of Bayside, NY; and University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center of Houston. The three winners, chosen from nearly 70 nominees, each will receive a $25,000 prize. Seven other organizations also will receive Citations of Honor.

"These programs share overriding themes of compassion and dedication and find new ways to expand the reach of palliative and hospice services," said Dick Davidson, AHA president.

"They provide excellent models any community can adapt," he added.

Awarded annually since 2000, the Circle of Life Awards are supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and are sponsored by the AHA, American Medical Association, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.

A press release on the awards will be available soon at www.aha.org under "What’s New."

Audio conference gets your agency ready for flu

Brace yourself: Flu season is right around the corner. Are you prepared? If an influenza pandemic hits, the entire U.S. population could be at risk. The annual impact of influenza on the United States is staggering. Ten percent to 20% of the population will get the flu. Some 36,000 people will die, and 114,000 will be hospitalized.

Most of those who die will be older than 65, but children 2 years old and younger will be as likely to be hospitalized as the elderly.

Thomson American Health Consultants is offering an audio conference with the information necessary to help you diagnose and treat patients with flu symptoms and, as important, prepare for an influenza pandemic.

Get Ready For Influenza Season: What You Need to Know About the Threat, Diagnosis and Treatment, which will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2004, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., EST, will be presented by Benjamin Schwartz, MD, and Frederick Hayden, MD.

Schwartz, who is with the National Vaccine Program Office and is spearheading the development of the National Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan, will discuss the potential impact of an influenza pandemic.

Hayden, a professor of internal medicine and pathology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, will discuss current methods of diagnosis and the latest information on treatment with antivirals.

This program will serve as an invaluable resource for your entire staff. Your fee of $249 includes presentation materials, additional reading, and free continuing education.

For more information contact customer service at (800) 688-2421 or by e-mail at customerservice@ahcpub.com

When registering, please reference code T04118-61332.