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According to The New York Times, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City will phase out its "Continuum Home Care Services." The home health agency will transfer its more than 1,200 patients to other area home care agencies over the next six months. The hospital reportedly wants to focus on inpatient and outpatient programs.
CarePoint Health Services Inc., a home medical equipment company, has been purchased by Glendale, CA-based Continental Home Healthcare Ltd., for $2.3 million. According to Continental, it is the largest acquisition the company has made to date.
Minnetonka, MN-based home care company In Home Health Inc., has been bought out by Manor Care of Toledo, OH. The nursing home operator paid $7.9 million for the remaining 39% of the stock the company did not already own.
According to a report in the Birmingham News, the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) in Birmingham, AL, has closed its doors. The VNA began operations in 1938. The paper reported that the association transferred at least 400 patients to other home health agencies.
Geriatrix, a leading senior care management organization, has acquired For Health Inc. of Costa Mesa, CA, in a stock transaction valued at $7.4 million. San Diego-based Geriatrix provides specialized services to more than 10,000 elderly patients in nursing homes and has operations in Oklahoma, Michigan, Southern California, and now in Rhode Island and Arizona.
A study in the December Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that elderly cancer patients who received home care from advanced practice nurses lived an average of seven months longer than patients who received standard care.
The four-year study was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing from 1992 to 1996 and followed 375 elderly patients newly discharged from the hospital after cancer surgery. Some patients received standard care while an experimental group received three home visits and five telephone contacts with an advanced practice nurse, who also educated family members about caregiving. Advanced practice nurses are specially trained registered nurses, usually holding master’s degrees, who can provide such highly skilled care as medication prescription and physical examinations.
The study focused on elderly patients, who are more likely to experience postoperative complications. This problem is exacerbated by a trend to discharge patients rapidly after surgery. The interventions of the advanced practice nurse served to avert or address complications rapidly. In contrast, some patients in the standard care group died prematurely from surgical complications, such as infections. The authors speculate that survival may also have been enhanced in the experimental group by the psychosocial support that nurses gave patients and families.
The findings were especially significant because the patients in the group who received the special nursing care tended to be in later stages of their cancer than the group that received standard care. The assumption would be that these later stage patients would die sooner, but the reverse happened.
Lawyers representing mentally ill children in Massachusetts say they are prepared to file suit in federal court if the state does not develop programs to remove young mentally ill patients from unnecessary and lengthy hospital stays, said a spokesperson at the Hale and Dorr law firm in Boston. The attorneys said the state is violating federal law by not providing home care to children enrolled in Medicaid, as stipulated by the program.
Despite spending millions of dollars to increase the number of psychiatric, residential beds, less restrictive care was not available for all children in the state. The lawyers are pushing the state to develop comprehensive programs for therapy and recreation to allow the children to stay home. In response, the state will meet with lawyers from the Center for Public Representation and the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee.
According to Palmetto Government Benefits Association, many home health providers aren’t submitting the right OASIS (Outcomes and Assessment Information Set) documentation, which is interfering with Regional Home Health Intermediaries’ ability to do medical review on prospective payment system (PPS) claims.
Three examples of common documentation problems, according to a Palmetto staff member:
Palmetto says it became aware of the documentation problems from its recent medical reviews of initial home health PPS claims.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced the creation of $29.3 million in grants to hire "service coordinators." The coordinators will help more than 35,000 low-income elderly and physically incapacitated residents in federally supported housing identify and receive health care, meals, and other critical support services they need to remain living independently.
The grants go to the owners of private housing developments in 39 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia that receive HUD money to house low-income individuals. In turn, the owners/management companies will either hire or enter into a contract for the service coordinators, who have backgrounds in providing social services, especially to the frail elderly and people with disabilities.
For more information, visit HUD’s Web site at www.hud.gov.