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    Sep 24 2014

    If Reimbursing for Visits, a Business will Naturally Increase Visits

    Posted by Merrily Orsini

    Results are in for Year 2 of ACOs

    Medicare Seeks Models that Achieve the Triple Aim

    At a recent VNAA National Public Policy Leadership Conference, Jim Pyles, one of the proponents of the Independence at Home Project, said, “If you reimburse for visits, a business is going to push making more visits. If you reimburse for episodes, a business will naturally push for getting more episodes.” That was his reasoning behind the ACO model not bringing in as much savings as originally anticipated. However, in a report just released and published in Modern Health, the results are coming in for the Accountable Care Organizations that were set up as one of the trial Medicare models to see if the triple aim can be achieved: lower costs, better patient care and a healthier population.

    The Pioneer ACOs showed improvements in three key areas: financial, quality of care, and patient experience. However, the model has not really changed, only collaboration to accomplish the results. The Independence at Home Project, on the other hand, targets that 10% of the population that is the heavy user of Medicare dollars. The following is taken directly from the website explaining the Independence at Home Model, but it really does explain the project and its intent very well:

    “There are 3-4 million seniors now living with multiple chronic illnesses such as diabetes, lung and heart disease who are too ill or disabled to easily visit their physician when they need care. These seniors, representing approximately 10% of Medicare beneficiaries, account for two thirds of Medicare’s expenditures.

    These seniors are typically unable to access a primary care physician’s office for needed care, instead of going to the ER or being hospitalized. These are the patients who place the largest burden on Medicare, and this problem isn’t going away. The number of people with multiple chronic illnesses will grow to 6-8 million by 2025.

    The Solution
    The quickest way to control health costs is by addressing these highest cost patients first. House calls are a solution to the rising costs of helping home-limited patients with multiple chronic conditions. At $1,500 per ER visit, we can show that the cost of 10 house calls more than offsets the expense of an avoidable ER visit. Savings are even greater for avoided hospitalizations.

    Improved Care for Patients, Savings for Medicare
    Home-based primary care programs have the potential to save 20-40% on Medicare’s most expensive patients by bringing them care in their homes. IAH provides for care coordination across all care settings. Providers are also accountable for good care and reduced cost. Overall this is a win for patients, their families, and Medicare!”

    We all know that the boomers are getting older, and as this “pig in a python” population cohort gets older, the system is going to have to change to accommodate the needs. Paying privately for care is one option, but more people cannot afford to cover their long-term care costs than can. It is encouraging to see that we are, as a health care delivery system, looking at innovative and effective new ways to use home care as a low cost alternative and a viable option.

    Sep 15 2014

    Home Care at the Table, Finally, in Future of Home Health Discussions

    Posted by Merrily Orsini


    institute of Medicine Holds DC Workshop on Home Health

    IOM and AAHQI hold workshop in DC on Future of Home Health

    Why has home care not been included in so many of the new initiatives created by the ACA? Some say it is the lack of national unified leadership, and that there is no one coordinated voice for home care that speaks for our industry. The many factions at the national level represent only their constituents’ interests, and have not (until now) rallied together to try and impact how home care can be a true player in the health care delivery system. September 30 and October 1, the Institute of Medicine is holding a two day workshop, free and open to the public, but prior registration is required.

    This workshop is an offshoot of the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation, a group spearheaded by Dr. Steven Landers, who is now with the VNA Health Group. Some might remember him from his Cleveland Clinic days when he was active with the Private Duty Homecare Association and received a prestigious award from NAHC.

    The agenda is almost final. Online signups are open now. Not on your agenda? It would be a wise use of your time, as some of the leaders, the true leaders in home care, are either speaking or leading panel discussions. And the gambit ranges from home care to home health care to telehealth to insurance to CMS. It really is an open forum for the future of home health, and it is exciting. Also, the education process to move home care into the forefront when decisions are being made as to how care is best provided is crucial.

    Without a unified message and lobby, home care has been relegated to only 4% of the Medicare spent on health care. Since it is the choice of 99% of those people who are asked about where they would like to recuperate or where they would like to go after hospitalization, and it is the lowest cost alternative, home care should have a more powerful role in the ACA.

    Below are the stated workshop objectives for the September 30 and October 1 workshop:

    · Provide an overview of the current state of home health care.
    · Examine the particular role of Medicare-certified home health agencies in achieving the triple
    aim: to improve the quality of patient care, improve population health, and reduce costs.
    · Explore how to integrate home health care into the future health care marketplace.
    · Discuss how to facilitate the future role of home health care (e.g., workforce, technology,
    infrastructure, policy reform).
    · Highlight research priorities to help clarify the value of home health care.

    This study is sponsored by AXXESS, and they are a proponent of making home care the preferred choice of those who need care some time in their lives.

    For more information on the future of home  health project, click here.

    Get involved in shaping the future of home care in America.


    Aug 22 2014

    Everyone’s a Winner When It Comes to Caring!

    Posted by Merrily Orsini

    caring champions judgeCaregiving is a rewarding job, but, too often, caregivers receive little recognition for their kindness and compassion. Caregivers uniquely engage the older adults in their care, recognize and support the dignity of elders, and take on a difficult professional role with little glory. That’s why, when approached me and asked if I would like to judge their 2014 Caring Champions program, I immediately said yes.

    This fabulous program recognizes professional caregivers for seniors in the United States. I was honored to be chosen as part of an exclusive panel of senior care experts to provide insight about senior care and identify the professional caregiver nominees who have gone above and beyond based on their submitted stories. As Andy Cohen, CEO of, notes, “This program highlights stories of extraordinary professional care, rewards caregivers, and helps families find the best service providers for their loved ones, too.”

    Having owned a geriatric care managed in-home care agency, and worked in the home care industry for decades, I have seen firsthand the dedication of professional caregivers and witnessed the ways in which lives are changed by the companionship and friendship that caregivers can provide.

    Yesterday, announced the winners of their Caring Champions program. Take a moment to read through the winners and learn more about what makes them exceptional caregivers. I am so proud to have been a part of Caring Champions and I extend heartfelt congratulations to all the winners and a sincere thank you to all the nominees. You truly know what it means to care.

    Click here to read more about all the Caring Champions nominees and find out more about the Caring Champions program.


    Jul 29 2014

    In Business, and in Marketing, Relationships are Golden.

    Posted by Merrily Orsini

    The Golden Rule works in marketing and business.

    Do unto others, in business, as you would have them do to you.

    Remember the Golden Rule? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s a pretty simple concept designed to teach people to treat others as they would like to be treated – but it isn’t just for personal relationships. The Golden Rule applies to business and professional relationships too. Have you ever considered how you would like to be approached by other professionals, or how you would like your business to interact with other businesses? Your answers to those questions can provide a good starting point for how you can start building better relationships with others in your field. You can start by applying the Golden Rule.

    The Golden Rule is actually a key principal of marketing, and builds on the idea that companies can achieve as much, if not more, through collaboration as through competition. Competition is healthy and necessary in any market, but collaboration can have benefits that last longer and are more profound because those benefits are based on having real, positive, and mutually beneficial relationships with other professionals. And as you have probably learned, relationships are two-way streets. Positive actions toward other professionals have the likelihood to be reciprocated with other positive actions. Although, just as is the case with personal relationships, positive actions are not always returned right away. But, delayed gratification is no reason to stop creating relationships. Creating relationships with other professionals is about doing what is right and helpful to others, sharing experiences, building ongoing rapport, and recommending each other’s services and products to appropriate clients at appropriate times.

    Here are some ways that, perhaps. you have thought about, that describe how you would like to be treated by other professionals and how you would like your business to interact with theirs:

    – I’d like other professionals to share their business challenges with me.
    – I want other professionals to see me as a thought leader and expert in my field.
    – I want other businesses to approach my company about ways that we can collaborate.
    – I’d like other professionals to share information about my business with others.

    In today’s world of social networking (and social marketing, actually), it’s easier than ever to apply the Golden Rule.

    Some of the best marketing opportunities to be had revolve around the concept of relationship building – both in person and online. One simple form of relationship building in digital marketing is linking to other websites. A healthy business website should have outbound links. Outbound links are relevant links on your website to other relevant business websites. Inbound links, also called “backlinks,” are links from other websites back to yours. Both types are important because Google, as well as other search engines, give rank and credence to websites that connect to other quality websites who are relevant to their industry. In simple terms, Google looks at links as affirmations that your business has a great relationship with other businesses. How do you choose to whom you link? You start by building real relationships in the industry and finding out who is worth collaborating with and who deserves a link, a validation, in essence, from you.

    Another great way to build relationships with other professionals online is to join LinkedIn. LinkedIn provides a forum for thought leadership that allows you to share knowledge about your industry on a regular basis. One of the best things you can do for a LinkedIn connection is to share some of their thought leadership. If a connection has posted something on their blog that is amazing, share the link on LinkedIn so that others can benefit from their expertise.

    Need some expert help building online relationships and making sure your website has the right amount of inbound and outbound links? We can help. Contact the SEO experts at corecubed today.