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    Oct 1 2014

    Understanding How to Provide Geriatric Care Management Is a Skillset for the Future

    Posted by Merrily Orsini

    Geriatric Care Management HandbookIn 2012 there were 39 million people over 65, and in 2014 there are 43 million. In fact, 10,000 people are turning 65 each day. Now, turning that magic age does not mean that care is immediately needed. In fact, most care is not needed until a person reaches 80. So, that means that, when the first boomers reach 80 in 2026, the onslaught for care will begin. Understanding what aging means in terms of frailty, functionality, and needs is at the heart of geriatric care management.

    The Handbook of Geriatric Care Management, the only textbook of its kind on the subject, will be releasing its 4th edition in 2015. Published by Jones & Bartlett, and compiled by editor Cathy Jo Cress, this comprehensive guide for Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) is an essential teaching tool, with lessons and guidelines on:

    • Supporting clients’ quality of life
    • Assessing and supporting family caregivers
    • Ethnic and cultural considerations in geriatric care management
    • Combining a home care agency and a GCM practice
    • Care planning
    • And much more

    As one of the authors of a chapter in this important textbook, I am pleased to announce that I will be revising my chapter, “Marketing Geriatric Care Management.” In this chapter, geriatric care managers learn how to:

    • Market services to the geriatric care population
    • Create a solid marketing strategy
    • Develop a strategic marketing plan
    • Develop their brand
    • Target their marketing message to the right audience
    • Set themselves apart from the competition
    • Use new technology and digital media as a core component to reach those who have a need
    • Use education on issues related to aging to reach those in the first phase of the buying cycle
    • And more

    As a veteran of the aging care industry, my professional background is steeped in home care, geriatric care management, and marketing. My business ownership began with a geriatric care managed in-home care agency, which earned the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1996. I founded corecubed (Aging Care Marketing) in 1998 after selling my home care business. corecubed focuses on marketing aging care companies using strategy, design and integration to get results for our home care and aging care client partners.

    The corecubed team has won multiple awards, including a prestigious Stevie Award, and a coveted Webby Award nomination, as well as numerous Aster Awards and Web Health Awards for our home care marketing materials.

    It is such an honor to be asked to contribute to this informative and timely book, and I am thrilled to be able to bring my marking and aging care expertise to the Handbook for Geriatric Care Management in its latest edition. To learn more about the handbook and about its editor, Cathy Jo Cress, please visit her website.

    If you are interested in having a team with in-depth geriatric care experience working with you or your business to better reach a senior care market, the experts at corecubed know how to do it. Just contact us and we will gladly assist you in better targeting your campaigns, branding your business for success, and communicating with those who make decisions.

    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.