Hospice

FL hospice, nursing homes, hospital passed patients back and forth to juice profits, whistleblowers charge

FL hospice, nursing homes, hospital passed patients back and forth to juice profits, whistleblowers charge

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Two Florida nursing homes and a hospital allowed a hospice company to provide free services in exchange for patient referrals, according to recently unsealed whistleblower charges.

3 tips for a strong SNF-hospice partnership

3 tips for a strong SNF-hospice partnership

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Easier said than done. That phrase often pops into my head when I read the latest long-term care research.

New hospice comparison tool uses government info, Washington Post calls for more transparency

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In the absence of a hospice consumer guide from the government, The Washington Post has created one using available Medicare data. The newspaper unveiled the quality tool Sunday, in an article criticizing a lack of transparency around hospice quality.

Labor Department sues Virginia provider for allegedly withholding nurse overtime pay

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A Virginia healthcare provider did not pay long-term care nurses overtime for three years, the Department of Labor has alleged in a recently filed lawsuit.

Hospice expansion decreases hospital readmissions among all nursing home residents, study shows

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Increasing hospice services can reduce hospital admissions among all residents of a nursing home, including those not enrolled in hospice, according to findings recently published in JAMDA.

Shedding light on the impact of hospice care

Shedding light on the impact of hospice care

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While there seems to be some disagreement over Malcolm Gladwell's posit that doing something for 10,000 hours will make you a master at it, the idea that practice leads at least to improvement has received another shot in the arm. (That would be hospice providers you hear cheering in the background.)

Critics agree: New book about long-term care is a must-read

Critics agree: New book about long-term care is a must-read

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Doctors have a lot to learn about long-term care."Duh," you say? Fair enough. But a newly published study and a just released book really drive the point home.

CMS: Nurse shortage means hospices can keep using contracted workers

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Hospices can continue to rely on contract nurses because an ongoing nurse shortage is preventing providers from meeting their staffing needs, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced in a recent memorandum to state survey agencies.

A very tangled web

A very tangled web

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Medication management is as much art as science in a patient's final days, and that can present multifaceted caregiving challenges for hospice providers

Also in the news for September 25, 2014 . . .

Nursing home staff widely supportive of hospice care in the facility, but fewer say it makes their job easier ... Clinical simulations are an effective replacement for on-site nurse training ... CDC: Diabetes rate has tapered off but not for seniors

Latecomers to hospice frequently are male, have certain cancers, Penn researchers find

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Men and patients with certain types of cancer are among those less likely to enroll in hospice, suggesting that healthcare providers should focus on presenting these groups with all their end-of-life care options, according to newly published findings.

CMS updates coding instructions for hospice site of service, principal diagnosis

CMS updates coding instructions for hospice site of service, principal diagnosis

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A new Medicare hospice manual update includes instructions for which principal diagnosis codes are acceptable, and clarifies which codes should be used for services in a skilled versus non-skilled nursing facility. Billing staffs should be aware of these changes, which go into effect Oct. 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services stated in an educational memorandum sent Friday via email.

Also in the news for September 2, 2014 . . .

Inspectors cite LA nursing homes for dangerous practices but supervisors change reports to benefit facilities ... Feds join whistleblower suit charging that hospice billed for ineligible patients ... Magnetic pulses to the head could boost memory in people with Alzheimer's, Northwestern researchers say

CMS changes mind on hospice drugs

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The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services has revised guidance on authorization of hospice drugs for those under Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, according to a new memo.

Accepting what nurses cannot fix

Accepting what nurses cannot fix

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Like perhaps many of you, I come from a long line of "fixers." Multiple people whose schedules are conflicting? We'll coordinate. Someone isn't able to find a job? We'll provide help on their resume and introduce them around. A friend needs a boyfriend? Let me show you my multi-step PowerPoint plan.

Also in the news for June 13, 2014 . . .

Senators ask for provider input on healthcare data availability ... "Frailty index" can help predict post-surgery SNF admission ... Hospice association sues CMS over documentation rule ... Complex nursing home embezzlement case can go to trial

Hospice care scrutinized

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Medicare would increase hospice reimbursements by 1.3% in fiscal year 2015 under a payment rate proposed in May. This would be a $230 million boost, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

A blessing within the loss

A blessing within the loss

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This is a very hard blog for me to write. My mother just passed away. It was very sudden and not expected. I am blessed to have two mothers: A step-mother who has been in my life since I have been 8 years old (the nurse I often speak of and call "Mom") and "Mother" who just passed. But the reason I am writing this is not to garner sympathy or share my pain, but to share a rare experience that I think only those of us in healthcare may understand.

All veterans would be eligible for VA hospice care under House bill

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All veterans would be entitled to hospice care if recently introduced federal legislation becomes law. Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) introduced the "Care for Our Heroes Act" Thursday in the House of Representatives.

Dreams or delirium? Why making the right call is important

Dreams or delirium? Why making the right call is important

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As they approach death, people often are transported across time and space to be reunited with loved ones and relive meaningful moments. They do so in dreams and visions, which frequently are a source of great comfort, according to a recently published study. But nursing home and hospice caregivers might not be so comfortable with these dreams — which could lead to patients experiencing less peaceful deaths.

Also in the news for May 23, 2014 . . .

2 more arrests in Cochran nursing home photo scandal ... AHA sues over Medicare claims backlog ... PA hospice received millions through fraudulent billings, gov't charges ... Chemical plants could pose unknown dangers to nursing homes, report suggests

Nursing homes trail hospitals in quality improvement, AHRQ report shows

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About 60% of nursing home quality measures have been showing significant year-to-year improvement, but hospitals have been improving more quickly, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Nursing homes suffering from reimbursement shifts to home care, market analysis finds

Nursing homes suffering from reimbursement shifts to home care, market analysis finds

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Reimbursement is shifting to home health, hurting the finances of skilled nursing facilities, a newly released market analysis states.

Medicare hospice payments set to increase; Washington Post ties payment system to lack of care for suffering patients

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A troubling proportion of hospices fail to provide skilled nursing care to patients approaching death or who are experiencing a crisis such as increased pain, according to a lengthy Washington Post article published Saturday. The Post report appeared one day after the government proposed increasing Medicare hospice payments in 2015.

Hospice, curative care paid together in new program

Hospice, curative care paid together in new program

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Seniors will not have to stop curative care to receive hospice benefits under a new demonstration program, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced.

This American Life ... and death: Superb shows about hospice

This American Life ... and death: Superb shows about hospice

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A few months after Pattie Burnham started working as a hospice nurse, she forgot the name of the president of the United States. That's normal, her boss told her.

Palliative possibilities: Therein lies the rub

Palliative possibilities: Therein lies the rub

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When a patient is referred to therapy, and they are receiving hospice care, then therapy needs to seek permission from the hospice company to provide any treatment. Hospice is required to reimburse the facility for the therapy services since the treatment also is included in the bundled payment rate from Medicare Part A. And, therein lies the rub.

ViaQuest acquires Indiana operations of TriStar Home Health and Hospice

TriStar Home Health and Hospice, an Indiana division of Trilogy Health Services LLC, has been sold to ViaQuest Inc. The terms were not disclosed.

CMS: Hospice quality reporting to begin July 1, will require admission and discharge records

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Providers will have to report certain hospice quality measures to the federal government starting July 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services formally announced in a recent Federal Register notice.

Advance directives reach record levels, but this does not lead to more hospice use, researchers find

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Seniors are completing advance directives in record numbers, but this is not having the expected effect of shifting people from hospitals to hospices in their last days, say researchers from the University of Michigan and the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

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