CMS is urging nursing homes to reduce their use of antipsychotic medications by 25% by the end of 2015. Experts want nursing homes to rethink their apporach to dementia and believe many diagnoses in nursing home residents do not merit antiphsychotics. Of 2.1 million elderly nursing home residents, approximately 14% had at least one Medicare claim for an atypical antipsyhotic drug between January 1, 2007 and June 30, 2007, according to a 2011 analysis by the OIG. The OIG also found that claims for elderly nursing home residents accounted for 20% of the total 8.5 million claims for antipsychotic drugs for all Medicare beneficiaries. CMS estimates that 39.4% of nursing home residents who had no diagnosis of psychosis received antipsychotic medications between July 2010 and September 2010.
President Obama recently announced that he is sending military and medical resources to combat the Ebola virus’ spread in West Africa. The plan will help Liberia construct some 17 treatment centers with more than 17,000 beds and will train 500 healthcare workers in how to deal with the disease. The government also plans on providing 400,000 Ebola home health and treatment kits to Liberia, along with other equipment for the healthcare workers. Ebola has struck parts of West Africa, including Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Last season, long term care workers had low rates of flu vaccination despite there being 92% vaccination coverage overall among physicians and nurses, according to the CDC. Long term care professionals had a 63% rate from 2013-2014. The CDC said the lower rate could be due to stricter vaccine requirements in hospitals (which had around a 90% rate), but also added that it may be due to the high percentage of assistants or aides working in long term care. The CDC has also published new guidelines for seniors that recommend adding the pneumoccal conjugate vaccine. Pneumococcal bacteria causes a severe type of pneumonia and can potentially lead to meningitis, blood poisoning and other infections. The CDC says that those over 65 years of age should receive one dose of the of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and a dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, six to 12 months later.
According to a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), healthcare leaders and providers need to become comfortable talking about end-to-life care and death with patients. The new report called “Dying in America” found that the demand of family caregivers is increasing. Making matters more challenging is the fact that most people nearing end-of-life care are not capable of making the decision on their own, therefore making advance planning vital. Researchers call for associations, institutions and organizations to establish appropriate training and certification to end-of-life care credentials.
CMS has released an updated version of the Minimum Data Set 3.0 Resident Assessment Instrument manual. The changes are not as drastic as last year. Section A has been updated with regard to resident admission/readmission dates and Section S includes new questions that may have to be answered by providers using this state-specific part of the manual. Facilities should also check with their state RAI coordinator and their colleagues to be vigilant about all changes and incorporate them into their workflows.
Urgent care retail clinics are starting to pop up around the country because of their convenient, affordable service which makes healthcare more accessible to the public. CityMD has 41 retail spaces throughout New York City and plans on opening 20 new Medicaid-friendly “Heal” locations by the end of 2014. Experts say the clinics appeal to those in low-income areas who don’t have private doctors. Despite urgent care centers being affordable and convenient, they are not yet equipped to take care of patients with complex, urgent needs, according to experts.. To keep up with competition, hospitals are starting to make care more accessible and cheaper by starting stand-alone emergency departments.