Reminder: Home Health, DME Open Door Forum Today

HMS Healthcare Management SolutionsThe next Home Health, Hospice & Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Open Door Forum is scheduled for today, Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 2:00p.m. Eastern Time (ET).

To participate on the conference call, dial 1-800-837-1935 & Reference Conference ID: 72193272. Persons participating by phone do not need to RSVP, though calling at least 15 minutes prior to the forum start time is recommended.

For more information on Open Door Forums, including schedules and FAQ, click here.

HMS Care Transitions Series: Federal Programs

Several complementary public sector initiatives with a focus on improving care transitions are available to communities and health care systems. Below are some of the federal government programs providing various combinations of technical assistance, financial support and learning opportunities.

Federal Programs  

  • Quality Improvement Organization (QIO): In most states, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) contracts with a QIO to implement improvements in the quality of care in all settings. Information on QIO’s is available here.
  • Administration on Aging (AoA): AoAs assist individuals making decisions about long-term care. This work includes innovative interventions to facilitate the hospital discharge process and help residents of nursing facilities return to the community.

Up next: HMS continues our Care Transitions blog series with a look at the state programs in place to improve the safety and effectiveness of care transitions.

Controlling Medicare Spending By Reducing Hospital Readmissions

Last month, Medicare began imposing financial penalties against more than 2,000 hospitals, of which 307 will receive the maximum punishment, a 1% reduction in Medicare’s regular payments for every patient over the next year.  The forfeiture is part of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, Section 3025 of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in an effort to expel unnecessary care and curb Medicare spending.

Click here to read more.

Dangerous Grapefruit Juice, Drug Interactions

HMS Healthcare Management SolutionsScientists have found the number of common prescription drugs that can interact badly with grapefruit juice is climbing. Though not all have serious consequences, more than 85 drugs have that interact with whole grapefruit, grapefruit concentrate or fresh grapefruit juice have been identified.

Click here to read more.

State Medicaid Costs Will Jump With Or Without Expansion

State Medicaid costs will jump $76 billion over the next decade if all 50 states decide to expand Medicaid eligibility in 2014 under the federal health law.  But state spending on the program would still increase to the tune of $68 billion even without expansion, according toa study released earlier this weekby the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Click here to read more.

Bulk Rx Purchasing Could Save CT Millions

Purchasing medications in bulk for social service recipients and state employees could ease Connecticut’s current budget as well as the projected shortfall for 2013-2014.

The bulk purchasing of prescription drugs, offered to pool programs to help cities and towns, nonprofits and small businesses to reduce costs, could save Connecticut more than $65 million over the next fiscal year.

Click here to read more.

Tiptastic Tuesday: Tips For Staying Healthy During Cold & Flu Season

Cold and flu season are fast approaching. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 35 to 50 million Americans come down with the flu each year. Though there is no cure, prevention is considered the most effective treatment. Below are some tried and true tips for staying healthy this season.
  • Good Hygiene: Your hands are the fastest way for germs to enter your immune system. Be sure to wash them often and well.
  • Cover Up: Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze – preferably, with a tissue. If you do not have one, use your elbow or upper arm, not your hands.
  • Avoid Contact: Stay away from those who are sick and try to stay at least 3 feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay Home: If you are sick, staying home from work is your best option.  You won’t perform at an adequate level if you are feeling under par and you’ll risk infecting others.
  • Rest: The quickest way to weaken your immune system is to overwork and under-sleep. If you want to stay healthy, make sure that you’re getting the rest that you need.
  • Diet: If you fill your body with junk food, you aren’t getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs to be able to resist infection. Pay special attention to Vitamin C, a great immune booster, and Vitamin B, which helps your body fight stress.
  • Hydrate: Be sure to drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps the immune system work properly.
  • Flu Shot: Get a flu shot in October/November.