Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Senators Compliment CMS Website - But Want More Transparency

Senators Compliment CMS on Nursing Website but Push Bi-Partisan Bill for More Info

Democrat Kohl, Republican Grassley push bill to expand transparency

April 28, 2008 – Two U.S. Senators from different parties came together last Friday to compliment the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for increasing the information available on their Website, Nursing Home Compare, but they say the agency has a ways to go to achieve the transparency and information for consumers called for in the Senate bill they have crafted.

Senators Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) complimented CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems for identifying on the site the most troubled nursing homes. They have been designated as Special Focus Facilities (SFF) by CMS.

Kohl and Grassley said that CMS still has a long way to go to meet the demands called for in their bipartisan bill, the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act (S. 2641), which would require Nursing Home Compare to display accurate, timely information in a format that can be easily understood by consumers across the country.

“Americans should have access to as much information about a nursing home as possible," said Kohl.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

AMA Committed to Enforcement of BCBS Settlement

The American Medical Association (AMA) announced that it will begin enforcement of the national Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) settlement as a signatory medical society to the agreement. The AMA joins 27 other participating medical societies that are able to provide direct assistance to physicians when a BCBS plan or subsidiary has failed to comply with the national BCBS settlement.

The AMA's participation in enforcement of the BCBS settlement was initiated yesterday when a Miami federal court finalized the settlement of a nationwide physician class action lawsuit brought against Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and more than 30 affiliated plans and subsidiaries.

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Doctors Agree: We Need Single-Payer Health Insurance

It's the only system that offers affordable quality care

We have all heard it before. The health care system in the United States is broken. We have all heard it, but when is someone going to do something about it?

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) is a group of 15,000 physicians who believe that there is a solution and it is currently working for Americans — if they are over 65. It is, of course, Medicare, part of the 60 percent of our current health care system that is paid for and administered by the government.

We believe a single-payer system (Medicare for everyone) would be less costly, more efficient and provide all Americans with the health care they need without an increase in overall dollars spent (an amount that is increasing at a rate of 7 percent per year). This would include the 47 million who are currently uninsured and the estimated 50.3 million who are "underinsured" (spending 10 percent or more of their pretax income on health care).

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Senior Care in Minnesota at Risk From Budget Cuts

Kim Winnegge, The ForumPublished Sunday, April 13, 2008

With Minnesota facing a projected deficit of $935 million, area advocates warn that program cuts to the health and human services sector will drastically affect the most vulnerable people in the community.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has proposed a $32 million cut in long-term care funding, with no cost-of-living increases in 2008.

He also wants to repeal rebasing for nursing homes, a process that would phase in rate adjustments over eight years to reflect actual costs in providing services.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

NY Nursing Homes Fill Gaps Left by Hospitals

As New York hospitals experience budget cutbacks and shortages, nursing home operators find themselves picking up some of the slack - caring for people who, though they may not really need a full-time nursing home, are not able to live independently in their own homes.

This role is actually the need we try to fulfill on a long term basis at an Adult Foster Care facility such as Kelso House AFC.

Staff Reporter of the Sun

As New York hospitals wrestle with cutbacks and budget constraints, nursing homes are finding a new role in treating patients who are well enough to be sent home but need additional care.

In a departure from their traditional role, nursing homes statewide in recent years have seen an influx of patients seeking short-term, rehabilitative care, as cash-strapped hospitals treat and discharge patients as quickly as possible. With increasing turnover rates at nursing homes, a number of facilities citywide are responding to the demand, taking on costly renovation projects that shrink the number of long-term beds but add space devoted to short-term care. Last week, the Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Queens broke ground on a $3 million expansion of its rehabilitation space, part of a $14 million top-to-bottom renovation of the facility.

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District Councillors Shoot Down Nursing Home

From the Midhurst and Petworth Observer

This story about a proposed nursing home in Nyewood, UK, shows that the same obstacles and issues surrounding elder care are present throughout the civilized world. What I found remarkable about this article was the fact that there was so much community support for the project, and yet the city planners found the project to be counter to their designs and went so far as to comment on the aesthetic devaluation of the neighborhood a nursing home would engender.

What lot of Sods!

Nyewood nursing home turned down despite strong village backing

NYEWOOD villagers have lost their fight for a 32-bedroom nursing home which was planned on the former station yard site.
Last week Chichester district councillors (CDC) threw out the plans at a special application referral meeting.

It was called because their colleagues on the north area development control committee in February defied their officers' recommendation and said they wanted to see the plan go ahead.

As this decision went against the council's planning policy it was taken to the special referral committee for a final ruling.

More than 40 villagers turned out when Harting Parish councillors held a special public meeting to hear their views earlier this year.

And members of the north area development control committee were told there was 'universal approval' for the scheme among villagers.

Applicant Bill Richardson said it would use a brownfield site, get rid of an unsightly builder's yard and enhance the whole area.

Harting and Elsted district councillor Andrew Shaxson also spoke out strongly in favour of the development.

But at the referral committee last week officers reported that 'given the remoteness of the site, the very limited nature of public transport in the area and the lack of local services and facilities, the proposal would be contrary to the aims and objectives of a range of planning policies governing sustainable development'.

They said it would also have a serious and detrimental impact on the appearance of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and would impact in an 'overbearing' and 'unneighbourly' way on nearby homes.

The committee voted to reject the plans on the grounds they would be an unsustainable form of development and would be harmful to the AONB and residential amenities.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Shortage in Senior Housing

By Patricia Breakey - Delhi News Bureau

A crisis is looming in housing for the rising population of senior citizens, with a shortage of beds available for those who are no longer able to live alone but don't require nursing-home care.
Adult foster care homes can be a perfect solution for people who need temporary or long-term non-medical residential care, but there aren't enough of them to meet the growing demand, Susan Aikens, Delaware County deputy commissioner, said Tuesday.

"We are actively recruiting for adult foster care homes," Aikens said. "Right now, we have five homes with 26 beds in Delaware County and we get 4 to 5 requests a month."
Recent closures of adult homes in Delaware County, both voluntary and involuntary, left about 100 people without a home. Of those, only 16 were able to remain in the county because there were no other spaces available.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Michigan BCBS Proposals Under Scrutiny

Christina Rogers / The Detroit News

A legislative battle in the state's Capitol over new regulations for insurers selling individual policies will resume in mid-April, when members of the Senate Health Policy Committee hold another round of hearings and move to a final committee vote at the month's end.

On the table are several alternatives to a package of bills passed by the House of Representatives last fall. The proposed legislation would among other measures make it possible for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the state's insurer of last resort, to divvy up the financial load of paying for its sickest -- and most costly -- customers by requiring commercial insurers to pay into a high-risk pool.

Last month, the Senate committee's chairman, Sen. Tom George, R-Kalamazoo, pitched a series of substitutes to the Blues-backed legislation.

Read it All Here

New Plan for Michigan Health Insurance Reform

From Our Own Detroit Free Press

State Sen. Tom George offers a well-thought-out plan for health insurance reform
April 6, 2008

On matters of public health, the State of Michigan's overarching goals must be improving it and increasing access to care.

With those guideposts, state Sen. Tom George, a physician, has a better plan for health insurance reform than one put forward by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and shot through the House last fall with disgracefully little review for an issue of such importance. George, a Republican from Kalamazoo, has, after a series of hearings he chaired in the Senate Health Policy Committee, produced his own set of proposals for the individual insurance market -- and they make sense.

Blue Cross, a not-for-profit agency set up through state law, has been lobbying for changes that the Blues say will enable them to be more competitive in the growing individual insurance market. At the same time, the Blues want less regulation and more freedom to invest in for-profit subsidiaries.

Read The Rest of New Plan for Michigan. . .

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Family Vistors Come to Kelso House

Ailie recently had visitors - family members Jim & Nancy came all the way from Waterford, Michigan to see her. Ailie was so surprised to see them and had a wonderful time. After they left, she just kept remarking, "what nice people."

We welcome and encourage visits from family and friends as often as possible, and we thank everyone who comes to devote their time.

Universal Coverage Law Creates Doctor Shortage