<img alt="" src="http://www.qpwoei2.com/100802.png" style="display:none;">

Ankota: Ushering in the Next Generation of Homecare Blog

What Makes Home Care Special - by Elizabeth Hogue

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 31, 2017 2:12:00 PM

Home care attorney Elizabeth Hogue has helped our industry navigate through all types of tough challenges and shares her sage guidance willingly through her frequent emails. I need to confess that some of Elizabeth's emails are a bit like cough medicine, meaning that it might not taste so great but you'll be better off for it. Her message that we're sharing today show's the lighter side of Elizabeth where she takes a step back to remind herself and all of us how great and special our industry is. Enjoy...

Home Care: The Main Thing

Fotolia_31375793_Subscription_Monthly_M-1.jpgI have a collection of buttons gathered over the years at various state and national meetings of home care associations at which I was a presenter. Three of them say:

 

  • "There's no place like home."  
  • "Home care is where the heart is."
  • "Home care professionals keep families together."

 

All of the above was true when the buttons were received and remains true today!

IN ADDITION, THESE BUTTONS SAY THE MAIN THING ABOUT HOME CARE!

Home care providers of all types, including home health agencies, hospices, private duty agencies and home medical equipment (HME) companies must keep their eyes on the ball, and "the ball" is these three things!

YES! Home care providers must provide excellent care to patients!

YES! Home care providers must provide cost-effective care!

YES! Home care providers must keep patients out of emergency rooms!

YES! Home care providers must keep patients out of hospitals!

But the main thing is HOME!

Home care providers are bombarded these days with regulatory changes; audits; denials; appeals; reimbursement and payment changes; surveys; requirements for complete, accurate documentation; non-compliant/adherent patients; families who are difficult to work with; patients with high acuities; unreliable primary caregivers; and difficult requests from referral sources.

And let's not forget animals! Attack geese! A home care field staff member who came face to face with a pet alligator in a mobile home in Louisiana named Bubba! A different kind of face-to-face encounter, for sure!

And on and on the list goes.

It seems that there are many who do not understand the home care industry and may even think that it's easy to provide home care. Even a cursory look makes it clear that this is emphatically not the case. It is tough and it's easy to lose sight of the Main Thing.

Regardless of where patients call home, including continuing care retirement communities (CRCs) and assisted living facilities (ALFs), that's where patients want to be. The MAIN THING for home care providers is to help patients stay home. In the midst of competing demands, let's not lose sight of the MAIN THING!

 

 
©2017 Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq.  All rights reserved.

No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without the advance written permission of the author.

----

One of Ankota's recent whitepapers, entitled,  "Selling Care Transition Services to Hospitals" is available for download and we think you'll find it useful.  Please click the link or the picture below to download.  If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

Selling_Care_Transition_Services_to_Hospitals_Cover.png

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, July 2017 Newsletter

SEO Checklist for Your Home Care Firm

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 30, 2017 11:12:00 AM

Today's article is by Jason Chagnon from Providentia Marketing.  Jason and Providentia's goals are to help to drive client referrals and attract caregivers to your agency.  In today's blog, he offers an introduction on how to improve your SEO, your website performance, and ultimately, how to improve your marketing.  Enjoy his post (below) and feel free to leave a comment!

home-care-seo-experts.jpgFor most people, driving in a car feels much safer than flying in an airplane. We dictate our future when we hold the steering wheel. We decide our direction, and we determine whether we reach our destination or not. Statistically, flying is much safer than driving, but most of us worry a lot more when we are on an airplane. We hate to give up control – it makes us uncomfortable when we’re 30,000 feet above the ground. Control means security.

In SEO, search engines are your airplanes, and Google is your pilot. There may be 100 people onboard an aircraft thinking they’re headed to Miami. But if the pilot says he wants to go to Los Angeles, guess where you’re going? Los Angeles!

Everything Google does is in its own self-interest. Google is not a public service. They are a business looking to drive the bottom line. Profit potential drives their algorithmic changes. They don’t owe webmasters anything. However, if we can build a website that provides a remarkable user experience and answers a query, then Google will reward you with targeted visitors. They want people to continue using Google as their preferred search engine, so delivering high-quality results should be a priority.

Remember, Google is not a person. It’s a machine that was programmed by people. Anytime there’s an algorithm in place, there’s a way to manipulate the algorithm. Clients and their families rely on search engines for answers to their questions, so you need to do everything you can to get in front of users who do not yet know who you are.

In our next series of posts, we’ll present Providentia Marketing’s 2017 SEO checklist to help your home care business get a little more control over the pilot.

Part 1: Is your website built for mobile?

The world has made a rapid shift from desktops and laptops to cell phones and tablets. It’s more important than ever to make sure your website looks great on a small screen and loads fast. Mobile-friendly is the name of the game. Here’s what you need to implement to “future proof” your website:

Responsive Website Design

Responsive website design has become the barometer by which all mobile sites are judged. In the past, webmasters had to build two separate websites: one for desktop users and one for mobile users. Now, responsive design allows the on-page elements to adjust to the user’s screen automatically. This is ideal for user experience and is Google’s preferred website design.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

AMP is a new initiative by Google to bring the web to mobile users at lightning speed. Since Google has made their shift to the mobile first index, websites that take advantage of accelerated mobile pages have enjoyed a slight boost in rankings. Much like SSL, this advantage is likely to dissipate over time as more users adopt AMP technology. With that said, you don’t want to be the only website without AMP pages a year from now!

Up Next: Is Your Website Fast? Secure? Does it deliver a Great UX?

In my next post, I’ll review three more factors which dramatically impact your staffing website’s SEO.

This article, originally titled, SEO IN 2017: A CHECKLIST FOR YOUR HOME CARE FIRM (PART 1 OF 3), first appeared in the Providentia Marketing blog.

------

One of Ankota's recent wBlueprint Healthcare Cover.pnghitepapers, entitled "Blueprint for the Next Generation of Homecare at Home"  is available for download.  Please click the link or the picture below to download.  If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, June 2017 Newsletter

Take Another Look: Kenyon’s 10 Most Popular Coding Blogs of 2016

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 24, 2017 9:48:00 AM

 One of the industry experts I learn from every time we speak is Ginny Kenyon, principal at Kenyon Home Care Consulting.  Ginny helps open home care agencies and has given Ankota great inputs on our software.  We at Ankota strongly believe that keeping elderly people healthy and comfortable in their homes (and out of the hospital) is an important step in the evolution of healthcare.  Ginny is one of the pioneers driving moves in home health delivery.  Enjoy her post (below).

bigstock-Coding-word-in-d-letters-with-108793814-300x269.jpgAt Kenyon Connects, you find quick and ready access to a steady stream of coding blogs all year long. But now that the new year has gotten under way, there is no better time to stop and review the most popular 2016’s coding blogs. Did you miss an important article you could greatly benefit from if only you had seen it? Or did you read, learn from, and enjoy a past article that you would like to revisit or share?

10 Most Popular 2016 Kenyon HomeCare Consulting Coding Blogs

Below, we list the top 10 most popular 2016 Kenyon HomeCare Consulting coding blogs. Our analytics tell us these articles received the most ‘hits’ in 2016. Likewise, we hope you find them ‘a hit’ as you rediscover information in the new year.

1. 8 Essential Tips for Getting Unparalleled Reimbursements Quickly

In this article, the importance of essential nutrients to the health and wellness of the human body is compared to the importance of following essential coding, documentation, and coding practices at your homecare agency.

2. Updated 2017 ICD-10 Codes Just Arrived. Are You Prepared?

Here, we gave a “heads up” on the some 2,500 changes to ICD-10 in October of 2016. Also the article covers helpful hints on how to implement those changes, some perspective on the October 2015 switch to ICD-10 and what to expect in future ICD-10 updates.

3. How to Get Rid of Poor Reimbursements Once and For All!

This blog focuses on how agencies struggling with their reimbursement rates can improve. Even agencies doing well with reimbursements can maximize processes to expand the bottom line. Article also contrasts outsourcing benefits with in-house coding.

4. What Will Home Health Coding Look Like in 100 Years?

This article begins by looking into the radical changes and exceptional progress medical coding has gone through in the past. Then we speculate on how coding may change going forward. At the conclusion, find 5 keys to ensuring your homecare agency’s future is bright.

5. How to Eliminate Pesky Coding and Documentation Issues

Are you suffering from “pesky” coding/documentation problems that, like flies buzzing about your head, never seem to go away? This article addresses those issues and gives direction to finding effective solutions.

6. How to Know You’re on the Right ICD Coding Path

This is a survey of five “signposts” or “warning signs” that indicate your ICD coding may not be “on the right path.” The signposts are: managerial overload, coding confusion, AWOL documentation, missing opportunities, and never being up to date.

7. 12 Reasons Outsourcing Is Better Than In-house Coding

Here is a litany of a dozen good reasons to opt for outsourcing over doing your coding in-house. And best of all, explains how outsourcing ultimately translates into a better bottom line.

8. A Day in the Life of a Home Health Coder

Here we follow an under-prepared home health coder through his or her “No Good, Very Bad Day.” We then offer solutions that can keep such bad-day experiences from becoming the norm, or even totally eliminate them.

9. What Is the Truth About Letting Managers Manage Instead of Coding?

This blog covers fallacies when leadership insists their managers have time to code. Managerial responsibilities that can suffer when managers code and alternatives freeing managers to do what they do best — manage, are also discussed.

10. #1 Way to Cure an Anemic Bottom Line: Correct Diagnosis Coding

Of all our 2016 coding blogs, this blog was the most popular. In it, we explain how to improve on the CMS “Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)” and put your bottom line in good health. Are you ready to ensure your coding is both correctly and efficiently done?

You Have Read the 2016 10 Most Popular Coding Blogs, Now What?

As is evident from our above-listed most popular blogs of 2016, Kenyon HomeCare Consulting offers homecare agencies invaluable assistance. We can provide temporary or permanent coding outsourcing, staff coding education and help improve your reimbursements.

With Coding Plus, our clients report a 29% to 48% boost in reimbursement rates. Kenyon’s will help you maximize reimbursements with:

  • OASIS integrity reviews

  • Comprehensive help with documentation

  • Guaranteed HIPPA compliance

  • Fast, accurate coding and claim submissions

  • Monthly progress reports, and more!

For a free 30-minute consultation, contact Kenyon HomeCare today by calling 206-721-5091 or filling out our online contact form!

This article entitled, TAKE ANOTHER LOOK: 10 MOST POPULAR CODING BLOGS OF 2016Take Another Look: Kenyon’s 10 Most Popular Coding Blogs of 2016, first appeared in Kenyon HomeCare Consulting blog.

------

One of Ankota's recent whitepapers, entitled "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Private Duty Home Care Agencies" available for download and we think you'll find it useful.  Please click the link or the picture below to download.  If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

7_habits_effective_home_care.jpg

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, Ginny Kenyon

4 Ways Healthcare Professionals Can Improve the Patient Experience

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 22, 2017 2:59:50 PM

Today's guest post is from Hannah Whittenly.  Hannah is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.  Her article today is about how to provide quality care and her tips apply to a number of roles within the private duty and home health space.  They are nice reminders for caregivers and useful for those managing a team of caregivers:

Premier Care 4 Ways Healthcare Professionals Can Improve the Patient Experience.jpgVery few people actually enjoy going to the doctor's office or clinic, but the relief that is often provided makes the experience well worth it. That being said, there is a great deal of anxiety that typically accompanies such a trip, and this can be compounded if a facility is not doing all that it can to make the experience more comfortable for the patient. There are ways to ensure that individuals no longer fear a trip to the doctor, however, so that is an encouraging sign. As you reflect on this topic, consider the following four ways that healthcare professionals can work to improve upon their level of patient care today.

Put a Smile on Your Face

Going to a doctor's office is already a stressful enough experience without encountering staff that seem disinterested or bored. The patient experience begins right when an individual walks through the doors. Individuals and families should be greeted with a smile and made to feel as though they are king or queen for a day. No matter what the potential ailment might be, it is up to the healthcare professional to put their mind at ease and made to feel that they are in great hands. Putting a smile on your face and a positive tone to your voice will go a long way in ensuring that this core objective is met, and that overall patient satisfaction scores go up.

Maximize Performance Levels

With technology today, there is no reason that patents cannot be seen more quickly and with more efficiency. One of the biggest frustrations accompanying a visit to the doctor has long been the wait time. This should begin to go down exponentially today given the opportunity to increase performance levels throughout any given facility and with the help of various patient engagement systems. Multiple tasks can be accomplished without having to send a patient to another department. Patients should no longer be left alone for long periods of time. This can all be alleviated with a better use of technology that leads to enhanced levels of performance throughout the facility.

Streamline Intake and Outtake Processes

Automating the paperwork and application process can help patients be seen more quickly today than ever before. If you facility still requires mounds of paperwork before a patient's blood pressure is even taken, you can bet that your patient satisfaction scores are correspondingly low in comparison. Take advantage of technology in this area by streaming both your patient intake and outtake process. Individuals will begin to notice the difference as they get admitted and discharged electronically. This will decrease wait times and make life easier for doctors and nurses as well.

Put Yourself in Patient's Position

It is always helpful for a healthcare professional to put themselves in the position of the patient. Consider their needs and how you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. This will help you empathize with them and understand what they are going through. It is easy to lose perspective as a healthcare professional because you are in the facility every day. Many patients only visit the doctor once a year, so the anxiety that they feel can be immense. Improve in this area and the overall patient experience will be greatly enhanced.

When healthcare professionals begin to implement these four strategies, the overall patient experience will be greatly enhanced. This is important in an era of increasing competition, where individuals do have a choice of medical provider. It is important to take care of a patient's wellbeing, both physically and emotionally, throughout the time that they are being seen. If you can do this, you will experience increasing patient satisfaction numbers on the whole.

- - - - - - - 

Ankota has a new e-book available for download called, Winning with the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Program, that offers further insight on the discussion.  Just click the link or the picture beow to download.

Winning-with-HHVBP-ebook-cover-2.png

If you're interested in scheduling a live demo of our software solutions, just click the button below:

Click Here for a Free Demo

 

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices

Structuring the Right Agreements for Care Transition Services

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 16, 2017 4:46:18 PM

The health care world is becoming more aware and more focused on the importance of managing care transitions, including transitions from hospital to home. There are several reasons for this increased awareness and focus. First, many health issues and avoidable hospitalizations arise during transitions of care, and 2) hospitals are now penalized financially for preventable readmissions. Sadly it's probably the 2nd reason more than the first that's driving the focus.  Ankota has advised our home care customers of the opportunity to offer care transition services as a way to build relationships with hospitals as referral partners. Those who have done so have seen their referrals increase. Today's article is provided courtesy of Elizabeth Hogue, the esteemed home care lawyer. In today's article she advises us on how to structure proper legal agreements for care transitions.

Care Transition Agreements: Key Issues

Anecdotally, there is increasing recognition that transitions in care are the most dangerous times for patients. These transitions range from shift changes in institutions, such as hospitals and SNFs, to changes from one level of care to other levels of care. In addition, hospitals are especially concerned about transitions after discharge since, if they do not go well, patients may be readmitted to hospitals that may result in financial penalties for hospitals.

Consequently, there is greater interest in Care Transition Services Agreements, especially between hospitals and all types of homecare providers, including Medicare certified home health agencies, private duty agencies, hospices and home medical equipment (HME) companies. Such Agreements present a number of legal issues, however, that must be taken into consideration in their development and implementation.

A key area that must be addressed is compliance with the federal anti-kickback statute. This statute generally prohibits anyone from either offering to give or actually giving anything to anyone in order to induce referrals. Inducements may include free services provided to referral sources, such as hospitals, in exchange for referrals.

Specifically, providers who render care transition services must be certain that they are not providing any free discharge planning services. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has clearly stated that free discharge planning services in exchange for referrals may be impermissible kickbacks.

It is certainly acceptable, however, for post-acute providers to coordinate care transition services after receipt of referrals. How should providers draw distinctions between free discharge planning services and coordination of care transition, and other post-acute services to patients?

Medicare Conditions of Participation (CoPs) for hospitals (42 CFR Section 482.43) and Interpretive Guidelines for the CoPs published in 2013 address this question. The CoPs say that discharge planners/case managers must:  

  1. perform discharge planning evaluations

  2. develop discharge plans

  3. arrange for the initial implementation of discharge plans

  4. reassess and modify discharge plans as needed

Areas in which discharge planners/case managers may seek assistance from post-acute providers that amount to free discharge planning services may include development of discharge plans and arranging for the initial implementation of discharge plans.

With regard to this issue, the Interpretive Guidelines referenced above state:

Hospitals are expected to have knowledge of the capabilities and capacities of not only long term care facilities, but also of the various types of service providers in the area where most of the patients it serves receive post-hospital care, in order to develop a discharge plan that not only meets the patient's needs in theory, but also can be implemented. This includes knowledge of community services, as well as familiarity with available Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS), since the State's Medicaid program plays a major role in supporting post-hospital care for many patients.

The Interpretive Guidelines go on to say that hospitals are expected to be aware of Medicare coverage requirements for home health care and other post-acute services. According to the Interpretive Guidelines, hospitals are also required to arrange for the initial implementation of patients' discharge plans, including arranging for referrals to all types of post-acute providers.

So, while it is desirable for post-acute providers to enter into Care Transitions Agreements, it is also important to be sure that services provided under such Agreements do not cross the line from coordination of services to free discharge planning services to referral sources in exchange for referrals.

To obtain a CD and handouts from a teleconference on how to enter into Care Transition Agreements, send us a note with your contact/shipping information and a check made out to Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq. for $207.00 (shipping & handling included) to: Fulfillment, 107 Guilford, Summerville, SC 29483. 

©2017 Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq.  All rights reserved.

No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without the advance written permission of the author.

----

One of Ankota's recent whitepapers, entitled,  "Selling Care Transition Services to Hospitals" is available for download and we think you'll find it useful.  Please click the link or the picture below to download.  If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

Selling_Care_Transition_Services_to_Hospitals_Cover.png

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, June 2017 Newsletter

10 Startup Home Care Fundamentals I Wish I’d Known

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 15, 2017 11:17:00 AM

 One of the industry experts I learn from every time we speak is Ginny Kenyon, principal at Kenyon Home Care Consulting.  Ginny helps open home care agencies and has given Ankota great inputs on our software.  We at Ankota strongly believe that keeping elderly people healthy and comfortable in their homes (and out of the hospital) is an important step in the evolution of healthcare.  Ginny is one of the pioneers driving moves in home health delivery.  Enjoy her post (below).

Whether you’re launching a new business line within your existing home care agency or initiating a startup home care, from scratch, it’s crucial to get all your ducks in a row beforehand. With that in mind, we’ve crafted a list of the ten most fundamentally important factors in pursuing your new endeavor.

Startup Home Care Fundamentals for Success

Startup home care fundamentals go beyond turning on your open sign. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your startup success.startup home care

1. Research

Before you can begin planning other aspects of the startup home care process, adequate research must be conducted.

This includes evaluating the competition in various locations, learning the needs of each community you consider, and settling on a final location(s). Doing this before moving forward ensures your organization is in a position to succeed.

2. Business Plan

This strategy maps out the path your agency will take in order to grow. It generally projects where you want to be in three to five years, as well as the steps and funds needed to get there.

Remember, it can take up to a year to secure your license, certification, and or accreditation. So, ensure your finances allow for this low-revenue period. The U.S. Small Business Association is a great resource for learning more about business plans.

3. Legal Requirements

Complying with regulations are a major part of any startup home care process. Obtaining licensure or certification is overwhelming and time consuming. Therefore, it’s always best to be familiar with and understand all federal and state requirements and if applicable, accreditation standards for your specific business type.

4. Resources

You may be surprised to discover how many resources are needed to adequately launch a new home care organization or service line. In addition to the obvious office space, you must also acquire the following:

5. Staff

A home care organization is only as successful as its staff. Consequently, that’s why it’s important to build an elite caregiver team from the beginning.Before posting job openings, define the different positions you will needed, write a job description for each, and outline their responsibilities. Upon startup, it may be helpful to find employees who can take on multiple roles until you become more established.

6. Processes and Strategies

Don’t wait until you’re up and running before creating uniform processes for the many tasks happening on a regular basis. Part of startup home care fundamentals is establishing these strategies. Among others, you’ll need to plan for:

  • Staff orientation
  • Client admission and services
  • Billing
  • Personnel records
  • Client records

7. Employee Education

Educating team members is more than simply throwing a training manual at them and sending them into client homes. To really soar, your organization needs comprehensive ongoing training.Determine what your staff needs to know for certifications and professional licenses, what competencies you’ll test for, and who will be charged with managing the education process.

8. Referral Sources

Referral sources are the lifeline of any successful home care organization. So, your startup process should include learning about all potential sources and determining how you can best meet their needs. Consider the following steps:

  • Understand who they are
  • Learn their service needs
  • Brainstorm how the referral source and your agency can partner
  • Set up recurrent meetings
  • Develop services around their needs

9. Marketing

Marketing is a vital part of any startup regardless of industry, including home care. Develop goals and a plan to meet those goals. Implement all avenues – radio, TV, social media and written materials.When marketing, consider your services, what sets you apart, and what your referral sources need. It’s often best to bring in a marketing expert to get you started.

10. Professional Consulting

A professional home care consultant is helpful in many areas, from guiding the startup process to helping you maneuver through legalities. Look for a consultant who has abundant experience in all aspects of home care, can provide necessary resources, and is conscientious of your goals.

Startup Home Care Fundamentals and Kenyon HomeCare Consulting

Kenyon HomeCare Consulting is your one-stop shop for all your startup home care needs. Our services include everything from interim management to marketing to policy manuals. Give us a call to learn more.

This article entitled, 10 STARTUP HOME CARE FUNDAMENTALS I WISH I'D KNOWN, first appeared in Kenyon HomeCare Consulting blog.

------

One of Ankota's recent whitepapers, entitled "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Private Duty Home Care Agencies" available for download and we think you'll find it useful.  Please click the link or the picture below to download.  If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

7_habits_effective_home_care.jpg

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, Ginny Kenyon, June 2017 Newsletter

5 Legal Concerns to Consider when Training to be a Nurse

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 10, 2017 10:40:00 AM

Today's guest post comes from Dixie Somers, a freelance writer from Arizona. Please enjoy Dixie's article.

5 Critical Legal Concerns to Consider before Becoming a Nurse.jpgIf you're in school for nursing or thinking about becoming a nurse, you've probably already thought of all the reasons why it's a perfect job for you. Helping people on a daily basis, learning medicine, and having that feeling of fulfillment are some of the favorite things associated with this job profession. However, it's not until later in your education that you look at the legal topics that surround a nurse every day.  Here are some topics for you to be aware of and to consider.

Patient Privacy

Most of us know of the Health Information Patient Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA, 1996). This act affects anyone who has seen a doctor or other medical professional at one point in their life because it states that medical health records must be kept private unless you've given the authorization to share your data. Slipping up and sharing a patient's medical information in a conversation or posting about something seemingly benign on social medic is a breach of HIPAA, and you can face serious consequences as a result. HIPAA applies to all medical professions, including those in health administration master’s programs. These programs will go over patient privacy laws even further.

Professional Licensure/Scope of Practice

Of course, you cannot practice medicine without your professional license and will get in a lot of trouble if you do. There are several laws regarding licensure, as well as state laws. Also, acting outside of your scope of practice as a nurse can end in a lawsuit. The Nurse Practice Acts (NPAs) go over both the scope of practice and licensure requirements. Most hospitals have policies on what their nurses are allowed to do and what they should not do as a nurse. It's important to know the legal implications of not staying within those lines and the importance of only doing what you're authorized to do.

Abuse

As a nurse, you're considered a mandated reporter, and many states require that you report any signs of abuse. Many of the laws regarding abuse and healthcare professionals are based on the state. It's imperative to know what the laws are in your state, how to recognize signs of abuse, and how to proceed if you do see signs of abuse. 

Nursing Malpractice

It's important to understand the different legal risks nurses take when caring for a patient. For malpractice, four elements need to be present. Duty, breach of duty, Injury and the connection from the breach of duty to the injury. This is easier to jeopardize than many realize. Simply missing a step on a patient care routine can lead to not noticing an injury. Thus, the injury isn't treated, and it gets worse. It's important to document everything and do complete evaluations.

Advance Directives

An advance directive is a legally binding document that outlines the wishes of the patient for medical treatment. This includes both living wills and durable power of attorney issues. Not following this order or not checking the chart to see if they have a DNR order brings around more malpractice suits.

Many more laws need to be followed when becoming a nurse professional. It's important to know these laws and the implications that will follow if they are not adhered to. Most nursing programs include a class on malpractice and other relevant legislation, but be sure to do your research if you aren't sure about a particular area.

----

One of Ankota's recent whitepapers, entitled "Selling Care Transition Services to Hospitals" is available for download and we think you'll find it useful.  Please click the link or the picture below to download.  If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

Selling_Care_Transition_Services_to_Hospitals_Cover.png

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions

How do Boomers Feel about Home Care Health Tech?

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 8, 2017 10:25:00 AM

night-1665026__340.jpgLiving in Boston, a big part of our tech community is impacted by MIT, and I often meet MIT students and post-grads who are innovating with tech for healthcare. These genius engineers and scientists often seek me out because they have the "perfect solution for the elder care market." It is generally comprised in their estimation of devices that monitor vital signs connected via blue tooth to the individuals smart phone, which in turn is connected to the Internet. With this awesome solution we can know everything going on physically with the people we care for.

Obstacles to Tech Adoption Among the Elderly

Engineers like to overcome obstacles, so I usually start by commending them on their genius solution and then I lay out some of the obstacles that they hadn't considered. Among my list are the following:

  1. The average age of home care clients is 84 and they don't have smart phones, nor do they have internet connection.

  2. They don't like to be monitored because they feel as if they're being spied on.

  3. There's no reimbursement for the type of monitoring proposed and in fact the health care community would rather not have access to all of the biometric data for their population because they have no ability to act upon it and are afraid that if they have the data and don't act they'll be held lible.

Now Let me Contradict Myself

While I do believe that the above points are true for our current home care population, this is changing. Baby Boomers (the oldest of whom are now 71) all have smart phones and know how to use them. Plus, the Medicaid home care population is sadly a younger demographic and they have smart phones. 

My Prediction is the the Smart Phone will be the Ubiquitous Patient Monitor

Ultimately, everyone will have a smart phone that is with them at all times and this will become the patient monitoring device. All of the monitors that the MIT genius crew is thinking up will make their way into the standard equipment on an iPhone or Android phone. 

But How do Boomers Feel about Health Tech?

Based on 2015 data, there Boomers and Health Tech.pngare 76 million US Baby Boomers and they are consuming roughly $634B in healthcare spending. Even though they have smart phones, health tech has failed to capture their hearts and minds according to this survey of broadband households from Parks Associates.

How Can we Monitor the Elderly Today?

We've put a lot of thought into that question... The short answer is that the frailest and highest acuity (sickest) individuals need hands on care to be their eyes and ears, but the other 95% can be monitored affordably using the one technology they know how to use - the telephone. If interested to learn more, please contact us.

How can we affordably monitor the elderly today?
 

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us. 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, June 2017 Newsletter

4 Traits of a Great Home Health Care Provider

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 3, 2017 4:46:00 PM

Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

Medical Care at Home 4 Traits of the Best Home Health Care Providers.jpgBeing a home health care provider is very rewarding, but this type of job can also be extremely challenging. These professionals must have a variety of hard skills as well as key personality traits in order to provide the best possible care. Here is a quick glimpse of four attributes that all caregivers must have and why those traits are so important in this profession.

Empathy

Empathy is probably the single most important attribute that a health care provider can have. While empathy can make this job more difficult, it will improve the quality of care as well. Many people are born with a strong sense of empathy, but this trait can also be strengthened over the years. Those who continue to work on being more empathetic can alter the way they view their patients and the world around them.

Persistence

When it comes to long-term care, there is rarely a quick solution. The vast majority of those who receive home care will need ongoing support for months or even years at a time. A persistent caregiver will trudge forward even when it feels as if they are not making any progress whatsoever. Over the years, the small decisions that the caregiver makes each and every day will have a major impact on their loved ones.

A Desire to Continuing Learning

Even after spending years in this profession, home health care providers must continue to improve themselves. Whether it is going back to school with one of many online MHA programs or reading up on the latest medical news, yearning to improve oneself is an attribute that all of the best caregivers have. Many also go on to specialize in various fields such as intensive palliative care and geriatrics.

Patience

Those who are in need of home care generally suffer from multiple diseases and disorders and may be nearing the end of their lives, and that makes everyday activities extremely difficult. A caregiver must be able to take a step back from the situation so that they don't get frustrated. Those who are not patient will only become stressed and strain the relationship they have with those who they are caring for. Irritation is especially common when caring for older patients, but any unchecked emotions are going to ruin everyone's quality of life.

Home health care providers and caregivers spend an average of 20 hours per week looking after their patients, and that is a major investment of time and energy. While this type of work does have its ups and downs, it is a key service that improves the lives of millions of people around the world.

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us. 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, June 2017 Newsletter

What Will Managed Home Care Look Like Under the New CMS Administrator?

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 1, 2017 10:47:55 AM

Whenever people ask me how politics will affect the home care industry, I encourage them to look at the population trend for elderly Americans. This graph from AARP that we've shared many times shows that the population of Americans over 80 is at roughly 13 million today and will triple in the next 20 years. Plus, sadly, while people are living longer they're actually less healthy than previous generations. We'll share articles in the coming weeks to defend these two positions on the size and health of our future market.

Population over 80 in the US - AARP-1.png

The Future of Home Care is About How to Care for This Rapidly Growing Population

Another sad but true fact is that the market for non-medical home care services is really split into two distinct segments, the wealthy market and the poor market. Wealthy elderly people, or those who had the foresight to buy long-term care insurance are able to use their own wealth to live out their retirement in the comfort of their own home with in home care services. They have the preference for this kind of life and they have the wealth to do it while still leaving an inheritance for their heirs.  There are lots of wealthy baby boomers who are represented in the curve above, so this market will grow.

The other segment of non-medical home care is for the poor and the care is paid for by Medicaid and other charitable programs. Medicaid is administered at the state level and is governed, along with Medicare, by the Committee for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). For those of you new to this, Medicare is available to all Americans over 65 and disabled persons and it is a "national" program, whereas Medicaid is focused on the poor and is highly funded and administered at the federal level, but each state controls their own program.

There's a New Sheriff in CMS and Her Legacy is Consumer Directed Services (CDS)

Amidst all of the highly political and well-reported recent government appointments was the confirmation of Seema Verma as the administrator of CMS. Verma, who holds a Masters of Public Health, Health Policy and Administration from Johns Hopkins, is mostly known for her work iCMS-logo.pngn crafting the Indiana Medicaid program and making it a leader in being "consumer directed." Verma's appointment is well-covered in an article by our friend Tim Rowan at Home Care Tech Report

Two Aspects of Consumer Directed Services

There are two aspects of CDS services that are important to home care, as follows:

  • Consumer Directed Healthcare Funding: The Indiana Medicaid plan wanted to give consumers the right and the responsibility to direct how their health care funds were spent and had the hopes that if the consumers were making more responsible choices, their funds would go farther. It worked like this: 1) The Medicaid population was given a $2,500 deductible on their health insurance, but 2) they were give a fund of $2,500 to spend. This might sound confusing, but the effect was to create a program where the consumer would act in a way to stretch their $2,500 as far as possible. This resulted in fewer emergency room visits and more use of generic drugs, and ultimately reduced the cost of healthcare.

  • Consumer Directed Services (CDS) as a Home Care Program: On the Medicaid side, many states have a CDS home care program. This program, in effect, makes each consumer the president of their own home care company that has generally one employee (their caregiver). This might have you saying "why does this matter to me?" but it does and here's why. Like all government programs, there are stringent requirements for managing the authorized amount of care and following a prescribed care plan. The Medicaid consumers can't do this on their own, so generally the programs are administered by home care agencies like yours and you get a profit on each hour of care.

Bottom Line: Your Agency Needs to Understand CDS Services and Managed Care

There's good news and bad news here. The good news is that you can manage these kinds of programs with the skills that you have. The bad news is that it's pretty likely that your current software can't handle it. If you have Private Duty software, it's very unlikely that it can manage authorized care, track Medicaid eligibility, bill the state programs, and manage very complex care plans where you have to prove how many times a week you did the services. If you want to participate in these programs, you'll need better software. If this is in your future, Ankota can help.

Ankota Can Help!

Blueprint Healthcare Cover.pngOne of Ankota's recent e-books, entitled "Blueprint for the Next Generation of Homecare at Home"  is available for download.  Please click the link or the picture to download. 

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.  

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, May 2017 Newsletter

Subscribe to Email Updates

About Ankota

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Follow Ankota on Twitter!

twitter bird white on blue

Most Popular Posts

Posts by Month

New Module

Add content here.