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Working with Elder Parents in Planning Financially for their Long Term Care

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:00
You may be taking care of elderly parents now or looking at that possibility in the near future. According to a report from USATODAY/ABCNews/Gallup Poll, 41% of baby boomers are helping take care of elderly parents by providing personal help or financial assistance or both.

The Perfect Holiday Caregiver: Its all a state of mind

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:00
The holidays are always a wonderful time of year for family gatherings, reflection on what we have and the spirit of giving. The television is packed with specials showing relationships and families coming together for the holidays.

Choices for End-of Life Caregiving

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:00
There are many decisions to be made when imminent death is approaching for a loved one. Questions regarding what type of care, medical assistance and even physical location for their last days confront us.

Legal Issues with Veterans Benefits

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:00
Federal law dictates that no one may help a veteran in the preparation, presentation and prosecution of an initial claim for VA benefits unless that person is accredited. The only exception to this law is that any one person can help any veteran -- one-time only -- with a claim. To help any veteran a second time requires accreditation.

Helping Your Elderly Parent with COPD Related Depression

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:00
Experts say that over a million people in the United States have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is a chronic lung condition that includes bronchitis, emphysema or both.

Getting Your Affairs In Order

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:00
If we had a crystal ball and could see into the future, we would not need to prepare ahead for end of life decisions. James was 62 years old when a stroke made it impossible for him to communicate with his family. Neither his wife nor children knew anything about his financial or medical information. James had always taken care of things himself and left no written directives in his behalf. Besides having to locate important documents, the family was left to make their own decisions about James long term care.

Home Repair Loan and Grant Program

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:00
Rural Development makes loans for repairs to improve or modernize a home for families and individuals with very low incomes. These improvements are intended to make it safer or more sanitary, and/or even to remove health hazards. For seniors 62 and older who cannot afford a loan, grant funds many be available for these necessary repairs.

Speak Out Against Elder Abuse

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:00
October is National Residents' Rights Month, a national effort to celebrate, honor, educate, and protect those living in long-term care homes and their families. The goal is to help not only the residents themselves but their families and communities recognize the rights of long-term care residents and learn how to speak up if they or someone they love are not receiving these rights.

Leaving This World Alone (Loneliness among the Elderly)

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:00
James A. Froude said, "We enter the world alone, we leave the world alone." There is no feeling more horrible than the loneliness one feels in the unsettling quiet of an empty house. For many elderly, it seems that aging accompanies loneliness as children leave and spouses pass on. Though many children devote years of their lives to care for their elderly parents, others abandon them to solitude.

Healthy Living and Successful Aging

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:00
The United States is experiencing a remarkable increase in the number of people who live to an old age. Our older population (people 65 years or older) numbered nearly 40 million in 2009 (latest year of available data). These folks represent one in every eight Americans, or 13% of the population. By 2030, it is projected that the U.S will be home to more than 72 million people age 65 and older.

The Accidental Caregiver

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:00
You've heard people say it and maybe you have even said it yourself. "Don’t worry Mom or Dad, I’ll take care of you in your old age."

Social Security – A Safety Net for Retired Americans, their Survivors, and the Disabled

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:00
Our council is dedicated to helping families recognize the need for long term care planning and to help implement that planning. All elderly people, regardless of current health, should plan for the myriad of financial events and challenges they might face. Social Security retirement benefits alone will not adequately help us meet these challenges; however, the program itself, how it is funded, and how the payouts work must be understood by every retiree.

Benefits for Senior Veterans

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:00
According to Department of Veterans Affairs census estimates, there are approximately 13 million veterans and their single surviving spouses age 65 and older. Comparing this to a total of 41 million Americans 65 and older, veterans and their single surviving spouses represent about 1/3 of the senior population. According to VA about 42% of all veterans are 65 and older. This percentage will continue to grow as the bulk of the Vietnam veterans - the largest cohort - are still younger than age 65.

Life Resource Planning Meets Needs Beyond Retirement

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:00
Seniors are the fastest growing segment of the population, not only in the United States, but in the world. Currently, individuals age 65 and over represent 13% of the U. S. population – about 41 million people– but this will grow to 20% -- 88 million -- in just a matter of 38 years. Seniors also control a great deal of the wealth in this country.

Dying with Debt

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:00
At some point in our lives we may ask ourselves: If I die and have debt, who or what will be responsible for paying back those I owe?

Invisible Heroes

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 20:00
They live in your city, perhaps on your street or even next door. They serve with courage, perseverance, patience and love. Some give 24 hours a day, with days blending into weeks, months and years. They are family caregivers; heroes quietly caring for loved ones at home.

All eyes on House bill for manual accessories

HME News - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 11:05
11/22/2017Liz Beaulieu

WASHINGTON – With the clock ticking on 2017, stakeholders have zeroed in on increasing the number of co-sponsors for a bill in the House of Representatives that would protect accessories for complex rehab manual wheelchairs.

At press time, H.R. 3730, which would exempt these accessories from competitive bidding pricing, had 49 co-sponsors.

“We’re staying in regular contact with our champions and what they’ve told us is, stay focused on building the level of support for the bill,” said Seth Johnson, senior vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility Products. “It’d be great to get the number of co-sponsors to 75-80.”

A previous bill that would have exempted accessories for both complex rehab power and manual wheelchairs from bid pricing had more than 100 co-sponsors.

Stakeholders had also been working on getting a companion bill introduced in the Senate, but while they still have support there from Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, they’re running out of time.

“When the House passes the bill and it comes over to the Senate, (Casey and Portman) will look to move it through the process,” Johnson said. “They’re supportive, but they’re also wrapped up in other healthcare-related issues.”

With all eyes now on the House bill, stakeholders are working to increase the number of co-sponsors, while their champions navigate possible legislative vehicles or stand-alone opportunities in a chaotic Congress.

“It’s a two-edged sword,” said Don Clayback, executive director of NCART. “On the one hand, this is an issue that is known in Congress and that they have been working on for three years; on the other hand, it’s a small issue amid many other bigger issues.”

But stakeholders and their champions have pulled off last-minute successes before, in December of 2015 and 2016, when they were able to delay CMS’s plans to apply bid pricing to accessories. CMS then dropped plans to apply the pricing for complex rehab power wheelchairs in June, but not for complex rehab manual wheelchairs.

“We’re just asking Congress to complete the circle,” Clayback said.

 

Stakeholders call on CMS to overhaul prosthetic policies

HME News - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 11:03
11/22/2017Theresa Flaherty

BOSTON – A growing gap between technology advancements and what Medicare and other payers will cover creates safety issues for amputees, says a new study.

The Rand Corporation, in a study released in October, says microprocessor-controlled knees (MPKs) prevent falls better than older artificial lower limbs. Twenty-six percent of patients with MPK limbs fall per year, compared to 82% of patients with non-MPK limbs.

“As a clinician, I have experienced with my patients that they are at a greater risk of falling when they do not have access to MPK technology,” said Dr. Michael Oros, CPO and president of the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association during a press conference. “Stability and safety mean everything to amputees.”

MPK devices do cost more than non-MPK devices: $15,083 per year vs. $13,382 per year. But they are associated with a reduction of $3,676 per year in direct health costs and $909 in indirect costs such as lost wages, according to the study.

“Are the extra costs in line with other things that we fund?” said Dr. Soeren Mattke, managing partner, Health Care Practice, for the Rand Corporation. “Amputees have a much lower probability of falls with MPK and that translates to follow-on costs and quality of life implications.”

Despite advances in technology, Medicare total payments for prosthetics declined 15% between 2010 and 2014. Additionally, in 2015, the four DME MACs released draft local coverage determinations for lower limb prosthetics that would severely limit access to K3 and K4 devices.

CMS needs to overhaul its policies to better reflect technological advances. Even MPKs, which are considered “new” by prosthetic standards, have been around for nearly 20 years, says Oros.

“The current operating environment for coverage is outdated and needs to change,” he said.

In brief: MedPAC recommends CMS shift more products into bid program, AmerisourceBergen buys H.D. Smith

HME News - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 10:55
11/20/2017HME News Staff

WASHINGTON – The Medicare Payment Advisory Committee made payment policy recommendations for non-competitively bid DMEPOS during a meeting earlier this month, according to Epstein Becker & Green, a healthcare law firm. MedPAC plans to recommend that CMS shift more products away from the “excessive” fee schedule to bid rates. It also plans to call for “immediate reduced payment rates for certain non-CBP products while CMS works on incorporating them into the CBP,” the law firm reports in a post for The National Review. Alternatively, MedPAC plans to recommend a policy option that would have CMS consider capping balance billing at a percentage of the fee schedule rate and reduce the allowed amount by 5% for non-participating providers, the law firm reported.

AmerisourceBergen buys H.D. Smith

VALLEY FORGE, Pa., and SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – AmerisourceBergen will purchase H.D. Smith for $815 million in cash, the two companies have announced.

H.D. Smith is among the largest wholesalers in the country, providing a full line of brand name, generic and specialty drugs from 10 distribution centers across the U.S.

“The acquisition of H. D. Smith strengthens our core business and expands and enhances our strategic scale in U.S. pharmaceutical distribution,” said Steven Collis, chairman, president and CEO of AmerisourceBergen, a provider of pharmaceutical products that generates more than $150 billion in annual revenues.

H. D. Smith subsidiaries Triplefin, a pharmaceutical brand support provider, and Arete Pharmacy Network, a pharmacy services administrative organization, are not part of the acquisition.

AmerisourceBergen plans to fund the acquisition through the issuance of new long-term debt.

The acquisition is expected to be slightly accretive to AmerisourceBergen’s adjusted diluted earnings per share in fiscal year 2018, and be about $0.15 accretive to adjusted EPS in fiscal year 2021.

For fiscal year 2018, AmerisourceBergen now expects revenue growth to be in the range of 8% to 11%, adjusted operating income growth to be in the range of 4% to 7%, and operating growth income for its Pharmaceutical Distribution Services segment to be in the range of 4% to 7%.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory review and other closing conditions, and is expected to close in early calendar 2018.

Part B premiums, deductibles remain stable for 2018

WASHINGTON – The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $134 for 2018, the same as 2017, CMS has announced.

Some beneficiaries who were protected from Part B premium increases in prior years will have increases in 2018, but they will be offset by the increases in their Social Security benefits next year, CMS says.

“Medicare’s top priority is to ensure that beneficiaries have choices for affordable, high-quality care that fit their needs,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Next year, no beneficiary protected by the hold-harmless provision will see a Part B premium increase that is greater than the increase in their Social Security benefits. We encourage Medicare beneficiaries to explore their options to make an informed choice between original Medicare and Medicare Advantage before Open Enrollment ends on Dec. 7.”

The average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage enrollees will drop to about $30 in 2018, about a 6% decrease compared to 2017, CMS estimates. More than 77% of Medicare Advantage enrollees remaining on their current plans will have the same or lower premiums for 2018, the agency says.

The annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries will be $183 in 2018, the same as 2017.

Providers meet with Verma

MODESTO, Calif. – Representatives of Home Oxygen Company attended a Nov. 20 meeting with Rep. Jeff Dunham, R-Calif., and CMS Administrator Seema Verma to discuss the challenges of rural providers in California. “Administrator Verma was very attentive to our needs and knowledgeable of our challenges,” said Andrea Ewert, president and CEO of Home Oxygen Company. “Our representatives were able to articulate the challenges of running a business and serving Medicare beneficiaries in this financially compressed market.” Denham is a co-sponsor of H.R. 4229, which seeks to extend a retroactive delay of a second round of reimbursement cuts in non-bid areas from Jan. 1, 2017, to Jan. 1, 2019. The bill currently has 71 co-sponsors.

Aeroflow partners with Stratice to digitize orders

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow Breastpumps & Urology has partnered with Stratice Healthcare to use eOrdersPlus to digitize orders for medical equipment. eOrdersPlus, developed and operated by Stratice Healthcare, allows Aeroflow to capture documentation, physician signatures and other order-related information using a cloud-based solution. “We are always looking for additional avenues that ease the process for our partners and provide higher quality patient care," said Amanda Baethke, strategic partnerships manager at Aeroflow Healthcare. "Their system links to all the major EHR platforms in our area, and provides an easy way for physicians to prescribe to us directly.”eOrdersPlus eliminates multiple phone calls, duplicate faxes and time-consuming data entry, creating a better experience from start to finish, Aeroflow says.

ResMed study results published in CHEST

SAN DIEGO – Patient engagement apps significantly improve adherence to CPAP therapy, according to a ResMed study now published in CHEST. Patients whose nightly use was remotely and self-monitored via ResMed’s Airview and myAir platforms were more than 87% adherent on therapy, compared to 70% of those only remotely monitored, according to the study. “CHEST’s publication is a significant call for clinicians to recommend self-monitoring tools for PAP patients,” said Carlos Nunez, M.D., ResMed’s chief medical officer. “I also believe these tools could help patients on therapies beyond sleep as well, since half of all patients don’t take their medications as prescribed.” ResMed has billed the study, first presented at the CHEST 2016 conference in Los Angeles, as the world’s largest to look at sleep apnea and self-monitoring, with 128,000 patients participating.

Toyota challenge to benefit people with lower-limb paralysis

LOS ANGELES – The Toyota Mobility Foundation, in partnership with Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, has launched a $4 million global challenge to change the lives of people with lower-limb paralysis, culminating with the unveiling of winners in Tokyo in 2020. The challenge seeks teams around the world to create game-changing technology that will help radically improve the mobility and independence of paralyzed people. Technology could include anything from exoskeletons, to artificial intelligence and machine learning, to cloud computing. A panel of expert judges will pick five finalists who will each receive $500,000 to take their concepts from an intelligent insight to a prototype. The winner will receive $1 million to help get their product to market. Among the ambassadors supporting the challenge is Rory Cooper, director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh.

NSM names new CIO

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – National Seating & Mobility has named Mark Marschke its new CIO. The national complex rehab provider recruited Marschke from a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. He will oversee NSM’s technology strategies and solutions. Most recently, Marschke was CIO of Atlanta-based Larson-Juhl, which designs and makes picture frames. During his time at Larson-Juhl, he was a member of the Berkshire-Hathaway CIO Council.

PHM seeks to finalize restructuring

LAFAYETTE, La. – Patient Home Monitoring on Dec. 15 will ask security holders to vote on splitting the company in two. PHM will become a DME company specializing in delivering and servicing oxygen therapy, sleep apnea treatment and mobility equipment; and Viemed will become a respiratory company specializing in non-invasive vents for patients with COPD, CHF and neuromuscular conditions. PHM announced plans to split into two different companies last year. PHM’s board of directors has unanimously approved the arrangement and recommends that security holders also vote in favor of it. Shares of PHM will continue to be listed for trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange under PHM, and shares of Viemed will be listed under VMD.

BraunAbility names new leader

WINAMAC, Ind. – The board of directors of BraunAbility, a manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vehicles and lifts, has selected Staci Kroon as the company’s new president and CEO effective Nov. 27. She will also serve as the board’s director. The announcement follows the retirement of Nick Gutwein, who has led BraunAbility since 2008. Kroon comes to BraunAbility from Eaton Corp., a $20 billion global technology leader in power management solutions, where she was most recently executive vice president of Eaton Business Systems. Previously, she was president of Eaton’s automotive business in North America. Gutwein, who has elected to pursue his work in the ministry full time, will remain a member of BraunAbility’s board of directors.

RESNA updates position paper on pediatrics

ARLINGTON, Va. – RESNA has published an updated position paper on the application of power mobility devices for pediatric users. The goal of the paper is to share typical clinical applications, as well as provide evidence from literature, supporting the application of power mobility for young children and to assist practitioners in decision-making and justification. The paper, approved by RESNA’s board of directors on Nov. 2, has now been updated with more current and additional scientific literature. The paper, which was worked on by a working group of three or more experts and underwent a 30-day public comment period, is valid for five years.

AmerisourceBergen buys H.D. Smith

HME News - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 09:40
11/22/2017HME News Staff

VALLEY FORGE, Pa., and SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – AmerisourceBergen will purchase H.D. Smith for $815 million in cash, the two companies have announced.

H.D. Smith is among the largest wholesalers in the country, providing a full line of brand name, generic and specialty drugs from 10 distribution centers across the U.S.

“The acquisition of H. D. Smith strengthens our core business and expands and enhances our strategic scale in U.S. pharmaceutical distribution,” said Steven Collis, chairman, president and CEO of AmerisourceBergen, a provider of pharmaceutical products that generates more than $150 billion in annual revenues.

H. D. Smith subsidiaries Triplefin, a pharmaceutical brand support provider, and Arete Pharmacy Network, a pharmacy services administrative organization, are not part of the acquisition.

AmerisourceBergen plans to fund the acquisition through the issuance of new long-term debt.

The acquisition is expected to be slightly accretive to AmerisourceBergen’s adjusted diluted earnings per share in fiscal year 2018, and be about $0.15 accretive to adjusted EPS in fiscal year 2021.

For fiscal year 2018, AmerisourceBergen now expects revenue growth to be in the range of 8% to 11%, adjusted operating income growth to be in the range of 4% to 7%, and operating growth income for its Pharmaceutical Distribution Services segment to be in the range of 4% to 7%.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory review and other closing conditions, and is expected to close in early calendar 2018.

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