Articles Posted in Home Care

A new report by Time Magazine shines a harsh light on the hospice care industry in America – reporting that 21 percent of hospices, accounting for more than 84,000 patients, failed to provide critical care to patients in 2015.  The report, which includes vivid and heartbreaking stories, points towards a largely unregulated industry that received almost $16 billion in federal Medicare dollars last year.

sick-man-nursing-home-300x200Hospice is provided to Medicaid patients if they are expected to pass away within six months. Starting in the 1970s, hospice care focuses on relieving the symptoms of a patient and providing “comfort care.” The use of hospice care has become increasingly popular in the last couple decades.  According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, enrollment in hospice care has more than doubled since 2000.

While most Americans think of hospice as a location, the reality is that most Americans utilize hospice care so they can pass away in their own home. With 86 percent of Americans saying they want to die at home, the trend is unlikely to reverse anytime soon, either.

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gavel-bed-300x199Home care agencies in New York and across the country are routinely denying chronically ill patients access to their services, according to a report by Kaiser Health News and NPR. In many instances, the home care agency will falsely state that Medicare does not cover home care for chronic illnesses.  in order to find out why, the NPR report dug a little deeper.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the government agency responsible for the healthcare programs, Medicare is required to pay for home health care if two conditions are satisfied. First, it must be ordered by the doctor. Second, the patient must have “great difficulty” leaving their home. If these two conditions are satisfied, then federal law requires Medicaid to cover home health care expenses indefinitely and without charging a copayment or deductible to the sick patient.   Continue reading

A recent study by Health Affairs shows that elderly Americans enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans are more likely to end up at a lower-quality nursing home or assisted living facility, compared to senior citizens with traditional Medicare coverage.

elderly-couple-300x264A Medicare Advantage health insurance plan is an increasingly popular alternative to traditional Medicare plans. A Medicare Advantage plan is a health insurance plan that is run by a private health insurance company, and these types of plans “must offer coverage that is comparable to original Medicare parts A and B,” according to U.S. News World & Report. In forgoing the traditional Medicare plan, elderly Americans who choose a Medicare Advantage plan may pay nothing more each month, or they may choose a pricier plan that has better coverage. Like other private health insurance plans, and unlike the pay-for-service system utilized by traditional Medicare plans, there can be deductibles, monthly premiums, and co-pays. Continue reading

In a case that could have far reaching consequences, a group of New York’s home care workers are challenging a state policy providing only thirteen-hours of pay for home care workers performing a 24-hour shift. The Department of Labor previously created the so-called “thirteen-hour rule” for home care workers to ensure they were not being paid to sleep or eat, which it calculated to take up eight and three hours, respectively. According to the Department of Labor, if the worker does not receive time to sleep or eat then he or she should be paid for their time.

courthouse-300x208The home health care agency named in the suit, Human Care, argued that the Department of Labor’s policy should apply. According to Human Care’s attorneys, the conclusion that home health care workers should be paid twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week is absurd.
The group of home care workers disagree. According to their lawsuit, because they are obligated to stay by their client’s side for the full twenty-four hours then they are working for that entire time and deserve to be compensated. Continue reading

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