Family inHome Caregiving Blog
There have been mixed reviews on how effective health care reform will be at saving money. A report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services found that nearly half of the 114 hospitals and doctor groups that began Accountable Care Organizations (ACO's) in 2012 managed to slow their Medicare spending. ACO's are groups of doctors which form together to try and focus on preventative health care for Medicare patients. They receive bonuses based on a number of factors including what percentage of patients they are able to keep out of the hospital. The report said that only 29 of these organizations saved enough money to qualify for bonus payments under the new system. Although the number is small, the bonuses can be huge. These organizations get to split savings they achieve with Medicare and, in this instance, these 29 ACO's received a $126 million bonus while saving Medicare another $126 million. Hopefully the numbers are more promising in 2013.
There are so many confusing reports out in the press about how to stay healthy that it's hard to figure out what is real and what is just the latest fad. But one new study I do believe in which was published in the March issue of Atherosclerosis found that cutting salt by just half a teaspoon per day significantly improved blood-vessel function in overweight and obese individuals. This, in turn, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and the magnitude of the changes could shift a person from the high-risk category to the low risk category for heart attack and stroke. Now that's advice worth listening to.
I am happy to say that business is booming at Family inHome Caregiving! We have had a greater than anticipated influx of new Clients over the past two weeks, many of which have been referrals from past and current Clients. Our reputation for having the best caregivers in Monterey County is growing. We are currently looking for a handyman as well as qualified caregivers.
Family inHome Caregiving of Monterey is seeking compassionate, mature and dependable caregivers (Companion Aides) who want to improve the lives of our elderly Clients by providing in-home, non-medical care, particularly those seeking live-in positions or those who can work 24-hour shifts. Our services include:
Monitoring of safety while bathing
Information and referral services
Other services that improve the safety, security and quality of life of seniors.
If you believe you would make an exceptional Companion Aide, we would love to hear from you! We prefer those with experience helping the elderly, disabled and others with mobility problems. Having cared for those with dementia and/or Alzheimer's is a plus. To work for us, you must have excellent references, a clear criminal record, a good driving record, and an insured reliable vehicle. To apply, please visit our web site www.fhcofm.com, click on careers where you can fill out an application online. We have immediate openings all over Monterey County. Service areas include:
Aromas, Carmel, Carmel-by-the-sea, Carmel Highlands, Carmel Valley, Castroville, Corral de Tierra, Del Rey Oaks, Gilroy, Gonzales, Greenfield, Hollister, King City, Marina, Monterey, Morgan Hill, Moss Landing, Paicines, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Prunedale, Salinas, San Juan Bautista, Sand City, Seaside, Soledad And Tres Pinos
Both Democrats and Republicans confronted President Barack Obama on Wednesday and asked him to throw out a plan that would limit the types of antidepressants and other drugs that are available under Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. As part of a larger plan to cut Medicare and Social Security liabilities, the White House has proposed making a number of cuts to prescription benefits which has caused more than 200 patient-advocacy groups, insurers and health care providers to complain to Medicare. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services wants to end the protected status for six classes of drugs including antidepressants, cancer drugs and anti-seizure drugs which would mean higher costs for seniors and lower volume for pharmaceutical companies as many seniors couldn’t afford them. It's likely the Obama administration will back away from this plan given all of the backlash from the health industry and groups representing seniors.
There is good news out from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; drivers aged 70 and older are less likely to be involved in crashes than previous generations and are less likely to be killed or seriously injured if they do crash their cars. This is due to two major factors, according to the report. Vehicles are being manufactured with more rigid safety standards and seniors nowadays are more healthy than they were in the past. Traffic fatalities overall in the U.S. have declined to rates that we haven't seen since the 1940's and since 1997, older drivers have enjoyed bigger declines as measured by both fatal crash rates per drive and per vehicle miles driven when compared to middle aged drivers. I think that another contributing factor is that AARP, the CHP, the DMV and other organizations have put a lot of time and effort into making seniors more aware of safe driving factors. Kudos to them.
California Public Employee's Retirement System, or CalPERS, will step up the pace of contributions to the giant $283 billion pension fund to cover the cost of retirees who are living longer than expected. Although this is good news for retirees, cities, counties, school districts and other government agencies are being notified that their contribution rates will be hiked starting in 2016. This will put further stress on strapped cities and other agencies which use CalPERS for their pension administration. The board of CalPERS met and their assumption now is that retiring employees will live two years longer than previously assumed. Women retiring at age 55 in 2028, for example, are now expected to live to be 87. The state of California currently has $45 billion in long-term unfunded pension liabilities. I am glad this problem is going to be addressed. The shortfall was even more alarming before the stock market began to rebound. Underfunded pensions are a looming financial disaster which must be addressed.
La Casa Adult Day Health Care Center will be holding an open house from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. next Thursday at 909 Blanco Circle in Salinas. The center provides medical care to senior citizens and adults with chronic medical, cognitive or mental health conditions as well as those that are at risk of needing institutional care. They provide physical therapists, occupational and speech therapists, psychologists, nurses and social services. They also provide personal care, hot meals, nutritional counseling and transportation to and from the center. Services are paid for by Medi-Cal and the Veterans Administration or private pay if you are not qualified under these programs. For more information, call 222-6122 or go to their web site.
I wrote recently on my blog about a promising new scientific method of creating stem cells without using human embryos. Unfortunately, a Japanese government funded science institute said it has opened an investigation into the study after allegations of irregularities in images used in two papers published in the British Journal Nature. The new method of creating what are called STAP cells (Stimulus Triggered Acquisition Of Pluripotency). Charles Vacanti, a tissue engineer and co-author of two papers on the subject, told the Wall Street Journal, "They're pulling everything apart because they want to make sure it's all on the up and up. I believe, in discussing this with some of the co-authors, that this was a simple mistake. There is no intention of fraud and it has no impact on the conclusions of the research." I hope he is right because if this method works, it has wide ranging implications for potentially curing many diseases like Alzheimer's and cancer.
A lot of what has been in the news recently regarding advances in chronic disease treatment has revolved around personalized medicine, but advances are being made in other areas such as the treatment of diabetes and other chronic conditions which require injections. One scientist at a venture capital unit which is part of Google has invented something they are calling "robotic pills." They are made of ingestible polymer and tiny hollow needles made of sugar which deliver drugs to the small intestine after you swallow them. Although it hasn't yet been tested in humans, this could be a huge win for Google as just one of many major investments they have made in the health care industry. It's not just a search engine anymore.
It's bad enough that there have been a rash of stories about nursing home residents having their trust funds robbed by employees. Many of them have Alzheimer's disease and if there are no friends or relatives to watch over them, money can quickly disappear. But on top of that, two cybersecurity companies have now discovered documents on a public website which easily allows hackers to get into nursing home computers and steal electronic medical records and payment information. The site had the passwords to national firewalls run by nursing homes, doctor offices and hospitals. As health care reform rules force most medical facilities to go electronic, the risk of hacking will only increase.