Wednesday, November 25, 2009

56% Re-hospitalizations rate Among Medicare Patients Cost $17.4 Billion (with a B)

There was a recent study published by about re-hospitalization of Medicare members that underscore the reason we started the Buddy Check Network.

This study of Medicare fee-for-service claims data for nearly 12 million Medicare beneficiaries discharged from a hospital in 2003 and 2004 found that one of five patients was readmitted within 30 days, and half of nonsurgical patients were re-hospitalized without having seen an outpatient doctor in follow-up.

The estimated cost of unplanned hospital readmissions in 2004 accounted for $17.4 billion of the $102.6 billion total hospital payments made by Medicare that same year.

To address the problem, the researchers recommend intervention at the time of discharge, reliable and prompt follow-up care by primary care physicians, and aggressive management of chronic illnesses.

This study focused on the enormous cost associated with re-hospitalizations but I have always been concerned with the effect on the quality of life issues. Family members have to get more involved in this because the study showed that half of the patients readmitted in the first 30 days did not receive any follow-up form their Doctor or medical provider.

Additional studies have shown that re-hospitalizations have been reduces by as much as 39% by instituting a basic follow-up program with the patients. This is something we can do on our own and not wait for Government efforts.

Please Read Complete Report and let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Text Message To Keep You Healthy

There ia a great article on ( ) blog about how text messaging is being used to help keep people healthy. This is something we have been focused on over the last few years. There is a report noted in the article: ( )
That outlines the problem.

Do you think this is effective? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Will we ever be able to share medical data easily?

There was a great article about this subject posted on the FierceHealth Blog. It relates an article about Dr. Mark Smith.

He laments about how reluctant many health care professionals are to adopt simple advances in data sharing that are available today and how out of date they are. He made the comment "You can walk into the hospital where you were born and the first thing they will ask you is, 'Are you on any medications? Do you have any conditions.'"

Great read.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Why Caregiver Support Is Needed.

The United States as a nation is getting older. The population aged 65 and over is expected to double in size within the next 25 years according the report “65+ in the United States:2005” published by the National Institute on Aging.

As the county’s population grows, and ages, there are likely to be greater numbers of older people living alone. The first baby boomers will turn 65 in 2011, and by 2030, almost 1 out of every 5 Americans, some 72 million people, will be 65 years or older. Who will help care for them?

Most that find themselves alone in later years are women; in fact, three-quarters of the 10.5 million older Americans living alone in 2003 were women. An alarming fact about this is that according to census reports older women were more likely than older men to be living in poverty (13 percent compared with 7 percent). Especially hard-hit are minority groups with older Blacks (24 percent) and older Hispanics (20 percent) reported to be living in poverty in 2003.

Add to this fact that many of the women in this aging population were themselves caregivers for husbands, and other family members. They now find themselves in the position of needing a little help. Having that role reversed is difficult to accept, especially when coupled with the desire of many older people to maintain their independence. For example there are nearly 17,000 households in Lancaster County in which a person older than 65 lives alone, according to census data.

Much of the care and support of seniors is lovingly being carried by the “Sandwich” group, those sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help and their own children. Yet this group needs help in maintaining their dual roles. Many are looking to social agencies for funding and technology for workable solutions to the growing problem.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Will Healthcare reform ever pass?

For many of us that are caregivers we are keenly affected by proposed legislation. I Found this interesting article on the subject which gives some insight into the issues involved and likelihood of passage this year. While not promoting this one way or the next I felt it contained some interesting comments.