In The News

One Year of President Carter Lighting the Way

NHPCO Hospice Action Network

One year ago, former President Jimmy Carter made history by making the courageous choice to share that he was entering hospice care. The Carter family is proving what many of us already know to be true: hospice provides value at any length of stay . By sharing President Carter's end-of-life journey, conversations are being sparked across the nation about palliative and hospice care. To commemorate President Carter's one year in hospice care, we wanted to share the following facts and resources:

President Carter's Hospice Journey Facts:

• President Carter is the first former US president known to utilize hospice care.
• The Carter administration tested hospice care as a model, which led to the Medicare Hospice Benefit we know today.
• The average Length of Stay for Medicare hospice patients in 2021 was 92 days, and the median was 17.
• President Carter is receiving the same hospice care that is available to all Americans under the Medicare Hospice Benefit.

President Carter's Hospice Journey Resources:

• Video commemorating President Carter's courageous choice

• New York Times story on President Carter's one year in hospice. Ben Marcantonio, NHPCO's COO and Interim CEO, quoted.

• Axios article on how President Carter's story is making the public more aware of the truths of hospice care. Logan Hoover, Executive Director of HAN, quoted.

Thank you, President Carter for lighting the way for all of us.

 

Research Overwhelmingly Points to Benefits of Smart Home Health Technology

McKnight’s Home Care | By Adam Healy

A growing body of research has indicated that smart home health technology provides a wealth of benefits for home care patients and older adults aging in place.
 
In a literature review published by BMC Geriatrics, researchers analyzed 163 studies conducted between 2000 and 2021 concerning the use of smart home health technologies. These technologies included tools to monitor patients’ physiological well-being or functional status, safety and security technology; tools that facilitate social interaction; and other instruments like home reminder systems or medication management devices.
 
The most common benefit associated with smart home health technology was that they effectively helped clinicians and caregivers continuously monitor patients, which “makes caregiving simpler, more efficient, holistic or of higher quality,” according to the study published Wednesday. And at the same time, patients using these tools tended to feel greater confidence and peace of mind as a result of being monitored.
 
Smart home health technology was also effective at reducing seniors’ loneliness, which has been shown to lead to worse health outcomes. Such tools, the researchers said, promote self-care and adherence to clinically-prescribed medication, exercise or diets. Furthermore, many studies indicated smart home health technology’s ability to prevent emergencies such as falls, as well as enable earlier responses when emergencies do occur...

Read Full Article 
 
Despite these benefits, barriers limited many older adults from using these technologies most effectively. Of the 163 studies analyzed, 110 found that smart home health technology was not intuitive or hard to use. Some older adults were hesitant to use robotic devices in the home, and technical issues such as battery life, internet connectivity, password systems and incompatibilities with existing home medical devices prevented many from being used successfully.

 

SBA Announces PPP Loan Forgiveness 

NAHC Report

Earlier this month, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced an important deadline extension for certain Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers that could impact many entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Specifically, the SBA has set a new March 3, 2024 deadline for defaulted (PPP) borrowers with loans under $100,000 to apply for forgiveness. The new application deadline reflects a 60-day goodwill exception period dating back to January 1 to allow borrowers more time to get in good standing with the SBA. After this period, borrowers may incur non-forgivable fines, fees and be subject to other collection measures. 

NAHC has been contacted by the SBA to communicate the latest developments regarding these COVID relief programs. The SBA urges home health, home care and hospice providers to apply for PPP loan forgiveness or verify that their loans have already been forgiven through SBA before the March 3rd deadline. The SBAhas seen especially high rates of outstanding defaulted loans among home health care and hospice borrowers.   

If you are not sure about the status of your PPP loan, check here

The goal for the SBA is to help small businesses restore their good standing, improve credit scores, and remain eligible for future financial assistance.

Borrowers with defaulted PPP loans who have not applied for forgiveness by March 3rd, 2024 may accrue non-forgivable interest and fees or face other collection efforts. 

  • Apply for Forgiveness Today: The SBA urges PPP borrowers to apply for loan forgiveness without delay.  
    • Qualified borrowers with loans $150,000 and below can apply for forgiveness directly with our Direct Forgiveness portal, which takes most borrowers less than 15 minutes. Others should work with their lenders or contact SBA directly. 
    • Borrowers who need additional assistance can contact SBA at our dedicated forgiveness call center: 877-552-2692. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET. 
  • Additional costs for delinquent borrowers: Any borrowers who have not applied to have their PPP loan forgiven by March 4th may face additional non-forgivable fines, fees and other collection efforts.  
 

Credit for Caring Introduced in Both Houses of Congress

NAHC Report

A bipartisan coalition of U.S. Senators and Representatives has reintroduced the Credit for Caring Act (S. 3702, H.R. 7165), a bill intended to bolster support for family caregivers nationwide. Spearheaded by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WVA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), alongside Representatives Linda Sánchez (D-CA-38) and Mike Carey (R-OH-15), this legislation targets the daunting financial challenges confronting millions of family caregivers.

Family caregivers are unsung heroes, balancing work and family responsibilities while providing essential care to their loved ones. Often, this commitment comes at a significant personal cost, both emotionally and financially. Recognizing this, the Credit for Caring Act proposes a federal tax credit of up to $5,000 for eligible working family caregivers.

Senator Bennet emphasized the critical role caregivers play in the lives of their loved ones and the need for Congress to support them financially. Senator Capito, drawing from her personal experience caring for her parents, highlighted the emotional and financial toll caregiving can take, underscoring the importance of this bill in easing caregivers’ burdens.

With over 48 million caregivers in the United States, the need for support is undeniable. The Credit for Caring Act aims to assist caregivers by covering out-of-pocket expenses such as home care, adult day care, and transportation. By providing a nonrefundable tax credit adjusted for inflation, the bill seeks to ease the financial strain on caregivers, allowing them to focus more on providing care and less on financial concerns.

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) supports the Credit for Caring Act and looks forward to working with partnering stakeholders on its legislative success. The bill received significant consideration in the previous Congress but did not move forward due to cost concerns.  

We thank the bill’s sponsors for their advocacy on behalf of America’s overburdened caregivers and the people who rely on them.

 

Dementia Care Costs Lowest for Patients Living in Home Care Settings, Study Finds

McKnight’s Home Care / By Adam Healy
 
When it comes to long-term care for patients with dementia, staying home may be the least expensive option, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.
 
Comparing data from more than 4,500 respondents aged 70 years and older, the researchers found that the median monthly out-of-pocket cost of long-term dementia care was only about $260 for those living at home and in their communities. Meanwhile, nursing home residents incurred about $1,465 in out-of-pocket care costs each month, and people living in other kinds of residential facilities — group homes, assisted living facilities or retirement communities — generally spent about $2,925 per month, according to the study.
 
Community-dwelling people with dementia also receive a lot of support from unpaid caregivers, the study found. People living in their community generally received the most unpaid help from caregivers compared to those living in nursing homes or other residential care facilities. About a quarter of individuals living at home or in their community received at least 200 hours of help from unpaid caregivers each month.
 
The researchers called for enhanced support for services that keep people out of residential care facilities, where the long-term costs of dementia care are highest. They also called for expansions of services such as the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, which has been proven effective in keeping many nursing home-eligible people at home and in their communities. 
 
“Given the costs associated with residential care facilities like nursing homes and assisted living centers, increasing funding for home- and community-based care is a promising way to reduce the financial burden that long-term care places on older adults, particularly those with dementia,” study authors Jalayne Arias and Jing Li said in a statement.
 
Still, regardless of their setting of care, people with dementia tend to experience far higher long-term care costs compared to individuals without dementia, given “intensive needs for functional help and the length of the disease course.”
 
“Because dementia is such an expensive illness, it really is in a category of its own when we start to think about funding for long-term care,” said senior author Jalayne Arias, associate professor in the GSU School of Public Health. “If you compare people with dementia to their age-matched counterparts, they experience costs that are untenable to manage.”

 
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