In The News

To Treat or Not to Treat Disease at the End of Life

Barbara Karnes

Dear Barbara, my friends are getting terrible diagnoses. The women I am seeing are way too young to die. How do they make the decision to throw everything at their disease in the form of treatments that offer the low odds they will survive and poor quality of living during the treatment time or to “make the best” of the time they have left with no treatment?

The uncomfortable truth is disease and dying have no age barrier, it happens when it happens. You are so right that the decision to treat or try to live your best life is monumental, and age does play a factor in those decisions.

I have no answer in the decision making---too many circumstances come into play for a one size fits all answer---but here are some things I would consider:

*Age: I’ll get some slack on this statement but anyone over 75 in my mind requires quality of life thinking. What is the quality of the living I have left compared to being VERY sick with treatment options for an undetermined amount of time, if not always? Are many months of response to treatment (and maybe for the rest of my life) worth the extra breaths? For some, it will be. For others, maybe not.

*Extent of disease progression: How advanced is the disease in its progress toward ending life? What is the prognosis for the end result of treatment? Is it simply to reduce the tumor size and limit further disease progression? Is the purpose of treatment to eliminate or simply control? Is it to offer an active, fulfilling lifestyle when treatments are finished? Does treatment bring about a cure and a return to a normal, active life or is treatment slowing the disease progression but not eliminating it?

*What happens if I say no to treatment options? A scary question to ask, but important when making a quality of living decision. No one can put a number on how long someone has to live. There are too many personal factors determining the breaths we take BUT guesstimates can be made in years and months…

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NIHCM Foundation COVID-19 Updates

The U.S. is entering the third summer of the pandemic, the sixth wave of COVID, and many people  are getting sick for the first time. Cases are six times higher than last summer, fortunately, hospitalizations remain in check. In addition, people are likely to get COVID multiple times. See the latest developments on the pandemic:

  • New Vaccine: The Food and Drug Administration met Tuesday and endorsed the Novavax shot. This vaccine was developed using decades-old technology and is an important option for those who are unable to take an mRNA vaccine.
  • Children’s Vaccinations: Kids are at risk of severe COVID outcomes and almost 90% of children hospitalized during the omicron wave were unvaccinated. Fortunately, the White House says COVID vaccination for kids under five could start in a few weeks.

Long COVID: CDC study suggests that more than one in five adult COVID survivors in the U.S. may develop long COVID. Many want to know whether they have long COVID and there are more than 200 symptoms of the condition.

 

Memory Loss and Brain Health Resources for Veterans and Caregivers

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. An entire section of www.va.gov/Geriatrics is devoted to Mental Health, Memory Loss and Brain Health information for Veterans, their families and caregivers:

To learn more visit www.va.gov/Geriatrics.

 

Free Homecare and Hospice June Webinars of Interest

Free Virtual Workshop - Rural Disability Hub for COVID-19 Vaccination Outreach

Tuesday, June 14, 2022, 11 am to 12 noon MDT

NACCHO is pleased to present a virtual workshop on the Rural Disability Hub for COVID-19 Vaccination Outreach for rural and frontier-serving local health departments and their partners in HRSA Region 8 (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah).

Facilitated by the University of Montana Rural Institute and special guest Jason Jones, presenters will discuss the importance of including disability in outreach efforts, examine challenges and solutions unique to rural communities, share relevant educational materials tailored for rural populations and people with disabilities, and review available funding for COVID and health outreach activities.

This meeting is free and open to all. Please register by June 13th, 2022.

Learn more about the Hub by visiting the website. You can also contact Andrew Myers ([email protected]), Project Director, with any questions.

 

Avoid Home Health and Hospice Conditions of Participation (CoP) deficiencies

Berry Dunn 2 Part Webinar Series

CoP Compliance Part 1: Overcoming Hospice Deficiencies
Thursday, June 23, 11:00 – 12:00 pm MT
Presenter: Carla Braveman RN, M.Ed., Senior Clinical Consultant, BerryDunn

CoP Compliance Part 2: Overcoming Home Health Deficiencies
Thursday, June 30, 11:00 – 12:00 pm MT
Presenter: Incy Muir, RN, MPA, NEA-BC, Accredited Provider Program Director, BerryDunn

Register For Free

 

Additional Documentation Requests: Avoid Panic and Mitigate Denials

Tuesday, June 28 at 12:00 MT

Now that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has resumed issuing Additional Documentation Requests (ADRs) after pushing pause during the public health emergency (PHE), it is important to ensure your agency can respond to ADR requests efficiently while decreasing your risk of denial or payment delays.

In this webinar, McBee experts Arrica Canty and Dee Geray will discuss the best approach to proactively plan and have processes in place that make the ADR process seamless to expedite payment or avoid repayment. Additionally, attendees will learn recent denial reasons, share best practices to prepare for ADRs, and how to tackle/manage denials.

Register For Free

 

The Case For and Against Home Care Provider-Medicare Advantage Relationships

Home Health Care News | By Andrew Donlan
 
Shifting health care payer trends have home-based care providers stuck between two battling business decisions: “adapt or die,” or sustainability.
 
Those two decisions may look like one in the same to outsiders, but for home care operators grappling with whether to engage with Medicare Advantage (MA), they sometimes posit providers on different sides of the aisle.
 
The tense relationship between the home health care industry and MA has been covered extensively on Home Health Care News. Providers are trying to fight back – as MA grows its market share among Medicare beneficiaries – against what they feel are unfair reimbursement rates from plans for home health services.
 
Conversely, we’ve often written about MA involvement as an opportunity in non-medical home care for providers in that industry. To some extent, it still is. Primarily health-related benefits and Special Supplemental Benefits for the Chronically Ill (SSBCI) offer a new revenue stream and client base for providers.
 
But not all home care agencies view MA as just another opportunity or revenue stream. After all, they deal with similar issues to the home health care world when it comes to working with MA: rates are meager and, additionally, the resources it takes to staff those cases is sometimes not worth the yield.
 
On the other hand, some providers think that engaging with MA now will be worth the return on investment down the line.
  
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