In The News

Prioritizing Mental Health Care In America

NIHCM Foundation

By the end of 2021, Americans found themselves in one of the worst nationwide mental health crises in years. Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience a mental illness each year, or more than 50 million people. Unfortunately, less than half of the people in need ever receive the mental health care they require. Due to physician burnout, a workforce shortage, and poor funding, this country has long struggled with handling the growing mental health crisis and providing equitable access to behavioral health care. The mental health system in America may be largely broken, but conditions are ideal for transforming the system with scientific advances, improved coverage, and political consensus on the importance of mental health. Goals once thought to be long out of reach may soon be possible.

This infographic highlights the many challenges contributing to America’s mental health crisis as well as steps to improve and strengthen mental health care and the behavioral health industry and promote individual resiliency. 

This infographic highlights the many challenges contributing to America’s mental health crisis as well as steps to improve and strengthen mental health care and the behavioral health industry and promote individual resiliency. 

The attached infographic highlights the many challenges contributing to America’s mental health crisis as well as steps to improve and strengthen mental health care and the behavioral health industry and promote individual resiliency.

See Infographic 

 

Home-Modification Bill Could Lead to Lower Costs, Partnerships for Home Care Providers

Home Health Care News

A bill allowing older adults to deduct home-modification expenses from their taxes was introduced in Washington, D.C. last week.

If passed, the Home Modification for Accessibility Act would provide a boost to aging-in-place efforts, perhaps spurring greater partnership between home care companies and home-modification businesses.

​​Already, home care industry leaders and home-modification stakeholders are heralding the bill as a major step forward.

“The preparation needed to make homes more safe and accessible include repairing uneven floor surfaces, adding brighter lighting, adding railings to stairs, widening doorways and raising countertops,” Scott Dingfield, director of communications for Right at Home, said in an email to Home Health Care News. “The Act will help these modifications to be less costly, and ultimately, make it easier for older adults to move around their home more safely.”

The bill would allow adults aging in place to offset the costs associated with making modifications to their homes through early retirement withdrawals and a lifetime tax deduction of up to $30,000.

“This also will have a tremendous impact on an older adult’s family members,” Dingfield said. “The more someone can live at home safely and with independence, the less time family members will spend worrying about mom or dad.”

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Home Health Providers’ Referral Acceptance Rate Has Decreased by 15%

Home Health Care News / By Joyce Famakinwa
 
Patients being discharged from hospitals and into the post-acute space, including to home health providers, tend to be higher acuity and more complex than in the past.
 
The findings are part of a new report from CarePort, a WellSky company. The report examines data from over 1,000 hospitals and 130,000 post-acute care providers and focuses on how the COVID-19 emergency has impacted care delivery.
 
In general, patients discharged to home health providers have more complex conditions than in 2019. As a result, there’s been an 11% increase in average comorbidity score. Some common comorbidities are congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, neurological disorders and diabetes.
 
“On average, higher acuity patients have a greater need for services post-discharge, adding increased complexity to getting that patient the care they need,” Dr. Lissy Hu, CEO and founder of CarePort, said in a press statement. “Giving providers the visibility and insight needed to provide the appropriate level of care post-discharge is critical to ensuring the best possible outcome.”
 
In recent years, some providers have positioned themselves to be able to take on higher acute and more complex patients.
 
Alivia Care — a provider of home health, hospice and palliative care services that operates across 32 counties in North Florida and Southeast Georgia — is one such company.
 
“We really wanted to be able to look at specific patient populations and what they needed that was different from the core components of service,” Susan Ponder-Stansel, CEO of Alivia Care, previously told Home Health Care News.
 
Other larger home health companies have done the same. LHC Group Inc. (Nasdaq: LHCG) has touted its own SNF-at-home capabilities, for instance. Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq: AMED) acquired Contessa Health, which specifically deals with higher-acuity patients in the home.
 
Aside from higher acuity patients being discharged to home health, the report also found that staffing shortages have been disruptive to the referral process. Despite a 33% increase in referrals per patient to home health providers, there’s been a 15% decrease in acceptance.

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‘That’s Just Part of Aging’: Long Covid Symptoms Are Often Overlooked in Seniors

Kaiser Health News

Nearly 18 months after getting covid-19 and spending weeks in the hospital, Terry Bell struggles with hanging up his shirts and pants after doing the laundry.

About ‘Navigating Aging’
Navigating Aging focuses on medical issues and advice associated with aging and end-of-life care, helping America’s 45 million seniors and their families navigate the health care system.

To contact Judith Graham with a question or comment, click here.

Lifting his clothes, raising his arms, arranging items in his closet leave Bell short of breath and often trigger severe fatigue. He walks with a cane, only short distances. He’s 50 pounds lighter than when the virus struck.

Bell, 70, is among millions of older adults who have grappled with long covid — a population that has received little attention even though research suggests seniors are more likely to develop the poorly understood condition than younger or middle-aged adults.

Long covid refers to ongoing or new health problems that occur at least four weeks after a covid infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Much about the condition is baffling: There is no diagnostic test to confirm it, no standard definition of the ailment, and no way to predict who will be affected. Common symptoms, which can last months or years, include fatigue, shortness of breath, an elevated heart rate, muscle and joint pain, sleep disruptions, and problems with attention, concentration, language, and memory — a set of difficulties known as brain fog.

Ongoing inflammation or a dysfunctional immune response may be responsible, along with reservoirs of the virus that remain in the body, small blood clots, or residual damage to the heart, lungs, vascular system, brain, kidneys, or other organs.

Only now is the impact on older adults beginning to be documented. In the largest study of its kind, published recently in the journal BMJ, researchers estimated that 32% of older adults in the U.S. who survived covid infections had symptoms of long covid up to four months after infection — more than double the 14% rate an earlier study found in adults ages 18 to 64. (Other studies suggest symptoms can last much longer, for a year or more.)

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White House Prepares to Ration Vaccines as Covid Funding Impasse Looms

A painful and foreboding reality is setting in for the White House as it enters a potentially dangerous stretch of the Covid fight: It may soon need to run its sprawling pandemic response on a shoestring budget.

Just two months after the administration unveiled a nearly 100-page roadmap out of the crisis, doubts are growing about Congress’ willingness to fund the nation’s fight. It has forced Biden officials to debate deep cuts to their Covid operation and game out ways to keep the federal effort afloat on a month-by-month basis.

Read more @ Politico

 
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