In The News

Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Approved or Authorized in the United States

The CDC has updated the Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Approved or Authorized in the United States to indicate that the second dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may be given up to 8 weeks after the first dose.  

The rationale for this change is that "Some studies in adolescents (ages 12-17 years) and adults have shown the small risk of myocarditis associated with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines might be reduced and peak antibody responses and vaccine effectiveness may be increased with an interval longer than 4 weeks." They also say that "an 8-week interval may be optimal for some people ages 12 years and older, especially for males ages 12 to 39 years."

 A 3-week interval for Pfizer and a 4-week interval for Moderna continue to be recommended for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, adults ages 65 years and older, and others who need rapid protection due to increased concern about community transmission or risk of severe disease.


Referral Rejection Rate for Hospice Reaches ‘All-Time High’ of 41%

By Robert Holly | February 18, 2022

Skyrocketing demand for post-acute care services has put providers in a pickle, often forcing them to turn away new hospital referrals due to limited labor capability.

This problem has been particularly pervasive for home health agencies, but it’s increasingly an issue in the hospice setting as well, according to the latest data from CarePort, a WellSky company.

Because of this supply-and-demand imbalance, hospice providers are rejecting new referrals at record levels, with hospital patients in need of end-of-life care having to wait in the acute care setting about a day longer.

“I would say that the story we are seeing across post-acute providers – skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), home health care and hospice – is very similar,” Tom Martin, director of post-acute care analytics at CarePort, told Hospice News. “I might just boil it down to: We are seeing very high demand for post-acute services. And we are now experiencing sort of this supply shortage of available post-acute beds and staff to care for people.”

On the demand side of the equation, referral volume for CarePort’s hospice clients reached 113% of pre-pandemic levels in January, after hitting 118% of pre-COVID levels at the end of last year.

In actuality, the only time CarePort’s hospice providers saw lower-than-normal volumes was in the spring of 2020. That didn’t last long, however, with home health agencies also experiencing a V-shaped volume recovery.

Due to rising demand and clinician burnout, hospice operators haven’t always been in a position to “say yes” to new referrals from the acute care setting.

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HCAOA Highlights 6 Key Policy Priorities for the Home Care Industry

Home Health Care News / By Joyce Famakinwa
Policy and regulations for home care haven’t kept pace with the growing demand for services and the overall increased visibility of the sector.
For policymakers looking to address industry challenges and ultimately increase access to home care, there are six policy priorities that should be considered, a new report released Wednesday by the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) suggests.
“With the growth of the Medicare population projected to double from 40 to 80 million adults by 2040, addressing the shortfalls in care for older Americans must begin now,” Vicki Hoak, CEO of HCAOA, said in a statement.
Indeed, there are demographic shifts in the U.S. that point to the increasing need for more senior care services. Roughly 81 million people in the U.S. will be 65 years older by 2040, compared with 77 million under the age of 18.
Plus, an individual turning 65 today has nearly a 70% likelihood of needing long-term care and support, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
In terms of the type of care seniors prefer, services that allow them to age in place for as long as possible are overwhelmingly popular.
In order to strengthen the home care sector and, in turn, fulfill the increasing demand for care, HCAOA urges policymakers to prioritize the establishment of an industry-coordinated set of standards at both the federal and state level. 
“Without standards on caregiver training, inconsistencies in types, levels and quality of service may hamper the ability of the industry to define itself as a trusted and sought-after service provider,” HCAOA wrote in the report. “This has implications for the safety of home care clients as well.”. . .

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Home Care Therapy Workshop

Thursday, February 24, 2022 | 12:45pm - 4:00pm MT

This special 1/2-day workshop is designed for therapists (PT/PTA, OT/OTA) providing care in the home-based setting.  Administrators, Clinical Directors/Supervisors and QA staff will also find the content relevant and valuable.  3.0 hours of Continuing Education for Therapists will be available for PTs, PTAs, OTs and OTAs. 

As part of HHAC's participation in the southwest education collaboration, Colorado therapists and therapy assistants have the opportunity to register for the Arizona Association's Home Care Therapy Workshop at member pricing: $75/individual or $375 for full-organization access.

The event will be live streamed on Thursday, February 24, 2022 from 12:45 - 4:00 p.m. and recorded for on-demand playback.

Click here for more information & to register!


Report: 26% of Older Adults Put Off Care Due to Cost

Home Care Magazine | Tuesday, February 15, 2022

NEW YORK (February 15, 2022)—As part of an initiative funded by The John A. Hartford Foundation, FAIR Health conducted a nationwide study comprising two surveys geared toward older patients (adults 65 and older) and family caregivers/care partners. The surveys revealed critical insights into the needs of older adults and their caregivers/care partners concerning health care navigation and decision making. The survey findings have been published in FAIR Health's new white paper, “Healthcare Navigation and Decision Making: Perspectives of Adults Aged 65 and Older and Family Caregivers.”

Key Findings

FAIR Health conducted two separate surveys: one with older adults aged 65 and older and one with family caregivers/care partners aged 18 and older. The surveys, conducted in collaboration with ENGINE Insights, were fielded in November 2021 and reached 1,005 older patients and 507 caregivers/care partners. Each survey asked respondents about the importance of health care costs to decision making, attitudes toward shared decision making, barriers to informed decision making and health care navigation, and navigation of the health care system and needs for resources and tools. Analysis of the results revealed the following:

  • One in four older adults (aged 65 and older) never know the costs of health care services before getting a bill. Although 32% of older adults reported that they "sometimes" know the costs of health care services before receiving their bill, 25% of older adults reported that they "never" know costs of health care services before receiving their bills, while 21% reported that knowing their health care costs in advance depended on whether the care was given by health care providers in their health plan networks or those not in their health plan's network.

  • A significant proportion of older adults consider health care costs to be an important factor when making health care decisions; more than a third have difficulty getting such cost information. Thirty-seven% of older adults felt that health care costs are an "important" factor when making health care decisions, while 22% felt that it was the "most important" factor when making health care decisions. Sixteen% of older adults reported that health care costs were "a thought" when making a health care decision, while 24% reported that they do not think about out-of-pocket cost when making a health care decision. However, 35% reported that they found getting information about their health care costs to be "somewhat hard" or "very hard."

  • While a significant proportion of family caregivers/care partners consider costs to be an important factor in making decisions about the person for whom they provide care (their care receiver), most do not discuss costs with health care providers. Sixty-four% of caregiver respondents felt that health care costs should be "important" (34%) or "most important" (30%) to their care receivers' health care providers and/or teams. Twenty-four percent of caregiver respondents reported that they did not want the health care provider to think about out-of-pocket costs in decisions about their care receiver's care. However, only 42% reported that they discussed those costs with their care receivers' health care providers and/or teams. Among the subset of caregiver respondents who reported that they do not discuss costs with their care receivers' health care providers and/or teams, 64% would not like to engage in such discussions.

  • Despite a strong interest in having shared decision-making discussions, just under a third of older patients do not have such conversations with their health care providers and/or health care teams. Forty-five percent of older adults are "interested" or "very interested" in having shared decision-making discussions with their health care providers and/or health care teams. Moreover, 41% reported that they "always" or "often" take part in such discussions with health care providers. However, 29% reported that they have "never" engaged in shared decision making with their health care providers. . . 

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