Home Health & Hospice

Weekly Roundup

Homecare Insider, January 25, 2016

Study: Physicians opt for less aggressive care before death

Physicians tend to get less aggressive care before death than the average person, according to a research letter published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

The researchers used Medicare death records to compare the intensity of end-of-life care received by physicians and the general U.S. population. The researchers compared 2,396 physicians and 665,579 members of the general population in four states, all of whom were at least 66 years old and died in 2004 or 2005. The researchers analyzed the services each group received in the last six months of life, including surgery, hospice care, intensive care, and whether the person died in a hospital.

Physicians were more likely to receive hospice care and to use less costly care before death, according to the study. About 28% of physicians died in a hospital, compared to 32% of the general population. About 25% of physicians had surgery in the last six months of life, compared to about 27% of the general public. And about 26% of doctors were admitted to the ICU in the last months of life, versus about 28% of the general population.

Source: Reuters

Research sheds light on LTC, homecare referrals 

Some hospitals appear to be using post-acute care as a substitute for inpatient care, potentially leading to premature discharges and higher readmission rates, according to a study published in Medical Care. Surgeons and hospitals have almost no guidelines to determine the best post-acute care services for their patients—and better recommendations could help reduce some of the variation in how the services are used and the costs associated with them, the researchers stated.

The study analyzed data derived from Medicare claims for more than 112,000 patients at 217 hospitals across 39 states, as well as American Hospital Association annual surveys and a national surgery registry. The number of patents individual that hospitals refer to inpatient facilities, varied widely, from 3% to 40%.
Providers that most often referred patients to inpatient care had a likelihood of 24% for readmissions, compared to 21% for those who referred them least often. The study found no corresponding association for referrals to homecare.

Source: FierceHealthcare, Medical Care 

Homecare workers sue for unpaid overtime

A Louisiana home care worker is suing over unpaid overtime wages she and more than 50 employees are allegedly owed. The class-action lawsuit was filed by Veronica Marie Castex in an effort to recover unpaid wages from Total Homecare Services, LLC and Bedside Homecare, LLC, of Lafayette, Louisiana.

The lawsuit alleges that Castex, who was hired by Total Homecare Services and Bedside Homecare in 2012 as a direct service worker, worked an average of 52 hours per week. She was paid straight time at the rate of $7.25 per hour for the 52 hours of work and was not paid overtime as required by the Fair Standards Labor Act (FSLA), according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed January 7 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette Division, further alleges that at least 50 other employees have not been paid overtime for the hours they worked.

Source: Louisiana Record.com

Complimentary white paper!

According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, a hospice should deliver systematic orientation, training, and competency evaluations to all new employees and volunteers before they assume responsibility at the organization. To drive these efforts, HCPro has created the Hospice Orientation for the Interdisciplinary Team White Paper, a training compendium that helps new care staff navigate the core philosophies and practices that shape a quality hospice program. Based on the expert-vetted education in HCPro’s Hospice Orientation for the Interdisciplinary Team training video, this complimentary white paper arms new hospice care professionals with knowledge on essential industry concepts and approaches from the start. Covered topics include:

• History and philosophy of hospice care
• Current utilization patterns
• Interdisciplinary team roles and responsibilities
• Medicare eligibility and payment requirements

To access your complimentary white paper today, visit www.hcpro.com/register/sEV329018. For even more orientation resources Check out the Hospice Orientation for the Interdisciplinary Team training video at www.hcmarketplace.com, call us at 800-650-6787, or email Mary Stevens at mstevens@hcpro.com.