Home Health & Hospice

Weekly roundup

Homecare Insider, May 16, 2016

A reminder: CMS wants your feedback

Kudos? Complaints? Questions? With potentially game-changing proposed rules for hospice and home health on the horizon, stakeholders’ feedback is more vital than ever. There is still time to comment on two key proposals:

  • CMS’ OASIS C2 data set, scheduled for implementation on January 1, 2017, which includes three new standardized items, changes to certain medication and integumentary items to standardize with other postacute care settings. Comments must be received before 5:00 p.m. on May 31.
  • CMS-1652-P, the proposed payment and policy rule for the Medicare hospice benefit for fiscal year 2017. Among other changes, this rule proposes new quality measures for the hospice quality reporting program. It also solicits feedback on a data collection instrument and describes plans to publicly display quality measures and other hospice data beginning in mid-2017. Comments must be received before 5:00 p.m. on June 20.

Comments can be sent to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for “Comment or Submission” or “More Search Options.”

Source: CMS

Study: Women earn less than men for the same homecare jobs

Even among homecare and hospice workers, whose pay is notoriously low, the gender gap still exists, according to a study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) released last month.

The institute analyzed Bureau of Labor and Statistics wage and occupation data for 2015.
Women make up more than 88% of workers in nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides; and more than 81% of personal care aides (PCAs). However, female nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides make only 87% of what their male counterparts earn—a median of $457 per week, compared to $526 for men, the study found. Women PCAs, meanwhile, earn a median weekly wage of just $441, while PCAs who are men make $537 per week.

The IWPR study also found that five of the top 20 most common jobs for women—including jobs in homecare—pay wages that are less than 100 percent of the poverty level for a family of four.
Women have the same median weekly earnings as men in only one of the occupations listed: bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, according to the study.

Source: IWPR 

PHI: More homecare funding and training are needed

In a statement last week recognizing Older Americans Month, the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) called on state and federal policymakers to allocate funding to improve training and compensation for America's direct-care workers, including homecare workers.

"Today's direct-care workers are undervalued and underpaid, making on average just $11.31 per hour in largely part-time jobs," stated PHI President Jodi M. Sturgeon. Higher wages, more training, and additional supports are necessary to attract the nursing assistants and homecare aides to ensure older Americans have the supportive services they need, in the setting of their choice, Sturgeon added.

Older Americans Month, which has been recognized by the federal government each year since 1963, presents an opportunity to raise awareness about important issues facing older adults, according to the website of the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

Source: PHI

EOL discussions aren’t common among Mass. patients, physicians

A recent survey found that most Massachusetts residents think patients should have end-of-life (EOL) care discussions with their physicians. However, these conversations happen far less often than one might expect, according to the statewide survey by the Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care.

The survey of a representative group of 1,851 Massachusetts residents was commissioned by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and conducted by the research firm SSRS and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, in Worcester, Massachusetts. Some of the survey findings include:

  • Eighty-five percent of Massachusetts residents believe physicians and their patients should talk about OEL care. However, only 15% have actually had such conversations.
  • Only 25% of respondents facing serious illness reported talking with their physician about EOL care.
  • 46% of respondents, including most men, people of color and those without college education, said they have not discussed their wishes for serious illness care with others.
  • 55% have not named a healthcare agent (or proxy) to make such decisions.

Source: Becker’s Hospital Review