They’ve Almost Got It Right


In late May, 2014, Democratic Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR) and Republican Congressman Tom Petri (WI) introduced a Bill called the Medicare Transitional Care Act of 201 (HR 4762). The summary of the bill, on congress.gov, reads:

Medicare Transitional Care Act of 2014 – Amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to cover transitional care services for qualified individuals provided by a transitional care clinician acting as an employee of a qualified transitional care entity, such as a hospital (or a critical care hospital), a home health agency, a primary care practice, a federally qualified health center or rural health clinic, a long-term care facility, a medical home, an appropriate community-based organization, an assisted living center, or an accountable care organization.

Dollar Signs

There is no question about the critical issue of transitions of care. This has been a major focus for much of the healthcare world for a number of years. Gerontology News for July, 2014, quotes an estimate of avoidable costs and unnecessary hospital readmissions resulting from poor care coordination during care transitions of $25-$45 billion per year.

I have talked about these issues before, including how critical care transitions are and the impact of care transitions on health care costs. I said then, and I still say it, until the concept of transitions of care includes all of the resources that can and should be applied, we will still miss the boat.

When I am discharged from the hospital to home, or from a physical rehab center to home, I am not going to be as able to care for myself, and to perform the Activities of Daily Living and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (ADLs and IADLs) as I was before whatever happened that caused me to be admitted in the first place. I will need help, transitioning back to home. Much of that help is non-clinical in nature, provided by a great non-clinical home care company – such as Support For Home! 🙂

Until the funding sources – CMS / Medicare being number one – get that point, we really are not going to save that$25-$45 billion of wasted money. Having the overall care transitions plan managed by and supervised by an appropriate clinician is great. Insisting that all services in transitions of care are provided by clinicians is worse than silly.

Best wishes. Bert

 

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