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MSFT Amalga Video for Hospitals and Health Systems

It Was One Year Ago Today … Updated for 2009

By Staff Reportersstk128477rke

Release of a new unified intelligence system allows enterprise health providers to unlock the power of all data from their existing IT systems.

REDMOND, Wash. — April 9, 2008

Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of Microsoft Amalga, the new unified intelligence system that allows hospital enterprises to unlock the power of all their data sitting in isolated clinical, financial and administrative solutions.

What it is – How it works

Amalga is part of the Microsoft Amalga Family of Health Enterprise Systems, a portfolio of enterprise-class health solutions that provides rich integration, giving clinicians and executive’s quick access to valuable, up-to-the-minute information across their health enterprise. Microsoft also announced the availability of the Amalga family of health enterprise products across Europe at conhIT 2008, a healthcare IT conference being held in Berlin this week (http://www.microsoft.com/emea/presscentre).

Health Vault

The patient compliment to Amalga is MSFT’s Health Vault initiative which helps consumers collect, store, and share critical patient health information, for free.

www.HealthVault.com

Assessment 2009

Video interview, by Matthew Holt, originally appeared on The Health Care Blog [THCB] on April 16th, 2009.

Link: http://www.thehealthcareblog.com/the_health_care_blog/2009/04/interview-microsoft-health-solutions-.html#comments

Conclusion

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How to Select a Nursing Home

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Checklist for Financial Planners

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The following will enable the financial planner to assist the client in choosing a nursing home.

The Checklist

1.   Review the client’s requirements. An assisted-living facility may suffice instead of a true nursing home, which is required by the frail and elderly needing daily medical care.

2.   Pick a location close to home and relatives. Frequent visits are crucial, not only to combat loneliness but also to ensure resident receives proper attention.

3.   Read inspection report (state survey). If the financial planner encounters difficulties in obtaining a current report, he or she should assume that the home has something to hide. Don’t expect perfection. Nursing homes provide a difficult service for difficult residents. If a home is unresponsive to inquiry regarding items in a report, assume a similar response to concerns about the quality of care being provided in the future.

4.   Tour the facility on an unannounced basis at different times on different days. Stroll through corridors and look and listen. Trust senses and instincts. Items to consider should include:

·         Appearance of residents’ rooms. Outward decor of facility can be misleading, so the planner should inspect the residents’ rooms. To what extent can the rooms be personalized? If rooms are shared, how are good roommate matches made?

·         Smells. High-quality homes have no lingering stench of urine or air freshener to cover up bad care and unusually high incidences of incontinence due to lack of attention by staff.

·         Safety hazards. Be especially aware of items in corridors that can be obstacles to those with unsteady gait and poor eyesight.

·         Sufficient staff members who are pleasant and respectful to residents. Are staff members responsive to residents’ needs? Are staff members warm in their interactions with all residents, even those requiring the heaviest supervision? Are aides helping residents with walking or exercise of their arms and legs?

·         Residents’ attitudes toward facility’s service. Talk with residents and staff to determine attitudes toward the facility’s service. Does the facility have a family counsel to provide it with input?

·         Grooming. A clear sign of neglect is failure to keep residents clean, well dressed, and well groomed.

·         Physical restraints. Nursing homes that have eliminated restraints also have improved quality of life and more social contact among residents. Ties, belts, vests, and high bed rails are an easy but unsatisfactory solution to managing residents. Count number of residents that are restrained; ask what percentage are restrained and why.

·         Food. Visit at meal time and sample the food to make sure it is palatable. The setting for meals should be attractive and pleasant, and food should be served at the proper temperature. Staff should be available to help residents who are not able to feed themselves. Review menus and determine the amount of concern for nutrition.

·         Activities. A wide variety of activities should be provided, and the participation level should be high. Bored residents in front of a television may be a sign of a home’s failure to stimulate its residents.

·         Dignity. Residents should be handled in ways that respect their dignity. For example, are residents properly clothed in public?

·         Bed sores. Bed sores are a sign of poor care. Review inspection reports and see if they are mentioned, or talk to residents or their families about this topic.

·         Special care units. Such units are often used as an expensive marketing device. The special care units may not be designed well and may indicate a lack of outdoor facilities.

5.   Review the facility’s policy on medical care. Will residents be seen by their personal doctors or by staff physicians? Does the home have good infection control and immunization plans? What sort of access to dentists and eye doctors is there?insurance-book9

6.   Perform financial analysis. The planner should gain a complete understanding of what the client’s and/or his or her family’s financial commitments are and how they will be met.

·         Determine the financial strength of the nursing home, particularly if client funds are to be advanced.

·         Consider a single lifetime payment in lieu of monthly rental payments.

·         Consider exclusions in contract. For example, nursing home insurance coverage should include loss of personal property and personal injury.

·         Determine what services the client will require, what is covered under the facility’s general fee, and what services are provided for an extra fee. Determine what the extra fee will be for each additional service that will be required. Family members should not agree to pay these charges because this could delay Medicaid funding.

·         Analyze pricing structure in general and what the pattern of increases in fees has been.

·         Determine residents’ rights in eviction proceedings for nonpayment of rent, in returning to nursing home after hospital stay, and in having Medicaid make payments on behalf of resident.

·         Determine residents’ rights to appeal decisions and what the appeal procedures are.

7.   Obtain and check references, including families of current residents, local hospitals, doctors, and government agencies, particularly the ombudsman at state departments for aging.

Assessment

What have we missed?

Conclusion

In any case, early planning is the key to supporting both your kids’ futures and your retirement. Making logical college funding decisions, rather than emotional ones, creates a win/win for everyone.

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On Baseline Medical Practice Compliance Audits

Establishing a Reference Point is Key to Success

Submitted by Pati Trites; MPA, CHBC with Staff Reporters 

www.HealthcareFinancials.comho-journal11

There are several types of compliance audits that a medical practice, clinic or healthcare organization might need to perform. The starting point is to obtain a baseline audit. The next step, discussed elsewhere on this ME-P, is periodic audits or reviews that are performed after information is obtained from the baseline audit.

Baseline Audits

Baseline audits are preliminary assessments to develop a reference point. Until a medical practice or healthcare organization establishes a track record with items such as coding accuracy or documentation to support medical necessity, it is difficult to determine any performance issues. In the spirit of Total Quality Management [TQM], the information that is shared should be done in a non-punitive manner to demonstrate that the intent of the process is to create a positive environment geared towards fixing the problems. A baseline audit can help any organization understand where the program is and establish a reference for future activities.

Assessment

Additional audits can also be performed whenever new employees are added, or if there are complaints, or issues that arise in the course of business.

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated? Have you ever discovered an untoward past event, or interesting prior fact, with your baseline audit?

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Defining and Understanding “Boutique Medicine”

What it is – How it Works

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By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA 

http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

According to colleague Robert James Cimasi of Health Capital Consultants LLC in St. Louis MO, concierge or boutique medical practices began in the mid-1970s, and are now in many major metropolitan areas. Concierge medicine is described as a “return to old-fashioned medicine,” where physicians limit their client base and devote more time to each patient. Patients can usually get in to see their physician within a day, and most have 24-hour access to their physician by beeper or cell phone.

The Doctor’s Perspective

Physicians who turn to concierge medicine are typically tired of not having enough time with their patients and dealing with overbooked caseloads, and are looking for a way of balancing their lives while still providing quality care for their patients. Patients who have physicians in this type of practice appreciate the “perks” they get for paying a yearly fee — similar to “annual membership dues.” These fees can range anywhere from $1,000 per year to $10,000 per year depending on the patient’s age, benefits received, area of the country, and practice.

Patient Amenities

Amenities vary by practice, but some include longer physician office visits, increased access to physicians, e-mailed “newsletters” or condition-specific information, physicians accompanying patients on visits to specialists, and house calls. In order to provide more attentive care and amenities to patients, physicians often decrease their patient load to approximately 10-25% of their managed care load. Thus, most of their patients must find other physicians, leading to potential increases in the patient load of managed care physicians.

Elitist Patients

Although concierge medicine may provide many benefits for patients (including more, and in some cases, nearly unlimited access to their physicians), it has been met with some scrutiny. Some say that this type of medicine is elitist, that it is available only to wealthy patients who can pay the annual fees. Medicare beneficiaries who are members of a concierge practice have received political attention, because many politicians have said that the annual fees patients pay is a lot more than the Medicare rate and thus is illegal billing.

dhimc-book23

Critics

Critics also emphasize that healthcare needs to be first-rate for everyone, something that the current managed care system prevents. The implication that managed care means second-class medicine has also been a fear cited by critics.

Assessment

However, concierge physicians portray their clients as mostly middle-income people who are willing to pay more for this kind of care. Concierge medicine is not a substitute for health insurance. Patients typically keep their traditional insurance to pay for any tests or scans ordered by the physician.

MORE: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2009/10/26/customer-relationship-management-and-the-nascent-concierge-medical-practice/

MORE: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2009/10/26/customer-relationship-management-and-the-nascent-concierge-medical-practice/

Conclusion

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Paradigm Shift to “Defined Health Contributions” from “Defined Health Benefits” Plans

What it is – How it Works

By Staff Reporters

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In the past, according to Robert James Cimasi MHA AVA CMP™ of Health Capital Consultants LLC in St. Louis MO, many employers had defined retirement benefits for employees. Today, most retirement benefits are in the form of 401K plans where companies make defined contributions, effectively shifting the financial risk of paying for retirement to employees.

Defined Health Contributions

Defined health contributions are similar to employer-funded defined retirement contributions like 401K plans. Currently, employers pay for some portion of about half of Americans’ health insurance. Traditional employer-funded plans are those for which the employee simply fills out a form; that is, an employer will offer one or possibly two health insurance plans, and the employee fills out application paperwork. The employer administers the plan and may charge the employee a portion of the monthly premium or pay the entire premium themselves. A defined contribution plan allows companies to shift the financial risk of paying for rising health insurance costs.

Defined Health Benefits

Although part of the “benefit” of a health benefit plan is that the employer also takes care of all the administrative paperwork related to the insurance, companies are increasingly uninvolved in the administration process, opting instead to let the employee decide which plan out of many choices suits them best. For example, if an employer typically spends about $5,000 per employee per year on health benefits, the employer would use that money as a “defined contribution.” The employee then has $5,000 to spend per year on benefits, but instead of using the employer-defined health plan, the employee may choose from a variety of HMOs, preferred provider organizations PPOs, or other health plans. If the insurance premiums rise above this amount, the employee must make up the difference.

dhimc-book24Defined Contribution Package

Many employers are currently offering a defined contribution package to their employees. The definition of “defined contributions,” however, can range from one in which employers are completely uninvolved in the administration of benefits and simply give their employees cash or vouchers for the amount contributed that they can use to buy coverage, to a more “defined choice model” where employers offer a variety of health options at differing price levels along with a premium dollar contribution, and a variety of other options in between.

Risk Shifting

Thus, defined contributions shift the financial risk from the employer to the employee. Defined care is not a replacement for managed care, but will probably cause managed care to adapt under these new systems. That is, HMOs, PPOs and other managed care plans still appear to be the main choices in a defined care environment, so they are in fact a part of the system.

Assessment

Another challenge with a defined health benefit program is that the concept of risk-pooling becomes more difficult. In traditional employer-sponsored plans, rates are usually based on the pool of employees; a chronically ill employee who tries to find insurance independently may face rates drastically higher than if they had participated in an employer-sponsored plan.

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Understanding the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act

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An Important and Contemporary Issue – Once Again

[By Patricia Trites; MPA, CHBC, CMP™ (Hon) with Staff Reporters]

tritesThe Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) is receiving increasing scrutiny from prosecutors during these times of financials stress and credit tightening. The statute is intended to ensure that all patients who come to the emergency department of a hospital receive care, regardless of their insurance or ability to pay. Both hospitals and physicians need to work together to ensure compliance with the provisions of this law.

Triad of Requirements

EMTALA imposes three fundamental requirements upon hospitals that participate in the Medicare program with regard to patients requesting emergency care.

First, the hospital must conduct an appropriate medical screening examination to determine if an emergency medical condition exists.

Second, if the hospital determines that an emergency medical condition exists, it must either provide the treatment necessary to stabilize the emergency medical condition or comply with the statute’s requirements to affect a proper transfer of a patient whose condition has not been stabilized. A hospital is considered to have met this second requirement if an individual refuses the hospital’s offer of additional examination or treatment, or refuses to consent to a transfer, after having been informed of the risks and benefits of treatment.

Third, EMTALA’s requirement is activated if an individual’s emergency medical condition has not been stabilized.

Hospital Transfers

A hospital may not transfer an individual with an unstable emergency medical condition unless:

(1) the individual or his or her representative makes a written request for transfer to another medical facility after being informed of the risk of transfer and the transferring hospital’s obligation under the statute to provide additional examination or treatment;

(2) a physician has signed a certification summarizing the medical risks and benefits of a transfer and certifying that, based upon the information available at the time of transfer, the medical benefits reasonably expected from the transfer outweigh the increased risks; or

(3) a qualified medical person signs the certification after the physician, in consultation with the qualified medical person, has made the determination that the benefits of transfer outweigh the increased risks, if a physician is not physically present when the transfer decision is made. The physician must later countersign the certification.dhimc-book21

On-Call Responsibilities

One area of particular concern is physician on-call responsibilities. Physician practices whose members serve as on-call hospital emergency room physicians are advised to familiarize themselves with the hospital’s policies regarding on-call physicians. This can be done by reviewing the medical staff bylaws or policies and procedures of the hospital that must define the responsibility of on-call physicians to respond to, examine, and treat patients with emergency medical conditions. Physicians should also be aware of the requirement that, when medically indicated, on-call physicians must generally come to the hospital to examine the patient. Patients may be sent to see the on-call physician at a hospital-owned contiguous or on-campus facility to conduct or complete the medical screening examination due to the following reasons:

  • all persons with the same medical condition are moved to this location;
  • there is a bona fide medical reason to move the patient;
  • qualified medical personnel accompany the patient; and
  • teaching physicians may participate.

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Conclusion

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