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In caring for sickest infants, doctors tap parents for tough calls

November 17th, 2015 | Posted in Advocacy Stories, Clinical Trends, Consumer Focus, Long-Term Care, Quality Care

By Jenny Gold / Kaiser Health News PALO ALTO, Calif. — Dr. William Benitz walked past the rows of clear plastic isolettes in the neonatal intensive care unit at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. There’s little room to navigate — the space is jam-packed with the beeping machines, ventilators and nurses, who can care forRead More

Proposed revisions to discharge planning requirements would mandate patient and caregiver involvement

November 17th, 2015 | Posted in Consumer Focus, Quality Care, Recent Posts | Tagged

  You have a chance to comment on CMS’ latest attempt to improve discharge planning at hospitals and help patients avoid unnecessary and costly readmissions. In what acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt promises is a “simple but key change,” CMS is proposing to modify discharge planning Conditions of Participation for hospitals and home health agencies,Read More

Seniors who don’t consider switching drug plans may face steep price rise

October 20th, 2015 | Posted in Consumer Focus, Insurance Coverage, Prescription Drug Coverage, Uncategorized

By Michelle Andrews  Kaiser Health News When Mildred Fine received the annual notice informing her about changes to her Medicare prescription drug plan for 2016, she was shocked. If she stayed with the same plan, her monthly premium would more than triple, from $33.90 to $121.10, and her annual deductible would rise from $320 toRead More

New tools designed to help cancer patients evaluate value of treatments

October 20th, 2015 | Posted in Consumer Focus, Patient Tools, Recent Posts

A variety of tools are now available or under development to help cancer patients and their caregivers evaluate available treatments, drug therapies and their associated costs. Some will be more explicit about costs while others focus more on health benefits. For instance, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) announced a new tool in mid-October designedRead More

Congress Overwhelmingly Approves Bill Bolstering Medicare Patients’ Hospital Rights

September 15th, 2015 | Posted in Insurance Coverage, Uncategorized

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation Monday night requiring hospitals across the nation to tell Medicare patients when they receive observation care but have not been admitted to the hospital. It’s a distinction that’s easy to miss until patients are hit with big medical bills after a short stay. The vote follows overwhelming approval inRead More

Keep the restraints to a minimum to keep your patient safe

August 18th, 2015 | Posted in Quality Care

Though restraint and seclusion may be required from a safety perspective, many in the health care industry believe the practice to be harmful to a patient’s well-being. Hospitals should instead focus on managing patients in such a way that restraints and seclusion rarely — if ever — need to be used, remarks Kevin Huckshorn, Ph.D,Read More

AARP report calls for more national support of family caregivers

July 22nd, 2015 | Posted in Consumer Focus

Family caregivers for adults in 2013 provided an estimated 37 billion hours of care, worth about $470 billion, but of course that was largely unpaid, according to a new report, “Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update,” published recently by the AARP Public Policy Institute. Without such family-provided care, the economic cost to the U.S. health careRead More