As Readmissions Become Costly, Transitions of Care Become More Important

As Joan Staley stood on the stage at the Intercontinental Hotel in Addison Thursday, a photo popped up on the screen behind her. The caption read “The Healthcare Environment, Late 20th and Early 21st Century.” Instead of the usual waiting room photos of flowers and fields, the backdrop was a massive lightning storm: dark, purple clouds, green streaks of light, a funnel cloud off to the right. The Healthcare Environment, it seemed, had changed. Staley—the senior director of education policy for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing—had gathered with hundreds of other healthcare professionals to tackle the subject of just what to… Full Story

Texas Health Resources To Open New Center Focused on Population Health

Texas Health Resources unveiled plans this week for the Texas Health Population Health, Education & Innovation Center, appointing Tricia Nguyen, M.D., as the center’s president. The center will serve as a hub for sharing best practices, disseminating information about innovative approaches, leading physician-directed population health initiatives, and coordinating community-based well-being collaboration. “Texas Health is the vanguard of improving well-being and implementing physician-directed population health initiatives,” said THR CEO Douglas Hawthorne. “We are leading the way in advancing from the old world of episodic, fee-for-service health care to the new world of accountable care and a value-based model of health care.… Full Story

Study: Texas Is America’s Worst State for Nursing Home Care

Texas was the only state to score failing grades in six of eight statistical categories studied by Families for Better Care, a Florida-based nursing home resident advocacy group, for its first annual Nursing Home Report Cards study. The report, released earlier this month, found that fewer than 15 percent of Texas nursing homes staffed at above-average professional nursing levels, while almost 70 percent hired at or below the minimum number of caregivers required to meet residents’ needs. When compared to every other state, Texas has the lowest percentage of nursing homes with above average direct care staff ratings. “Texas epitomizes what’s dreadfully wrong… Full Story

Hospice Care Providers Will Get Raise, Mandate to Report Quality Measures

As hospitals and physicians are being pushed away from fee-for-service models and the industry faces an aging baby boomer population, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said last week that hospice care providers will receive a 1 percent raise and a mandate to report quality measures. Those who fail to meet reporting requirements by Oct. 1 will receive a 2 percent reduction to their market basket update in FY 2014. Hospices will also be required to begin using the Hospice Experience of Care Survey in 2015. “The survey will include questions on hospice provider communications with patients and families, hospice… Full Story

Telehealth Drives Efficiency, Lower Readmissions for Dallas Home Health Company

Since 2006, Dallas-based CareCycle Solutions has been quietly working on the daunting problem of hospital readmissions. And the home healthcare company may well have cracked the code. Although the 30-day readmission rate for Medicare patients nationwide is about 19 percent, CCS’s clocks in at 7.3 percent. The difference? Telehealth. And the company traditionally has not been paid a dime to provide it. “Telehealth creates its own efficiencies,” said CEO Wayne Bazzle. “That makes it fully affordable.” When the company began providing telehealth in 2006, less than 30 percent of its patients were chronically ill. Now 85 percent of its clients fit that… Full Story

Dallas-based Caddis Partners Launches Senior Living Brand

Caddis Partners, a Dallas-based healthcare real estate development firm, has announced the launch of its senior living brand, Heartis, which will be develop its first location in Cleburne. “Our goal is to create a distinctive, unique brand that people will associate with the high-quality, high-value assisted living services and amenities that we will provide in our developments,” said Caddis Partners CEO and Partner Jason L. Signor in a statement. Heartis, which got its name playing off the saying, “Home is where the heart is,” will be developed and owned by affiliates of Caddis Partners, with management being provided by Eugene,… Full Story

Carrollton-based Cantex Has Aggressive Expansion Plans

Carrollton-based Cantex Continuing Care Network has been able to thrive despite 2011 Medicare reimbursement cuts by continuing relentless expansion and tightening its belt. The post-acute care provider has 24 nursing and rehabilitation facilities in Texas, half of which are in North Texas. It plans to break ground on a Flower Mound facility this month and owns land in Plano for future expansion. It has long-range plans for four additional facilities in DFW. The resort-style settings are named after famous hotels such as the Carlyle or San Remo. The company, which began in 1978, began to expand aggressively in 2005 by… Full Story

Morning Rounds (02.26.13)

Each year Truven Health Analytics finds the Top 100 Hospitals in the nation. This year, one North Texas hospital made the list in the Small Community Hospital category.

Health information technology can be a boon or a bane for addressing health-care disparities, according to a new report by four not-for-profit consumer and minority rights organizations.

A study of southern California nursing homes found a drug-resistant and potentially deadly skin infection in 20 out of 22 facilities tested.

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MRSA Pervasive in Nursing Homes, Study Finds

A study of southern California nursing homes found a drug-resistant and potentially deadly skin infection in 20 out of 22 facilities tested. The findings point to the need for more attention to the spread of drug-resistant infections, such as community-associated strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Community-associated strains begin in settings other than hospitals or other health care facilities. The strain of MRSA can lead to bloodstream infections, abscesses and pneumonia, and those in nursing homes are especially vulnerable, researchers said.

Dallas-based Encompass Home Health Picked for CMS Bundled Payment Pilot

Dallas-based Encompass Home Health is among the more than 400 U.S. healthcare organizations participating in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) announced last week. Encompass plans to test the initiative in Dallas-Fort Worth, where it has 12 locations and about 2500 patients. The company provides home health care, hospice and continuous pediatric care. It has 118 locations in 12 states and had about $300 million in revenue in 2012. The initiative, originated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), seeks to test whether bundling payments for episodes of care can improve coordination of… Full Story