In the News

Open Enrollment Began 10/15. Are You Ready for Open Enrollment? Prepare by Previewing 2023 Health and Drug Plans Now.

Medicare Open Enrollment runs from October 15 to December 7, 2022. During this time, people eligible for Medicare can compare 2023 coverage options on Medicare.gov. Medicare.gov provides clear, easy-to-use information, as well as an updated Medicare Plan Finder, to allow people to compare options for health and drug coverage, which may change from year to year.

Medicare Plan Finder was updated with the 2023 Medicare health and prescription drug plan information on Saturday, October 1, 2022 to allow people to begin previewing health and drug plans before the enrollment period opens on October 15. 1-800-MEDICARE is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide help in English and Spanish as well as language support in over 200 languages. People who want to keep their current Medicare coverage do not need to re-enroll.

To view options for health and drug coverage, please visit the Medicare Plan Finder on Medicare.gov.

 

CMS Seeking to Create National Directory of Health Care Providers, Services

Home Health Care News | By Andrew Donlan
 
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Wednesday released a request for information regarding the creation of a “national directory of health care providers and services.”
 
The effort – a major undertaking – could eventually lead to a new database that better connects home health agencies to patients, payers and other stakeholders. 
Specifically, the agency is seeking public input on what a directory of this kind would do for providers and patients. In essence, CMS sees it as a centralized system of provider and patient information that would facilitate care coordination, health information exchange and data reporting efforts.
 
In theory, it sounds like exactly what health care experts – both in and outside of home-based care – have been pining for over recent years. Data, reporting and health care information at large remains fragmented, which has resulted in “interoperability” becoming a buzz word. 
CMS believes the directory would be of help in its efforts to improve access to care, reduce clinician burden and support that interoperability throughout health care. 
 
“Easy access to accurate and useful provider directory information is critical for patients trying to find health care that best meets their individualized needs and preferences,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a statement. “CMS is seeking comment on how a National Directory of Health Care Providers and Services could better serve patients and reduce unnecessary burden placed on providers to maintain dozens of separate directories.”
The request-for-information period will be open until Dec. 6, 2022. 
 
“CMS is specifically requesting public feedback on the [directory] concept and potential benefits, provider types, entities and data elements that could be included to create value for the health care industry, the technical framework for a [directory], priorities for a possible phased implementation, and prerequisites and actions CMS should consider taking to address potential challenges and risks,” the CMS release read. 
 
CMS would obviously lead the directory. The agency also says the directory would utilize a “modern interoperable” technology that would allow payers to update their own directories from a single directory through an application programming interface (API).
 
Part of what the agency touted in its description of the directory is the enhancements it could make in the provider-payer relationship. 
 
As managed care gets more involved in both home health and home care – and agencies look to get into value-based care through risk-sharing with these plans – data sharing has become a major topic of conversation. 

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New NCCIH Music and Health Fact Sheet 

A growing body of research shows that music can be good for you. Listening to or making music affects the brain in ways that may help promote health and manage disease symptoms.

For example, there’s evidence that music-based interventions may help ease pain and anxiety; relieve distress in people with cancer; improve sleep quality in people with insomnia; and improve emotional well-being and quality of life in people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Learn More

 

President's Message

Posted: October 5, 2022

First of all, I would like to extend the Academy’s hopes for safety for all those who were affected by Hurricane Ian in Southwest Florida. The pictures coming out of the Fort Myers area are shocking—the damage is devastating in many areas.

Life is short. Mother Nature may alter our lives through phenomena such as hurricanes, or it may simply be the delicate human condition. I learned last week that a classmate from PT school died—she chose to end her life for reasons that we may never know. She left a husband, two daughters, and numerous friends, colleagues, and classmates. I wasn’t close to this colleague/classmate, but it struck me just the same. Should you, or anyone that you know or love, feel that alone and without choices, you need only pick up a phone and dial 988. This number has been in place for about two months now. It is one more option for anyone having a mental health crisis. We all know how challenging life can get—physically, mentally, and emotionally. The 988 hotline is one more way to take care of ourselves and each other.

A final note in the vein of staying connected—if you are coming to the NAHC Annual Conference in St. Louis, please stop by the Academy’s booth and say hello. I will be there, along with Deputy Director Matt Hansen and a couple of volunteers.

Sincerely,

 

 

Phil Goldsmith
President
APTA Home Health

 

Home Health Care Among Settings Where Masks No Longer Required, CDC Says

Home Health Care News | By Patrick Filbin

Workers in home health care, nursing homes, hospitals and other health care settings are no longer required to wear masks indoors.

Late Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance that ended a blanket indoor mask requirement that had been in effect for the last two and a half years.

The guidance was part of the CDC’s revisions to the agency’s COVID-19 recommendations, one of the final sets of changes that began in August.

The CDC recently reported that just over 73% of counties in the U.S. have “high” COVID transmission levels. About 27% of counties meet the substantial, moderate or low categories.

Since early in the pandemic, the CDC has urged people in the U.S. to wear masks – what the agency calls “source control” – while in health care settings.

The new guidelines apply to nursing homes, home health facilities and hospitals. The guidelines do not apply to restaurants and other non-health care environments.

“Updates were made to reflect the high levels of vaccine- and infection-induced immunity and the availability of effective treatments and prevention tools,” the CDC’s new guidance reads.

Even though masks are no longer required in facilities where transmission is not high, the CDC still recommends they be worn:

  • If someone has a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or other respiratory infection
  • If someone has close contact or a higher-risk exposure with someone who had COVID-19 for 10 days after their exposure
  • If someone lives or works somewhere that is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak (in this case, universal mask wearing can stop once no new cases have been identified for 14 days)
  • If mask wearing is recommended by local public health authorities

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