Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Beckwith Contributing Author of “Aging America”

Hope Healthcare President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith has authored a chapter in the book “Aging America: Coping with Loss, Dying and Death in Later Life,” published by the Hospice Foundation of America.

According to the Foundation, 10,000 people turn 65 every day in the United States. By 2040, Medicare is expected to include 80 million enrollees. “Aging America” examines ways that mental health professionals, healthcare providers, and the wider community can support the growing number of aging Americans as they experience loss and grief.

In the chapter, “The Hospice Connection: Helping Elders Access Hospice Care,” Beckwith dispels hospice myths, shares facts, and addresses the importance of open communication between patients, their loved ones, and their doctors.

“Families and physicians must understand that hospice is for the last phase, not the last days, of life,” said Beckwith. “Seeking hospice does not mean giving up. Hospice care was intended for a longer period of time in order to provide the utmost relief from pain and suffering and to deliver longer-term clinical and practical benefits, such as counseling and spiritual care.”

Monday, March 18, 2019

Hospice and Palliative Care Providers Now Sharing Health Data Through ENS

The Florida Health Information Exchange welcomes hospice and palliative care providers to the growing number of health care professionals exchanging patient information through the Encounter Notification Service (ENS). ENS is a statewide network of health systems, accountable care organizations (ACOs), physician practices, and payers that provides real-time notice of patient health care encounters, allowing participants to work together to improve care coordination and transitions of care.

ENS is the largest network of its kind in Florida, connecting over 225 hospitals, 25 ACOs, 15 health insurance companies, and thousands of physicians and health care professionals statewide. Connecting to ENS allows hospice and palliative care providers to know in real-time when one of their patients is receiving emergency or inpatient care at a participating hospital. ENS allows hospice and palliative care providers to work with an admitting hospital on a patient’s care plan, help patients avoid unnecessary or unwanted care, and assist with the transition home or to post-acute care upon discharge. ENS also enables hospice providers to notify other network participants when shared patients have begun hospice care.

Dr. Samira K. Beckwith, President and CEO of Hope Healthcare, said “We are proud to work with the Florida Health Information Exchange (HIE) to ensure timely, coordinated, compassionate care for people living with serious illness. The Encounter Notification Service helps Hope deliver the right care at the right time. The Florida HIE and Acclivity Health have made it easier to receive and respond to vital health data for the benefit of our patients.”

The vendor for the Florida Health Information Exchange, Audacious Inquiry (Ai), also supports the coordination of patient hospice and palliative care through their strategic partnership with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). This partnership aims to improve care quality by increasing connectivity, expanding access to care, and promoting advocacy efforts across the hospice and palliative care communities.

Acclivity Health, which offers connected care solutions to physician practices, ACOs, and hospice providers, has been instrumental in connecting hospice and palliative care providers to ENS in Florida.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Increased Access to Palliative Care: Florida Daily Report

From the Florida Daily March 12, 2019

On Wednesday, Florida TaxWatch released a report showing that increased access to palliative care is a boost to patients while cutting healthcare costs.

Samira Beckwith, the president and CEO of Hope Healthcare, is the chairwoman of the Florida TaxWatch Center for Health and Aging.

“Expanding community-based palliative care could improve quality of life for patients and reduce healthcare spending for Floridians,” said Beckwith. “Palliative care cannot and should not replace hospice care and should not delay the provision of hospice care for eligible and appropriate terminally ill patients, but palliative care can serve both to provide services for those patients with chronic but not terminal conditions and serve a patient’s needs until hospice care is appropriate. The ideal interaction between palliative care and hospice is a seamless transition from palliative to hospice services.”

“Based on our research, it is clear that palliative care warrants special attention as a distinct and promising healthcare service,” said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro. “With nearly one-half of American adults living with at least one serious condition or chronic illness, state policymakers should have a full understanding of how this could benefit all Floridians and take the expansion of palliative care under strong consideration.”

“The Legislature must develop a regulatory framework for palliative care,” Florida TaxWatch insisted. “For the state to realize the cost-savings benefits of palliative care, the payment/reimbursement system must be addressed. To ensure the financial stability of palliative care providers, a system of care reimbursement that can be used by public and private payors must be developed, along with a definition of the services that constitute palliative care.

“Additionally, the Legislature should invest in programs that increase training opportunities to address workforce shortages. Like with many areas in healthcare and long-term care, workforce shortages are a major barrier to expansion of palliative care. To address this issue, the Legislature should fund increased palliative medicine fellowships, provide incentives for palliative care fellows to remain in Florida, invest in expanding training programs for nurses, and fund internship opportunities.”