Medicare Patient News

Updates on services and programs covered under Medicare to help senior patients achieve optimal health.

Medications that Send Seniors to the ER

heidi Medicare Patient News, Resources for Physicians Comments Off on Medications that Send Seniors to the ER

These four medicines account for nearly 50 percent of emergency department
visits for adverse drug events in Medicare patients.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices maintains a list of high-alert medications—medications that can cause significant patient harm if used in error. These include medications that have dangerous adverse effects, but also include look-alike, sound-alike medications, which have similar names and physical appearance but completely different pharmaceutical properties. The Beers criteria, which define certain classes of medications as potentially inappropriate for geriatric patients, have traditionally been used to assess medication safety. However, the newer STOPP criteria (Screening Tool of older Person’s inappropriate Prescriptions) have been shown to more accurately predict ADEs than the Beers criteria, and are therefore likely a better measure of prescribing safety in the elderly.

Though there are specific types of medications for which the harm generally outweighs the benefits, such as benzodiazepine sedatives in elderly patients, it is now clear that most adverse drug events [ADEs] are caused by commonly used medications that have risks, but offer significant benefits if used properly. These medications include antidiabetic agents (e.g., insulin), oral anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin), and antiplatelet agents (such as aspirin and clopidogrel). Together, these four medications—which are not considered inappropriate by the Beers criteria—account for nearly 50% of emergency department visits for ADEs in Medicare patients. Focusing on improving prescribing safety for these necessary but higher-risk medications may reduce the large burden of ADEs in the elderly to a greater extent than focusing on use of potentially inappropriate classes of medications. – Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality


Medicare Home Health Benefit for Your Patients

heidi Medicare Patient News Comments Off on Medicare Home Health Benefit for Your Patients

Medicare Home Health Benefit for your Patients

Home health care services reduce rehospitalizations by ensuring a continuum of care from hospital to home and empowering patients through disease management programs.

Home health care allows your patients to receive treatment for an illness or injury in the comfort of their home and under your plan of care, so they can regain their health and maintain their independence. Whether they are recovering from hip replacement surgery or need help for congestive heart failure, they may receive skilled care under the Medicare Home Health Benefit. Are your patients taking advantage of this benefit?

Benefits of referring to home health care:

  • Continuity of care from hospital to home: Reduction in rehospitalization and emergent care visits.
  • Convenient: A health care team comes to your patient.
  • Cost-effective. Your patients pay very little, if anything, out of pocket.
  • You can bill for care plan oversight. Read more

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