Florida and Louisiana Home HealthCare Come Up Trumps

The 2012 HomeCare Elite report commended 28 offices from the Florida and Louisiana regions.  The report – compiled by Senior Home Care (a leading provider of home health care solutions in the Southeast) – investigates the highest-performing home health agencies in America.  This encompasses over 10,000 Medicare-certified agencies.

Senior Home Care Inc. was established in 1994 to provide retirees in Florida and Louisiana with quality care. Working alongside its Louisiana company, Synergy Home Care, it has nearly 50 branches and 1,800 employees.  It is thus able to treat over 50,000 elderly annually. Above all, it seeks to “provide quality patient care in a compassionate and ethical manner while encouraging a lifestyle of independence.”

Sponsored by the National Research Corporation (the leading provider of cross-continuum healthcare metrics and analytics), and DecisionHealth (the publisher of the industry’s most respected independent newsletter, Home Health Line), HomeCare Elite has now been running for seven years.  It seeks out the top performing quarter of Medicare-certified agencies throughout the nation and thereafter ranks the best 100 and top 500 agencies overall. Entrants are judged on: performance measures in quality outcomes; process measure implementation; patient experience; quality improvement and financial performance. The study is the only one of its kind in the home healthcare industry. Data comes from publicly-accessible information, as opposed to that sent in by the agencies.

According to Susan L. Henricks, President and COO of National Research Corporation (the parent company of OCS HomeCare products), “the 2012 HomeCare Elite winners demonstrate a commitment to providing patient-centered care and serving as leaders in the home health community. Their success offers data-driven proof of being well-managed and high quality care providers to hospitals, managed care organizations, ACOs, and other potential referral partners across the healthcare continuum. Again, this year, we updated our methodology to reflect the rapidly evolving quality-focused healthcare landscape and national value-based purchasing trends. We congratulate Senior Home Care on being recognized as a top home care agency.”

Robert Fusco, CEO of Senior Home Care pointed out that those organizations that scored high did so as they always put their patients at the top of their priority list.  He explained that “our winners demonstrate a commitment to providing the very best care to patients, while providing the highest level of service possible.”  According to Product Manager for the post-acute care business group of DecisionHealth, Marci Heydt, HomeCare Elite is an increasingly important body, especially given that there are more regulatory mandates alongside the threat of diminished reimbursement revenue.  They show that not only are they able to adapt to a marketplace in continual flux, but also do well in overall patient and clinical experience.

Elderly Criminals: Where to Now?

Elderly Do Well in Zephyrhills

Due to a lack of financial resources, it seems that some elderly criminals currently housed at Zephyrhills Correctional Institution, (on the edge of Tampa), Florida.  It has the capacity for about 700 prisoners, many of whom are seniors.  The problem however with the elderly population in general, is that they are way more expensive to care for than the average younger inmate, since they usually have many more health issues including diabetes and Alzheimers which require significant financial resources to manage effectively.

Plus, it seems like these individuals are more than happy to live out their days in the Zephyrhills Correctional Institution.  Gus Mazorra, a warden there, says the care received is excellent and it seems the inmates themselves would not disagree.  One criminal – put away for first degree murder – said the treatment he gets there is the best he’s ever received.  They have nurses on staff for monitoring and medication dispensation as well as a fair amount of preventative care in many cases.  In a recent CBS news article, a nurse, Mary Farr, LPN, said, “so we can keep an eye on them better before they get so sick that we catch them before they go to the hospital, which costs a lot of money. And most of the stuff hospitals so, we can do for them here, if we catch it early enough.”

Too Expensive

It seems though however, these criminals may be running out of luck.  The Department of Corrections is desperate to find ways to save money and the state of Florida is really struggling with the growing prison population. Thus legislators are currently trying to work out different ways of paying for all of this.  It has now been suggested that some of these costly elderly inmates be released early in an effort to reduce these costs.  This controversial proposal of course, has been met with much disdain amongst various individuals. But there are some who see it as a possible solution.  As Senator Chris Smith rightly pointed out, “right now the only people in Florida who have universal health care are these elderly, infirmed prisoners and we're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on these people just to keep them locked up.”  Thus Smith’s proposed bill would enable prisoners over 60 who have served more than two-and-a-half decades and are sick, to petition the Parole Commission for early release.