Friday, August 08, 2008

Addus HealthCare Appoints Seasoned CFO to Provide Financial Leadership Amidst Growth, Expansion

Addus HealthCare, Inc., a nationally recognized provider of high quality home care services, today announced the hiring of Frank Leonard as chief financial officer to help guide the company as it grows and expands in current and new markets. Mr. Leonard, a seasoned financial executive, brings more than 30 years of accounting experience to the company, including ten years as a CFO

“As we move forward with a strategy for continued growth, it is crucial that we bring a top-level executive on board to oversee Addus’ financial health,” said Mark S. Heaney, president and CEO for Addus HealthCare. “Frank brings the right blend of prior experience, industry know-how, financial expertise and leadership to the position.”

Prior to joining Addus HealthCare, Mr. Leonard served as CFO at Lifewatch Corporation, a provider of cardiac monitoring health care services. Prior to LifeWatch, he was the CFO at Apropos Technology from 2000 to 2005. Apropos was a publicly traded technology company that enabled contact centers to process and report on customer interactions. He also served as CFO for BT Office Products from 1997 through 2000.

“It’s a privilege to have an opportunity to work with a group of individuals with extensive industry experience and focused on its mission,” said Mr. Leonard, a Palatine, IL resident. “I look forward to providing my expertise to ensure that Addus HealthCare is able to deliver on that mission from a position of financial strength today and well in to the future.”

Addus provides comprehensive home care services including skilled nursing, personal care and adult day care services. Addus HealthCare currently holds over two hundred home care contracts throughout the country. The company employs 12,000 people and provides home care services to over 45,000 individuals annually from 115 offices in 15 states.

source: Corporate Press Release, August 8, 2008

Monday, May 05, 2008

Dental Care at Home

In my Google Alert email the other day, I saw a posting for a new home care service ... dentistry. Dr. Mark Thomasson, DDS, of Madison, Tennessee has set up a mobile dental office in a truck to take his practice to patient's homes.

According to Dr. Thomasson, "On-Site Dental Services offers "Gentle Dental" services directly to you in the comfort of your home or retirement setting. Many people are diligent about maintaining their dental health but due to life's circumstances are no longer able to travel to their dentist for their care. Our goal is to help our patients maintain good oral health for their lifetime."

Another example of the huge potential for home health care.

What do you think? Comment below.

Have you seen an interesting article or innovation in home health care. Send us an email.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Home Health Companies Report Higher Than Expected Profits

We've been telling our audiences during our keynote speech, Home Health 2020: The Six Pillars of the Home Health Agency of the Future, that there has never been a better economic time in the history of home health care.

That statement was reinforced this week with the release of earnings reports by two large, publicly traded home health companies.


Amedisys surprised Wall Street Wednesday with better-than-expected earnings and an increase in its guidance for the rest of the year. The company, which bought rival TLC Healthcare Services in late March for $395.0 million, said it was looking forward to growing on its own and through further acquisitions.

The Baton Rouge-based home health care nursing company had revenues of $213.1 million, up 38.7% year-over-year with profits up 24.1% to $16.5 million, or 62 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had expected earnings per share of 58 cents on revenues of $198.8 million.

LHC Group (nasdaq: LHCG - news - people ), a home health provider that caters to the Medicare market of suburbia, reaffirmed the sector's strength late Wednesday when its earnings for the first quarter jettisoned past analyst expectations. The company reported revenues of $83.5 million, up 21.5% from the year-prior period; while profits were down slightly in the quarter to $5.3 million, or 31 cents per share, from $5.8 million, or 33 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2007. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had expected earnings per share of 29 cents on revenues of $78.7 million.

How is your agency doing financially? If you did not make money in the 4th quarter of 2007, what's the problem?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Shortage of Home Care Workers threatens our elderly population - "No Kidding!"

For years we've been talking about the critical shortage of home health care workers and the impact it will have on the future of your agency. Now, the crisis is official. The Institute of Medicine, the same folks who told us about how many people die in hospitals every year as a result of medication errors, has now issued a study of the worker shortage.

April 14, 2008 -- Experts warned Monday that the United States faces a massive health care shortage that threatens to leave millions of seniors without proper health care within the next three decades.

A report issued by the Institute of Medicine says that medical and nursing schools are training far too few doctors and nurses on how to care for the elderly. At the same time, other workers, such as nurses' aides and home health workers, remain undertrained and underpaid, the experts say.

"We really feel that this is a crisis," said John W. Rowe, MD, who chaired the panel issuing the report.

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So it's now officially a crisis. What are we going to do about it? What is your agency doing to become an "employer of choice," so that the home care workers who are available will choose to work for you instead of your competitors?

For information on how Leading Home Care can help you with our Strategic Staffing process, visit our web site.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Telehealth as a Sales and Marketing Tool in Home Health Care

Are you looking for a new source of competitive advantage to grow your home health agency? Are you offering telehealth as part of your program of services?

A new study released by Philips Electronics and Fazzi Associates shows that 45.2% of home health agencies experienced an increase of referrals as a result of their telehealth program. My guess is that the other 55% of the agencies using telehealth have not done a good job of using telehealth as a source of competitive advantage.

In our Certified Home Care Sales Professional workshop, we have taught home health care sales professionals how to use facts and data to create competitive advantage. Here are some facts and data from the Philips / Fazzi study that will be valuable to all telehealth users:

* 17.1 percent of agencies use some type of telehealth system. A much higher percentage of large agencies (32.0%) report that they provide telehealth services.
* 88.6 percent report that telehealth led to an increase in quality outcomes:
* 76.6 percent report a reduction in unplanned hospitalizations
* 77.2 percent report a reduction in emergency room visits
* 71.3 percent report that telehealth services improved patient satisfaction. No agency reported that it reduced patient satisfaction.
* 83.9 percent state that less than one in ten patients refused a home telehealth system.
* 79.2 percent of patients or family members were reluctant to have the telemonitoring system removed.
* 42.8 percent report that telehealth led to a reduction in cost. A similar number reported it as cost-neutral.
* 63.5 percent report that telehealth had no impact on clinical caseloads. As more agencies use telehealth and move up the learning curve, clinical productivity measures may increase
* 49.7 percent report telehealth decreased on-site visits
* 45.2 percent report telehealth increased the number of referrals
* 56.9 percent report that their nurses were very receptive to having a telehealth service after one year as compared to 36.3 percent at the beginning of the program.
* 89.1 percent stated that given everything they know today, they would still have started their telehealth program.

For more information on the study, visit the Philips Electronics web site.

Home Health Care and Nursing Homes duke it our over Medicaid Dollars

It was bound to happen. As more and more consumers and government leaders learn about the value of home care, and more state money is made available to home health services, the long term care industry is becoming frustrated. They are seeing dollars they think should be spent on nursing home care going to home care.

Here's an example:

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 9, 2008 --
The Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Homecare Association (PHA) said today that a claim by nursing home interests that home health care is draining resources from nursing homes is "factually false and destructive to broad-based efforts to make limited public dollars go further in providing medical and health services for all Pennsylvanians."

Vicki Hoak, the PHA director, said, "The nursing home industry has seen its reimbursement rates climb 22 percent in just the past five years. By contrast, home health care providers have not seen an increase in reimbursement rates for four years. Before that increase, the reimbursement rate had been stagnant for thirteen years."

What's happening in your state regarding Medicaid expenditure for home health care? Are you seeing more awareness of the benefits of home care? What are you doing to help communicate the message of home care to legislators and regulators?

Give us your comments below.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Technology Trends in Home Health - Wireless Telehealth in Spain

One of the Pillars of the Home Health Agency of the Future is technology. I'm always monitoring trends in each of these six pillars. Here's an interesting article on wireless telehealth in Spain. Not all of the technology developments are in the U.S.

Bilbao, Spain & Holon, Israel (PRWEB) April 3, 2008 -- Aerotel Medical Systems, one of the world's leading manufacturers of advanced telemedicine and remote monitoring solutions, announced today that Vodafone Spain in conjunction with Medicronic Salud have used Aerotel's e-CliniQ™ Wireless Home Monitoring System with successful results.

The e-CliniQ™ Wireless Home Monitoring System enables patients to keep track of their health, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Using Bluetooth technology, Aerotel's Tele-Modem™ Homecare Hub remotely monitors the patient's vital signs from various homecare sensors, transmitting the data to Medicronic's central receiving station via the Vodafone cellular network, where it is stored and analyzed by Aerotel's Medical Parameters Monitoring (MPM™) software.

The seamless technology is being used successfully by MEDICRONIC-VODAFONE SPAIN, a joint venture between Medicronic Salud and Vodaphone, to monitor, for example, patients' blood pressure and other vital signs. Easy to use, the e-CliniQ™ system is activated at the touch of a button. Blood pressure readings are encrypted and sent via a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone to the receiving center where the patient or doctor can directly access the information via the internet, using Aerotel's MPM-Net™ technology. The system allows doctors to check that patients are adhering to their pharmaceutical treatments.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Linking Technology to Improve Quality and Clinician Performance

Santa Barbara, CA and Lancaster, PA (PRWEB) March 24, 2008 -- Strategic Healthcare Programs a provider of real-time performance data services and Thornberry Ltd, a developer and marketer of intelligent, management information systems for the home healthcare and hospice industry, today announced implementation of their new interface at LaPorte Regional Health System's VNA HomeCare and HospiceCare in Michigan City, Indiana.

LaPorte has been using SHP for some time to analyze patient and caregiver data entered into Thornberry's clinical point of care software, NDoc, said executive director Virginia Davis.

"The new automated web interface not only speeds the transfer of data from the NDoc clinical system to Strategic Healthcare Programs (SHP) software, it also enables clinician-level analysis of OASIS data. It is saving staff a lot of time that used to be spent looking up clinician and primary nurse."

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This is another example of how home health care leaders are investing in new technology solutions to improve the quality of patient care and internal operations. What are you doing to use technology in new ways? Comment below or send us an email.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

SEIU Rebuffed by California Home Health Care Workers

OAKLAND, Calif., March 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an unprecedented election, nursing home and home healthcare workers overwhelmingly have voted to remain members of United Healthcare Workers-West, demonstrating their unwillingness to be forcibly transferred to another Service Employees International Union local branch.

Despite widespread interference, including a disinformation campaign aimed at suppressing voter turnout, 99 percent of nursing home and 96 percent of homecare workers who voted agreed that staying in UHW would be best for them, their families and, most importantly, the people they serve.

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We continue to monitor the activities of the Service Employees International Union as they take aim at organizing home care workers around the country. Let us know of union organizing efforts of home care workers in your are.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Home Health Agencies use Company Cars to aide Nurse Recruiting and Retention

We're seeing a trend of more and more home health agencies leasing company cars for their nurses as a way to offset the rising price of gasoline and help with nurse recruiting and retention.

Bon Secours Home Care in Newport News, VA leased 15 white Toyota Corollas for registered nurses who have worked there for at least six months. Bon Secours pays for the lease, maintenance, insurance and gas — whether it's for work or personal use. Providing vehicles is the latest effort by Bon Secours to fill home health nursing positions, which can be more difficult to fill than other nursing positions, said Sharon Riddick, director of Bon Secours Home Care.

"For the first time in quite a while, I'm fully staffed, which is wonderful," Riddick said. "You don't see that very often because of the national shortage of nurses."

The Bon Secours program will cost the health system about $600 a month per car. Nationally recruiting and training a nurse costs about $40,000. The program is voluntary, so nurses may opt to continue receiving a mileage reimbursement.

As I'm writing this blog, I'm working with a county government based home health agency in Arizona. They have county owned cars for some of their nurses. The CFO commented that using county cars is a great savings for their agency and they are looking to purchase more cars.

What is your experience with providing cars for nurses? What do your nurses prefer?

Recently, Sentara Healthcare polled some of the system's more than 300 home care nurses about providing cars, and the nurses overwhelmingly preferred mileage reimbursement. Riverside Health System also decided not to provide cars after asking its home health nurses and other field staff.

"We found out that a lot of them really liked getting that mileage check every month," said Mike Boggs, administrator of Riverside's home care division.

Give us your comments below.

Friday, March 14, 2008

High Tech Home Care Camera let's you peer into your own cavities

One of the Pillars of the Agency of the Future is Technology. Here's a new techno gadget that some folks will find useful at home.

The Maharu "intraoral" Home Care Camera let's you look into your mouth and examine teeth, gums, tongue, and throat. You can project the picture onto your big screen flat panel TV for a super view of your insides.

Although not specifically designed for home health care agencies, this high tech consumer tools supports the trend that consumers what more care at home.

Take a look at the Maharu

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

VNS of NY Implements Mobile VPN Software

In my current keynote speech, Home Health 2020: Six Pillars of the AOTF - Agency Of the Future, I talk about the Technology Pillar. It's clear to me that the leaders in home health Care in the future will invest heavily in technology in order to increase the productivity of their field staff. The shortage of nurses and therapists means that we need to find new ways to help our field staff members serve patients more effectively.

Recently, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, the largest single location home health company in the country, began to implement the Mobility XE Virtual Private Network from Net Motion.

Randy Cleghorne, chief technology officer, VNSNY explained that through the wireless deployment, the VNS wants to provide clinicians easy access to information without interfering with the primary job of patient care. NetMotion’s software helps the workforce stay reliably connected and productive, enabling team members to focus on their jobs, not the technology.

Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing for NetMotion Wireless, Andy Willett pointed out that VNSNY is at the technological forefront in home health care delivery and patient care.

VNSNY has nearly 10,000 care providers that make more than 2.2 million home visits per year throughout New York City and Westchester and Nassau counties to an average of more than 30,000 patients each day.

What are you doing to invest in technology to improve the productivity of your agency? How is technology helping you grow your business and get ready for the future?

Give us your comments below.

Canadian Healthcare System Struggles

As we approach the Presidential elections in the fall, there is much talk about nationalized healthcare. And some of that talk makes reference to modeling the American system after the socialized medicine system in Canada.

Two articles this week point to some of the major challenges facing healthcare in Canada. And if it weren't for the US healthcare system just across the southern border, many more Canadians would be having trouble with healthcare.

First, from an article from the March 1, 2008 issue of the Globe & Mail, the major daily newspaper in Toronto:

Why Ontario keeps sending patients south

by Lisa Priest

"More than 400 Canadians in the full throes of a heart attack or other cardiac emergency have been sent to the United States because no hospital can provide the lifesaving care they require here.

Most of the heart patients who have been sent south since 2003 typically show up in Ontario hospitals, where they are given clot-busting drugs. If those drugs fail to open their clogged arteries, the scramble to locate angioplasty in the United States begins.

'They rushed me over to Detroit, did the whole closing of the tunnel,' said Eric Bialkowski, 47, of the heart attack he had on March 14, 2007, in Windsor, Ont. 'It was like Disneyworld customer service.'

While other provinces have sent patients out of country – British Columbia has sent 75 pregnant women or their babies to Washington State since February, 2007 – nowhere is the problem as acute as in Ontario.

At least 188 neurosurgery patients and 421 emergency cardiac patients have been sent to the United States from Ontario since the 2003-2004 fiscal year to Feb. 21 this year. Add to that 25 women with high-risk pregnancies sent south of the border in 2007."

The article goes on to quote healthcare experts, physicians and patients about the many challenges facing patients in Canada.

Then in another article in the Ottawa Citizen, reporter Mohammed Adam writes:

"So many hospital beds in Ottawa are being used to care for people who should be in long-term care or at home that it's the equivalent of closing the Montfort Hospital, health officials say.
It's the most serious problem facing hospitals across Ontario, says Tom Closson, the new president of the Ontario Hospital Association, far worse than a lack of money, and the crisis is deepening.

Mr. Closson said 2,800 hospital beds -- or 18 per cent of all beds in the province -- are occupied by patients who can't find home or long-term care. On any given day, he said, about 800 emergency room patients in Ontario -- 'the equivalent of three medium-sized hospitals' -- wait in hallways for admission beds that are not available."

This article goes on to describe the problem in more detail, and how part of the solution is more access to home health care.

There are two key points for us to consider out of these two articles:

1. The nationalized healthcare system in Canada is not the panacea that some politicians and critics of American healthcare would have us believe.

2. Home Health Care is a big part of the solution to major challenges facing healthcare around the world.

America has the greatest healthcare system in the world, and the greatest home health care providers. Do you agree? Give us your comments below.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Clarifying "Home Care" terminology

Here's an excerpt from an article recently published on the Oklahoman newspaper web site:

By Gary A. Brown
Vintage Visions

To most people, the terms "home care” and "home health care” are synonymous. Yet, in reality, they are different services addressing different needs and often provided by different agencies.This understandable confusion is compounded when seniors look for services in the Yellow Pages. "Home Care” and "Home Health” are both listed under "Home Health Services.”

Here's an easy way to remember the difference: Home health is medically oriented, and home care is nonmedical and functionally oriented.


Unfortunately, Mr. Brown himself is perpetuating the terminology problem. He's right about home health. However, "Home Care" means more than non-medical home care. By our definition, "Home Care" includes a range of services for patients and clients in their homes, including "home health," Hospice, Home Medical Equipment, Home Infusion, and Non-medical or Private Duty Home Care.

It seems like the non-medical home care sector is trying to own the term, "Home Care." But they do so without a full understanding of our industry.

What do you think? What terms do you use? How can we clarify this for our patients, clients, physicians, and referral sources?

Make your comment below:

PA Home Care Associatin Seeks Increase in State Budget

The Pennsylvania Homecare Association is seeking a $10 million increase in the state's 2008-09 budget allocation to increase the Medicaid reimbursement to $100 per visit for skilled services. The increase will help offset the cost of nursing care, rising gasoline prices, and workers' compensation premiums for home health agencies. Last year alone, Pennsylvania home health agencies traveled more than 210 million miles and spent an additional $6.7 million in 2007 to help cover the rising gasoline costs.

"A raise in the reimbursement rate will help us bring in more nurses, and also provide more people with the comfort of being treated in their own home," said Vicki Hoak, Pennsylvania Homecare Association executive director. "People who use home health care have a lower readmission rate to the hospital, and it costs less to provide home health care than to have a person remain in an inpatient facility."

What is your state home care association doing to help you increase reimbursement for Medicaid patients? Are you actively involved with your association? If not, it's time to get involved.


Fire Destroys Home Care Office - Are you Ready for DIsaster?

The fire that devastated the Antietam Village Shopping Center in Frederick, Maryland nearly one year ago destroyed more than building materials.

For Adla Simms, a manager at Maxim Healthcare Services, the blaze took medical records.

"We even had to do all the employees screenings again, starting from scratch," she said. "We lost the medical records for more than 30 home care patients, as well as all the other documents," she said.

The 100 or so employees at the company had to start from application through background checks and more just to get back to work, she said.

What about you?

Are you ready for a disaster in your home health care office? How quickly can you put your disaster plan into action?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Connecticut Home Health and Hospice Associations Merge

WALLINGFORD--The Connecticut Association for Home Care and the Connecticut Council for Hospice and Palliative Care have merged to create a new organization called the Connecticut Association for Home Care and Hospice (CAHCH).

"This new organizational structure creates a forum for advancing mutually beneficial ideas, not to mention the increased efficiencies in serving members," said Brian D. Ellsworth, president and chief exectutive officer of CAHCH. This merger also reinforces the continuum of care that exists in Connecticut."

The two groups share in the prevention of avoidable hospitalization and institutional placement; maximized patient autonomy and choice, inclusion of loved ones in care for the patient, and participation with third party programs, such as Medicare, Medicaide, private insurance and Veterans Administration.

CACH's members include home health agencies, hospices, homemaker companion agencies and other providers of home care and services. CAHCH supports its members in the delivery of quality and accessible home care and hospice services.