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Maturity Matters

Y out h is t h e gif t of n at ur e , b ut a g e is a wo rk o f a r t.

December 2012

Volume 1, Issue 2

“Returning Home” Focuses on Reducing Hospital Readmissions

Special points of interest:  Returning Home

Post-Discharge Care Program released.  Legislator meet-

ings provide resource awareness.

(Our CAREGiver) means the world to my wife and I; she is great. She does it all.

Inside this issue: By the Numbers


Guest Columnist: Rep. Mark Gillen


Legislative Meetings


December Events


For many seniors, returning home after a hospital admission is short-lived. Too often, seniors with chronic conditions will be readmitted to the hospital shortly after discharge due to sometimes preventable situations. Home Instead Senior Care® has introduced the Returning Home Post-Discharge Care Program to address hospital readmissions for seniors with chronic conditions such as Chronic Heart Failure, Acute Myocardial Infarction or Pneumonia. For the nearly 15 percent of Berks County citizens aged 65 or older, a mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could mean revised plans of care at hospital discharge to reduce or eliminate readmissions. As part of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) of the ACA, Medicare will penalize hospitals for avoidable readmission rates beginning FY2013. This new mandate is designed to reduce avoidable readmissions, improve patient safety, enhance quality of care and lower health care costs. “The standards about to take effect will impact our two major hospitals in Berks County,” said Home Instead Owner, Jennifer Moyer. “Our most recent data indicates that both Berks County hospitals have average readmission rates for heart and pneumonia patients. However, a report by Kaiser Health

News projects some penalties locally. In many cases, these readmissions can be avoided.” An estimated 20 percent of Medicare patients are unnecessarily readmitted within 30 days of discharge, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that about $15 billion is spent annually on hospital readmissions for Medicare patients; and about $12 billion of that amount is preventable. Research by The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) shows the main causes for avoidable readmissions are medication mismanagement or noncompliance, failure to make follow-up doctor appointments, nutrition mismanagement and safety issues. “These issues are easily avoidable with proper postdischarge home care,” said Moyer. “When patients, medical providers, family members and care providers can work together on a plan of care, we can reduce readmission rates and improve patient health.” Adds Moyer, “working in tandem with a patient’s care team at the time of discharge can greatly reduce hospital readmission rates. Home care can be a viable option when a patient is provided with the assistance to ensure

medicine is taken, follow-up appointments are made, and dietary and physical restrictions are adhered to. In most cases, this level of care requires a minimal amount of time and provides a very cost effective health management tool. When home care is factored into the discharge process, healing is more apt to occur without readmission.” According to the American Hospital Association, nearly one-fifth of Medicare beneficiaries return to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. The HHRP requires hospitals to report readmission rates for three common conditions: heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia. According to Sarwat I. Chaudry, M.D., assistant professor, Yale School of Medicine, “Patients who have chronic disease like heart failure are a vulnerable group. At the hospital, they receive 24-hour monitoring, so if there is any change, the doctors and nurses can respond immedContinued on Page 3

Maturity Matters

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By the Numbers

Top conditions currently afflicting seniors: Arthritis, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Heart Failure , Parkinson's, Cancer.—

65 50

Number of people, in millions, providing care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member during any given year (equivalent to 29% of the US population).—National Alliance for Caregiving. Percent of registered voters aged 65 and older who responded that the economy was the top priority in the 2012 election.—Kaiser Family Foundation.

Do You Have a Claim on $1.5 Billion?

Guest Columnist

Representative Mark Gillen

Did you know that Pennsylvania’s Treasury Department has a database of more than $1.5 billion worth of unclaimed property? Unclaimed property is any financial asset that has been left with a “holder,” like a bank, insurance company or business, without any activity or contact for about five years. What this means is that you may have a savings or checking account, unclaimed insurance benefit, uncashed check, or even an expired gift certificate waiting for you. If you moved or ever changed your address, you may not realize that someone mailed you a check. Or, you may have been named on an insurance policy but never knew about it. If you ever opened a bank account and it went inactive, there may still be a balance in the account. You may also be able to claim property of a deceased family

member, like a spouse or parent. Approximately one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property. Last year, the Pennsylvania Treasury gave back more than $100 million to the rightful owners.

If you need help with finding your unclaimed property or with claiming it, please call my district office at 610-775-5130 or stop in and visit me at 29 Village Center Drive, Suite A7, in Reading.

The Treasury Department makes it easy to see if you have unclaimed property. You can visit its website at or call the department at 1-800-222-2046. Please remember – this information is publicly available. Be very careful if anyone offers to help you claim your property at a cost.

Mark Gillen represents Pennsylvania’s 128th Legislative District. For more information, visit http://

If you haven’t already done so, make sure to fill out the Personal Estate Inventory booklet available at my office. This guide helps you make an accurate inventory so your financial property is not forgotten and turned over to the Treasury Department.

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Maturity Matters

Meetings Held with Berks County Legislators Throughout October and November, Owner Jennifer Moyer and Donna IronsZimmerman held meetings with eight area legislators representing Berks County. The meetings provided an opportunity for elected officials to learn about Home Instead Senior Care, its services and its many educational and community outreach endeavors for area seniors. “We wanted to take the opportunity to not only introduce our legislators to Home Instead, but make them aware of the many programs we have

and resources available for our shared constituencies,” said Moyer. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet with all our leaders who took time from their busy schedules to meet with us. Working together we can have an even greater impact in the quality of life for our seniors.”

sive resources at our disposal are made available when needed. “We are an industry leader with a wealth of knowledge and expertise at our disposal,” added Moyer, “if we can share those resources with seniors and their families, everyone benefits.”

The information gained from the meetings will enable Home Instead to better serve Berks County seniors by making sure our legislators are aware of their issues and concerns as well as making sure the exten-

Frank Speicher, Principal, with Congressman Joseph Pitts at Home Instead’s West Lawn office.

“Returning Home” Post-Discharge Program, Continued (continued from Page 1) ately. Yet when they are discharged home, they are pretty much on their own.” The Home Instead Returning Home Post-Discharge Care Program provides several key elements:  Discharge coordination and execution: Home Instead CAREGivers(SM) work with the senior's hospital discharge planning staff to help ensure the plan of care is understood and followed by family and other home caregivers to improve chances of a successful recovery.  Medication management: Home Instead CAREGivers work with the senior and his/her family to ensure that prescriptions are filled and medication is taken as directed, and

to help prevent adverse effects.  Follow-up physician visit assistance: Home Instead CAREGivers make sure the senior keeps track of and attends follow-up medical appointments, assisting with transportation as needed.  Nutrition management: Home Instead CAREGivers assist with meal planning, shopping and preparation to ensure that the senior receives wholesome, healthy food, stays hydrated and, more importantly, they offer nutrition education for a sustainable healthy lifestyle.  Record keeping: Home Instead CAREGivers are trained to track specific data on the senior's progress.

“Today’s hospitals have a higher standard to meet and Home Instead has the tools in place to help them. Patient advocacy is greatly reduced when care is carried into the home environment. Home Instead has long been committed to patient advocacy and our Returning Home PostDischarge Care Program is yet another aspect of this outreach. Working together we can improve patient health and work with care providers to reduce medical costs and improve healthcare,” notes Moyer. For more information on the Home Instead Returning Home Post-Discharge Care Program, please contact our office at 610-372-2500 or visit Pages/ ReturningHomePostDischargeCare.aspx.

Caring for Berks Seniors, LLC d.b.a. Home Instead Senior Care

2213 Quarry Drive Suite 102 West Lawn, PA 19609 610-372-2500

Maturity Matters is published by Caring for Berks Seniors, LLC d.b.a. Home Instead Senior Care. If you would like to receive a copy of this newsletter, or know of someone who would, please call us at 610-372-2500 or email

Visit us on the web at

December Events  Universal Human Rights Month  Hi Neighbor Month  Read a New Book Month  December 1, World AIDS Awareness Day  December 1, National Pie Day  December 3, International Day of the Disabled Person  December 4, Santa’s List Day  December 7, Pearl Harbor Day  December 7, Letter Writing Day  December 13, National Cocoa Day  December 15, Bill of Rights Day  December 21, Winter Solstice  December 22, Shortest Day of the Year

Maturity Matters December 2012  

A quarterly newsletter from Home Instead Senior Care-Berks County for and about the seniors in our community and those who care for them.

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