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Volunteers Needed for 2023 CSM Booth

It is almost that time of year again! The annual APTA Combined Sections Meeting is back in San Diego, CA, February 23-25, 2023.

In an effort to get to know more of our members and create more opportunities for our members to get involved with the Academy, we are asking for volunteers to help run the APTA Home Health Academy booth in the exhibit hall at CSM.

For members that will be attending CSM 2023 and are interested in volunteering at the booth for a minimum of TWO HOURS, we are offering a $100 credit towards any education in our Learning Center!

Please make sure that if you sign up to volunteer at the booth, you make sure to mark it in your calendar so you don't forget, and that you are able to stay at the booth for the whole time slot. At least one member of our board will also be at the booth at all times with our volunteers. Please CLICK HERE to view available time slots and sign-up to volunteer! 

If you have questions about volunteering, please email us at [email protected]. We look forward to seeing you at CSM at booth #1734!


Top Home Health Trends For 2023

Home Health Care News | By Andrew Donlan
Home health care’s 2022 was dimmed by the dark cloud of Medicare rate cuts. That cloud still hangs overhead in 2023.
To weather the storm, providers are scrambling to find answers to persistent problems, namely staffing shortages. At the same time, they’re renegotiating arrangements with Medicare Advantage (MA) plans and pivoting from certain service lines to others. They’re attempting to become more efficient – in any way possible.
Just like any new year in the home health industry, 2023 brings an onslaught of challenges, but also opportunities.
As January gets underway, the team at Home Health Care News took a stab at identifying top trends for 2023. The following are based on our research, reporting and extensive industry knowledge.
Curious what we forecasted for last year? Revisit our 2022 predictions here.
The number of home health agencies will continue to decline
Over the past few years, the number of existing home health agencies has steadily decreased.
In 2020, there were 9,378 agencies, compared to 9,893 in 2019 and 10,852 in 2014, according to the Research Institute for Home Care’s 2022 Home Care Chartbook.
There are a number of factors that suggest this will continue.
One of these is the ongoing staffing challenges providers are facing. While staffing has alway been a pain point, the impact of the pandemic has put a severe strain on recruitment and retention. Further compounding matters, nurses have left health care altogether due to burnout.
Even though the home health industry’s average turnover rate has gone down slightly, it hasn’t been a significant enough dent to improve staffing conditions for providers. There were signs of improvement in the back half of 2022, but perhaps not enough to keep up with mounting demand set forth by the country’s aging population.
In 2022, the turnover rate for LPNs was 30.25%, down from 36.54% 2021, and 31.19% for RNs, down from 32.35% in the previous year, according to data from the most recent Home Care Salary & Benefits report from Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service.
Ultimately, not having enough labor has limited growth: Last year, David Totaro, chief government affairs officer at Bayada Home Health Care, said that the company had a nearly 67% referral decline rate. As an industry the home health decline rate was 58% last year, according to CarePort data.

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Debt Ceiling Fight Looms Over Medicare, Medicaid

Axios | Peter Sullivan
House Republicans don't have much of a path to get major health care changes passed with a Democratic Senate and president, with one possible exception: the debt ceiling fight. 
Why it matters: It's not clear which spending cuts House Republicans will push for in exchange for expanding the government's borrowing authority later this year — but at least some say health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid should be on the table. 

  • Others, mindful of how the mere talk of entitlement cuts has brought political repercussions, are saying they want to steer clear of the programs. 

What they're saying: "We're going to have to look at the whole board," conservative Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) told Axios, including mandatory spending like Medicare and Medicaid. "The easiest to start with is discretionary, but the main driver of the national debt is the mandatory."

  • "Everything's on the table," he added. 
  • Asked about entitlement reform, Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters Thursday that "as Republicans we will always protect Medicare and Social Security," but did not get into specifics. (He also did not mention Medicaid).
  • "We will protect that for the next generation going forward, but we are going to scrutinize every single dollar spent," he added. 

What to watch: Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), a Freedom Caucus member who is also on the Energy and Commerce Committee, said any changes to Medicare would not take place immediately.

  • "Anytime we talk about those cuts people always panic," he told Axios. "Nobody needs to panic. If we're going to do something, it will be out in the future years a long way out and people will understand it and will have time to adjust for it."
  • He cited the possibility of raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 as one possible change, while keeping it lower for people who had careers doing manual labor and have trouble continuing to work later in life. 

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Study: Falls Rate Nearly 50% for U.S. Seniors with Dementia; 3 Factors Raise Risk

McKnight’s Long-Term Care | Alicia Lasek
Nearly half of American seniors with dementia had one or more falls in the preceding year, according to a new analysis of 2016 data. Three factors were most highly associated with risk, the researchers say.

Data came from the National Health and Aging Trends Study from 2015 and 2016, which examined health and disability trends and outcomes in adults aged 65 years and older in the United States. Fully 45.5% of older adults living with dementia experienced one or more falls in 2016, compared to 31% of older adults without dementia, investigators found.

Impaired vision, living with a spouse versus living alone, and a history of falls within the prior year were strongly linked to greater likelihood of falls, reported the authors, from Drexel University in Philadelphia and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

They also pinpointed key falls risk factors for older adults living without dementia. These included financial hardship, a history of falls, fear of falling, poor lower extremity performance, depressive symptoms and home disrepair.

The study is the first national one to compare risk factors for senior Americans living with dementia to those without dementia, according to the researchers. The results support tailored falls prevention strategies for people with dementia that consider key risk factors during screening, they added.

“Overall, our findings demonstrate the importance of understanding and addressing fall-risk among older adults living with dementia,” said Safiyyah Okoye, PhD, of Drexel. “It confirms that fall-risk is multidimensional and influenced by environmental context in addition to health and function factors.”

Full findings were published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.


Blood Test for Early Alzheimer’s Detection

One of the first stages of Alzheimer’s disease involves formation of toxic aggregates, called oligomers, of the protein amyloid beta (Aβ). These oligomers can start to form more than a decade before symptoms appear and before other known disease markers form. The ability to detect these oligomers would permit early disease diagnosis. This would make strategies to intervene before irreparable brain damage occurs possible.

An NIH-funded research team led by Valerie Daggett at the University of Washington developed a method to detect toxic Aβ oligomers in patients’ blood. They tested the assay, called the soluble oligomer binding assay (SOBA), on nearly 400 banked human blood plasma samples. Results appeared on December 13, 2022, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Toxic Aβ oligomers have a structure known as an alpha sheet that isn’t normally found in proteins. Alpha sheets tend to bind to each other. SOBA takes advantage of this distinct structural feature. The researchers designed a synthetic alpha sheet molecule to bind to the alpha sheets in Aβ oligomers. They showed that their designed molecule, called AP193, bound to the subset of Aβ with alpha sheets but not to other, non-toxic forms of Aβ.

Aβ oligomers normally reduce signaling in cultured neurons. Adding AP193 prevented this reduction in signaling. AP193 might thus form the basis for future therapeutic strategies.

When the team applied SOBA using AP193 to a cerebrospinal fluid sample from a person with Alzheimer’s disease, they detected Aβ oligomers. They did not detect oligomers in cerebrospinal fluid from a person who had no cognitive impairment.

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