CMS expands Medicare pilot to allow curative care with hospice | N.J. institute offers cancer care training program for NPs | Report: Many nursing homes need to improve dementia care

July 22, 2015
Hospice and Palliative Medicine SmartBrief
News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

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CMS expands Medicare pilot to allow curative care with hospice
The CMS has expanded a pilot project that allows Medicare patients to receive concurrent curative and hospice care. As many as 140 hospice providers have indicated a willingness to participate, and the pilot could enroll 150,000 patients. Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (7/20), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (7/20), Forbes (7/21)
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Palliative & Hospice Care Update Sponsored By
N.J. institute offers cancer care training program for NPs
The Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey has unveiled a six-month fellowship program to provide nurse practitioners with training in oncology. The program includes palliative care rotations and training in several clinics. "We're helping nurse practitioners understand the different phases of clinical trials because our mission is to get patients on clinical trials," said Janet Gordils-Perez, co-developer of the program and executive director for oncology nursing services at the institute. (7/20)
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Report: Many nursing homes need to improve dementia care
The Alzheimer's Association of Massachusetts and New Hampshire found that 60% of nursing homes in Massachusetts that offer dementia services are not complying with all state regulations governing care. State law requires all nursing homes to have completed staff training in dementia, while facilities that advertise dementia services must hire activities directors and provide expanded common space as well as enclosed outdoor areas. The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (7/15)
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Patient & Family Perspective
Many Americans may not have enough savings to cover elder care
Senior woman.
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Many Americans are forced to make difficult choices about elder care because they or a family member did not save enough to account for increasing costs. The Employee Benefit Research Institute says about 60% of Americans nearing retirement age have a retirement account but it may not be enough to cover unexpected medical needs. The Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)/The Associated Press (7/20)
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Crunching the Numbers
Your passion may have led you into business, but tracking cash flow and other key numbers will help keep your company up and running. Read Boomtown: Think Like a Startup

Medical Research
Researchers confident they can develop effective Alzheimer's treatment
Laboratory equipment.
Leading Alzheimer's disease researchers said they are confident they can develop an effective treatment for the disease, even though more than 100 drugs have failed. The Alzheimer's Association International Conference this week includes reports on clinical trials and details about a new generation of drugs that could treat Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders. "It would be premature to say we've turned the corner, but there's a lot going on in the pipeline that is quite promising," said Steven Ferris, who oversees Alzheimer's clinical trials at NYU Langone Medical Center. Reuters (7/18), National Public Radio (7/19)
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Study assesses end-of-life care for cancer types
Research conducted at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found that care provided at the end of life for patients with hematologic malignancies tended to be more aggressive than care received by patients with solid tumors. The study team surveyed 240 oncologists and found that hematology oncologists were more likely to recommend treatment in three case vignettes than solid-tumor oncologists. The finding were presented at a meeting of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer. Medscape (free registration) (7/20)
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Experimental cancer pain drug fails to reach primary goals
In a midstage clinical trial, adding the investigational drug fulranumab, an anti-nerve growth factor, to opioid therapy did not significantly reduce pain intensity or adequately control pain among terminally ill cancer patients. The placebo-controlled research, reported at a meeting of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, did find response rates to be greater than 30% with fulranumab. Medscape (free registration) (7/20)
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Health Policy & Practice
Medicare agency publishes first home health quality ratings
Star ratings for home health agencies have been released by the CMS on the Home Health Compare website. The ratings are based on patient assessments and Medicare claims data for nine measures of care quality. The site will be updated every three months. Health Data Management (7/17)
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Trends & Technology
Health accelerator welcomes new startup class
The accelerator Blueprint Health has selected eight health IT companies to join its eighth class of startups. Included in the group are Get Compliant, which has developed a HIPAA-compliant solution for physician practices, and Oculus Health, which has designed a system that uses Medicare's new billing code for chronic care to help primary care doctors get reimbursement for services provided outside the clinic. (7/17), HIT Consultant (7/16)
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Society & Ethics
Alzheimer's burden expected to soar
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
The annual cost of treating Alzheimer's disease is expected to rise from $11.9 billion in 2020 to more than $328 billion in 2040, according to new research. As baby boomers age, 28 million of them are projected to develop Alzheimer's disease over the next 35 years, and the cost of their care will consume one-quarter of total Medicare spending, according to research presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (7/20)
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2016 AAHPM & HPNA Interactive Educational Exchange
The call for the 2016 AAHPM & HPNA Interactive Educational Exchange is now open from July 1-August 4, 2015. This 90-minute special session presented at the Annual Assembly will allow sharing of innovative teaching materials and methods. Professionals and trainees involved in education from all palliative care disciplines are encouraged to submit. Learn more.
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Earn 25 MOC Part II credits for HMD PREP today
HMD PREP has been approved by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part II Credits. If your primary board is internal medicine and you are registered (or register) for MOC credits with ABIM, you are eligible to receive 25 medical knowledge self-assessment points at no additional cost. Learn more.
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An imitation may be quite successful in its own way, but imitation can never be Success. Success is a first-hand creation."
-- Henry Ford,
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