May 6th has long been the start of National Nurses Week, but in light of the COVID-19 pandemic the event has been expanded to honor nurses everywhere for the whole month of May, 2020. ANA Enterprise (a family of organizations that is composed of the American Nurses Association [ANA], the American Nurses Credentialing Center [ANCC], and the American Nurses Foundation [ANF]), made it a month-long celebration to highlight the extraordinary work nurses are doing every day.
What would a world look like without vaccines?
Now more than ever we are seeing the benefits of having vaccines for illnesses, and scientists all over the world are hard at work developing a vaccine for COVID-19. Once a safe and effective vaccine is developed, we will be able to vaccinate many people to help eliminate the risk of another crushing pandemic.
Navigating the stressors of a medically complicated birth can seem overwhelming, even for those that may have good health insurance and few barriers to resources. For families struggling to overcome disparities involving the social determinants of health, like lack of access to basic necessities (e.g. housing or food) or even managing addiction or mental health concerns, giving birth to a NICU baby can create further insecurities experienced by the whole family. This is where our team of social workers at ProgenyHealth play such a pivotal role in the lives of these vulnerable infants and their families, connecting them to vital local resources like food and housing, drug rehabilitation programs, and counseling services.
We are all facing a dynamic and challenging situation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our families, friends, customers, employees, and communities are all dramatically affected by the impact of the virus and its impact on the global economy. During this time, we wanted to reach out and share how our ProgenyHealth case managers are helping families to keep themselves, their infants and other young children in the family healthy, as well as to share tips on how to reduce your risk of infection.
As the Baby Boomer generation ages and many begin to deal with the usual health issues that come with getting older, much attention has been placed on the costs and resource utilization of medical care for this group. Data from CMS shows that approximately 30% of all Medicare spending occurs in the last year of beneficiary’s lives, with much of that spending taking place in the 6 months just prior to death. As shown on the chart Average Health Spending by Age in the United States, published on RegisteredNursing.org, there is a dramatic upward cost trend as people age. For a moment, let’s turn our attention to the opposite end of the spectrum and examine the often overlooked high costs that can arise at the beginning of life.
ProgenyHealth is the only company in the United States whose sole focus is the management of the care and support of infants hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit, as well as during the important months after their discharge from the hospital. We are privileged to work with over 1,400 NICUs across the US, with our board-certified neonatologists and pediatricians interacting and collaborating with the attending physicians and hospital-based teams to drive the best possible health outcome for each child.
World Prematurity Day (WPD) is recognized each year on November 17. It has been eleven years since it’s initiation by the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI). Designed to act as a reminder of the human and financial costs of premature births around the world, the theme this year is one that is often the goal of medical quality improvement experts, health care administrators, payers, and medical professionals throughout the United States: “Born Too Soon - Providing the right care, at the right time, in the right place.”
In September, NICU Awareness Month, we want to acknowledge that many factors outside of “typical” medical conditions demand holistic solutions in neonatal care. Deficiencies in the social determinants of health can become obstacles that lead to increased risk and poor outcomes, especially within this clinically vulnerable population. Consequently, providers, payers, and caregivers must work together to identify and address these factors which can negatively impact the health status of these infants.
This week marks World Breastfeeding Week, which is dedicated to the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide. Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things a mother can do for her baby. The health benefits for the baby are well known and well published. Included in Healthy People 2020’s agenda, are measures associated with increasing the number of mothers who choose to breastfeed their babies and goals for the length of time a baby is breastfed as well as improving work place support programs.
Medical costs for newborns are some of the fastest growing in healthcare - mostly driven by infants requiring NICU services. Such cases represent a small percentage of the newborn population (approx. 15%) but consume a large percent of the total cost of care for this group (>40%). The increasing costs are partially attributed to cases where claims are submitted for the newborn’s NICU admission with a single revenue code level that reflects a higher resource use intensity than is documented in the records for the duration of care, resulting in higher than expected costs to the health plan.