Information exchanges will enhance long-term care planning

The federal government recently announced certain financial expansions of Medicaid Services pertaining to long-term care facilities and other health care providers nationwide, including in Texas. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that it will permit states to request 90 percent enhanced matching funds to assist long-term care facilities and others to improve their services. This should prove to be positive news for the elderly population that currently struggles with the choices regarding home care and long-term care planning as well as how to fund the services.

One major purpose of the enhancements is to fill a gap that now exists where the Medicaid providers do not share a health information exchange to coordinate and make their services more uniform. The changes intend to assist in creating such an exchange that will allow for sharing of information on a more uniform basis. The ultimate goal is to improve performance and the delivery of services across the board.

With modern technological advances being available on a wide basis, the agencies stated that providers could improve patient care. This will be done by sharing information much more completely and accurately than it does today. Over the long term, this modernization effort will improve the performance of the whole network of health care providers by enhancing their access to information and their ability to communicate.

On a practical level, this will facilitate the sharing of patient's information in Texas between doctors and other service providers. This is contemplated to create a more complete care team that can collaborate more effectively for the best treatment plans for Medicaid recipients. In addition, sharing information over an exchange can assist patients with multiple chronic health conditions when they interact with hospitals, specialists, home healthcare providers and pharmacies. When these systems become established, they should also make the job of long-term care planning easier to carry out.

Source: healthcareitnews.com, "CMS backs interoperability for long-term care facilities, behavioral health", Bill Siwicki, Mar. 2, 2016

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