South Side Senior News & Notes
Summa’s Senior Emergency Department study shows ‘positive trends’ for seniors
DOWNTOWN AKRON — A two-month pilot study of patients ages 65 and older who utilized the Senior Emergency Department (ED) Program at Summa Health System’s Akron City Hospital found that patients benefited from: significantly reduced admissions (negative 4.3 percent); increased observation status (positive 1.7 percent); reduced use of urinary catheters (negative 2 percent); slightly shorter length of stay in the ED (negative 4 minutes); higher discharge to home rates (2.4 percent); no significant increase in ED revisits; and significantly increased patient satisfaction scores, according to Summa officials.
Results were compiled during a period from Jan. 23 through March 23 and were compared to the same time period from 2012, according to Summa officials. There were 2,286 visits analyzed for 2013, and the mean age was 78 years. The 2012 data were drawn from 2,260 eligible visits, also with a mean age of 78. Sixty percent were female in 2012 and 58 percent in 2013. Only those patients who were treated between 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. were studied.
“Our goals when we developed the Senior ED were to improve the quality of care for our older patients and provide them alternatives to hospital admission,” said Dr. Scott Wilber, medical director of senior emergency care and director of emergency medicine research at Summa. “It is still early in the process, but we are very encouraged with the results we’ve seen to date.”
Wilber presented the study findings Oct. 14 at the American College of Emergency Physicians’ annual conference in Seattle.
According to Summa officials, Summa’s Senior ED, which opened last fall, offers patients 12 specially designed private exam rooms and is staffed by emergency medicine physicians and clinicians expertly trained in geriatric medicine. Patients receive a complete medical assessment, and after discharge, patients receive a comprehensive plan, including access and support from Summa’s senior programming, as well as Summa’s home care and other community services.
OSHIIP available to help seniors access Medicare options
COLUMBUS — The Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) is available to help people assess their options during Medicare’s annual enrollment period, which runs through Dec. 7, for coverage to begin Jan. 1, announced Ohio Lt. Gov. and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor.
OSHIIP is Medicare’s designated and impartial educational program in Ohio for beneficiaries, family members and health care professionals, according to Taylor’s office.
“Open enrollment provides Ohioans with a great opportunity to review coverage and benefits and identify the plan best suited to meet their unique needs,” Taylor said. “Our staff can help consumers and their families go through the evaluation process as they select a plan for 2014.”
Taylor urges Ohioans to contact OSHIIP with their Medicare questions and for assistance. In addition, OSHIIP is holding free “Medicare Check-up” events in every county to help people review changes to Medicare and determine their most suitable coverage options. In Summit County, a Check-up event will be held Nov. 20 at 9 a.m. at the Twinsburg Senior Center, 10260 Ravenna Road, with a presentation at 9 a.m. and counseling by appointment. For an appointment or more details, call 330-963-8722. A list of other events around Ohio is available at www.insurance.ohio.gov.
Taylor said when reviewing options, people should ensure a plan’s list of covered drugs includes their needed prescriptions and to consider the convenience of having pharmacies in their network near where they live. It’s also important to take into account all out-of-pocket expenses before making a decision, she said.
Taylor cautions Ohioans to watch for predatory sales practices and offers that seem too good to be true. If you suspect wrongdoing or have been victimized, call the department’s fraud and enforcement hotline at 800-686-1527.
Those with Medicare questions and in need of enrollment assistance can call OSHIIP at 800-686-1578. A Medicare Check-up and annual Enrollment Toolkit, which includes a plans listing and outreach schedule, is available at www.insurance.ohio.gov. Information is also available by calling 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) and visiting www.medicare.gov.
SummaCare’s Medicare Advantage plans now available in 41 Ohio counties
AKRON — Medicare-eligible individuals can select comprehensive and affordable medical and pharmacy benefits from one of SummaCare’s three Medicare Advantage plans, according to SummaCare officials.
Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs through Dec. 7 for 2014 benefits. SummaCare, based in Akron, has expanded its service area this year to 18 new counties, now covering 41 counties in the northern half of Ohio, according to SummaCare officials.
SummaCare plan options this year are categorized as Ruby (HMO), Sapphire (HMO-POS) and Emerald (HMO-POS), with monthly premiums ranging from $0 to $165. All three plans include medical (including emergency room and urgent care) and pharmacy coverage; a $0 co-pay for visits to SummaCare primary care physicians; and $25 to $45 co-pays for specialist office visits, depending on the plan selected. Tier 1 preferred generic prescription drugs, 30-day or 90-day supply, have a $0 co-pay. Optional dental coverage also is available at all levels for an additional $25 monthly premium through a partnership with Delta Dental.
SummaCare also will continue to offer its Healthy You benefits to enrollees at no additional premium, including:
- SilverSneakers® Fitness Program for free access to participating gyms and wellness centers;
- EyeMed Vision Discount Program for discounts on comprehensive eye exams and hardware at participating locations;
- SummaCare’s 24-Hour Nurse Line for members to call with questions;
- Health Manager powered by WebMD for exclusive access to an online health manager;
- free flu shots from any SummaCare provider; and
- automatic health reminders to help members schedule check-ups and routine care.
Additional information about the plans and expanded provider network may be obtained by calling 888-945-9854 or online at www.summacare.com/medicare.
Kathleen Collins, Ariel Hakim and Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.
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