Editor’s Picks: Drones to Help Seniors Age in Place?

This week, Home Health Care News readers heard the latest about Amedisys, learned the status of improper home health Medicare payments and took a closer look at how one Pennsylvania health network has saved millions.

Here in the newsroom, we’re intrigued by a roboticist at the University of Illinois, who believes small, autonomous drones may one day help seniors age in place at home—but the seniors themselves aren’t quite so sure.

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Amedisys Offloads Property for $20 Million, Inks Deal with Intel-GE—Amedisys Inc. sold its corporate headquarters building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System for $20 million. Amedisys, which plans to stay in Baton Rouge, has also entered into a multi-year partnership with Intel-GE Care Innovations to extend remote care management services across its 34-state footprint.

Improper Home Health Payments Rising—Improper Medicare payments are increasing in prevalence, and medical necessity errors and insufficient documentation were the chief causes of improper Medicare payments during fiscal year 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Fiscal Year 2015 Agency Financial Report. The improper payment rate for home health claims was 58.95% in fiscal year 2015, compared with 51.38% in fiscal year 2014.

Health Network Saves $5 Million Through Home Care Program—Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Health Network (AHN) has ramped up its home care program to better streamline its services, saving millions of dollars in the process. The health network launched its Healthcare@Home program last year, and since then, AHN boosted its service offerings and post-acute connections, resulting in about $5 million in savings from avoided hospital readmissions within a month of discharge.


Weekend Read

As Aging Population Grows, So Do Robotic Health Aides—Roboticists and doctors predict that a new wave of advances in robotic, computerized and Internet-connected technologies will be available in coming years to help older adults remain at home longer, according to this New York Times article. A roboticist at the University of Illinois, for example, has begun experimenting with small autonomous drones to help seniors at home, calling them “Bibbidi Bobbidi Bots” to make them seem less intimidating.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson

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