Right Care At The Right Time
Wednesday - September 19, 2007
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Americans are living longer than ever before. But the age-old question is: Are they living better? The answer is yes, because quality of life goes hand-in-hand with quality of care. As the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Hawaii, Mountain-Pacific Quality Health’s goal is to help ensure that Hawaii’s Medicare beneficiaries receive the very best quality care.
Quality health care can be simply defined as “every person receiving the right care at the right time.” As basic as this statement is, we know that quality means different things to different people. We can think about this two ways. First, let’s talk about customer satisfaction. Your satisfaction may depend on things like seeing the doctor on time, being treated well by the staff, or how you feel about being called by your first name.
The second aspect of health care quality is receiving the right medical care. Quality medical care is measured by how well a health care organization or doctor treats a medical condition or provides preventive care. This is commonly referred to as following “professionally recognized standards,” meaning that the care you received was similar to what would have been given to you by most doctors.
At Mountain-Pacific, we work with hospitals and physicians to ensure these practices and also to offer the best treatments for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and pneumonia. We also make sure that those undergoing surgery are given the best antibiotic therapies known to prevent infections.
Because prevention is the best medicine, seniors are encouraged to learn about important preventive health services covered by Medicare. These include annual screening mammograms, annual flu and pneumonia shots, regular foot exams, and dilated eye exams for people with diabetes.
Mountain-Pacific helps the health care community make changes to improve the quality of medical care in other ways. For example, doctors may use electronic health records to track your care. This lets them see all of your medical records and make better decisions about your care. The staff in your doctor’s office may have developed new procedures to make sure you get the right care for someone of your age or with your condition. Or maybe the staff does something as basic as marking the part of the body to be operated on, preventing a potential medical error. Because human beings are imperfect and make mistakes, it is important that systems like these are developed and used. These types of practices make sure patients receive quality care.
If you believe a Medicare provider may have placed your health at risk, voicing your concern can help make future patient care better. Mountain-Pacific reviews complaints from seniors, which include misdiagnosis, being prescribed the wrong medication, undergoing unnecessary surgery or tests, or receiving inadequate care.
If you are hospitalized, the hospital determines the type of services your medical attention requires. If Medicare does not cover these services, you will be notified by the hospital. However, if you disagree with the hospital’s determination, you have the right to appeal the hospital’s decision. Mountain-Pacific can help in these areas, and in a few others, such as mediation and Medicare appeal rights.
In an AARP article, AARP Hawaii state director Barbara Kim Stanton, said: “How we care for our kupuna as the number of island residents over the age of 60 grows is one of the most important issues of our time.” In keeping with our belief that quality of care leads to a better quality of life, Mountain-Pacific is actively involved in the state’s cultural change movement. The world of long-term care is entering a time of unprecedented change. On a scale never seen before, nursing homes across the country are embracing ideas that support the transformation from institutional care to individualized care. We want to change the nursing home atmosphere to a homelike setting. Nearly all of the 46 nursing homes in Hawaii are taking steps to apply cultural change into their facilities. Everybody wants to feel that they belong, and this movement is transforming care, and people’s lives.
If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, and you want to learn more about Mountain-Pacific, and the work we do, visit our booth at the 2007 Seniors’Fair/Good Life Expo, this weekend (Friday-Sunday, Sept. 21-23) at Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. In Hawaii, the spirit of aloha is about extending a warm welcome. At the Seniors’ Fair, we’ll show you how we do exactly that.
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