Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ramifications of Loss of Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

By Ted Chan, Founder & CEO of CareDash

Millions of Americans might be about to lose health care, potentially triggering a crisis at medical facilities across the nation. The GOP now controls the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. They will likely make good on their promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare.) While Republican lawmakers have consistently promised to “repeal and replace” the law that insured 22 million, so far Congress has offered no plan for insuring those who can’t afford insurance or can’t get covered because of pre-existing conditions.. We anticipate this will have major ramifications for caregivers, and significantly impact the work experience.


Difficult Decisions When Providing Care for Uninsured
Hospitals cannot turn away patients solely because they lack insurance coverage. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTLA) is a federal law mandating the provision of stabilizing treatment in emergency situations and to women in labor. Hospitals that don’t comply can lose Medicaid funding.

Providers are not, however, required to offer anything beyond stabilizing care. No law mandates cancer treatment, extensive diagnostic services for non-emergent medical issues, or other potentially life-saving treatment. The Affordable Care Act provides coverage for preventative care, but that mandate may also soon disappear.

This leaves providers to interpret the law and assess what ethical care demands. Provide too much care to an uninsured patient and you may bankrupt your hospital. Offer too little care, and you could lose Medicaid funding. This dilemma doesn't even take into account that providers are treating human beings. The stress—and bad publicity—of turning away someone in need can be overwhelming.

High Costs of Unpaid Care
The EMTLA is an unfunded mandate. One recent study found that half of hospital bills go unpaid. Compliance with the law, particularly in poor and disenfranchised areas, can cost hospitals millions. Providers may try to make up for this loss by limiting unreimbursed care only to emergencies, and never providing extra care when the law does not require it.

No provider went through years of school to view their patients as paychecks, but the realities of unreimbursed care can fundamentally alter the patient-provider relationship. Health care professionals may find themselves assessing whether a patient can pay before they recommend treatment, or may adjust their care recommendations based on perceptions about a patient's finances. Research shows that the uninsured receive fewer health interventions and stay for shorter periods in hospitals.

Worse Health for Patients and Lower Morale for Health Care Providers
When patients lose insurance coverage, they turn to emergency rooms for treatment. This consistently results in lower quality care. Rather than the ongoing monitoring and communication that marks a healthy doctor-patient relationship, patients seeking care in the emergency room receive only stabilizing treatment. They don’t form relationships with doctors and nurses who understand their lifestyles and needs, and they're unlikely to receive preventative care, weight loss counseling, advice about nutrition, and other medical information that can empower good health.

The cost is high. The uninsured have a 39 percent higher mortality rate. There’s simply no way to quantify the emotional toll on families, friends, and communities of this tragic outcome.

Opponents of government programs to increase health care coverage, including the ACA, argue that the programs are too expensive. Cutting these programs merely shifts the burden. When hospital bills go unpaid, taxpayers and local governments are often forced to pick up the tab. The question is not whether health care coverage should be paid for; it’s who pays. No one benefits when the poorest among us are denied care.

Ted Chan created CareDash to address the need for transparency and improve the quality of healthcare information available for all Americans.

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Thanks Ted. We also need to consider the vast number of jobs to be LOST by eliminating the ACA. Just another ramification. Please contact your elected officials immediately!

Image: Pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Seven Things You Should Know about ATI TEAS (TEAS VI) VS. TEAS V


A Guest Post by Katie Meir

The official TEAS test entered its 6th edition and is called the "ATI TEAS." If you are starting to research the TEAS exam, or preparing for your upcoming exam, you must be aware of the differences between the old and new versions. While, some schools still accept TEAS V results, you can no longer take it. So, what should you take into consideration before taking this exam?

1. What is the TEAS exam?
The TEAS is a nursing entrance exam with four sections: English and Language Usage, Reading, Math, and Science. Most nursing programs will either require you to take the TEAS before submitting your application or will invite you to take the test once you have passed the preliminary rounds of the application process. ATI TEAS includes changes in both format and content. Therefore, in order to outperform your competition, use updated preparation materials.

2. What is the test format?
The TEAS is a multiple-choice test. Each section has its own time limit and breaks are allowed between the sections. Check with your test center in advance to help you better prepare for your test day. The test includes 170 questions, only 150 of which are graded. However, you cannot know which questions count and which do not.


3. How is the Reading section formatted?
On the ATI TEAS, the Reading section consists of 53 questions to be answered in 64 minutes. This section includes three main topics: key ideas and details, craft and structure, and integration of knowledge and ideas. This section examines your ability to read and interpret text, identify arguments and key themes, and draw conclusion.

4. How is the Math section formatted?
The new TEAS Math section includes 36 questions with a 54-minute time limit. The most important change is that calculators are permitted on the ATI TEAS. The math section includes two topics: number & algebra and measurement & date. You’re required to demonstrate various abilities and knowledge of arithmetic, ratios, proportions, algebra, data presentation analysis, etc.

5. How is the Science section formatted?
The Science section is notoriously difficult for many. 53 questions must be answered in 63 minutes. The three main topics are human anatomy & physiology, life & physical sciences, and scientific reasoning. The main focus is on anatomy & physiology. While you prepare for the Science section, you should focus on understating the functions of different body systems.

6. How is the English section formatted?
In the English section, there are only 28 minutes to answer 28 questions. To answer questions accurately, a solid understanding of grammar is required. In addition, you’ll need to demonstrate your abilities in spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and word meaning.


7. How would it be best to prepare?
Now that you are aware of the differences between the two versions, search for material that may be beneficial to your preparations. Look for transparency and clarity, and try to evaluate how much you can benefit from it and how relevant it is to your test prep. Free resources might help, but if you really want to outperform your competition, you should consider using some paid resources. Invest now in your future. Good luck!



Katie Meir is a product manager at TestPrep-Online and a TEAS specialist.
TestPrep-Online offers exclusive PrepPacks™ for a wide variety of tests for students from kindergarten through graduate school and has helped thousands of test takers reach their academic goals through using online PrepPacks™.



Great information. Thanks Katie!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year 2017!


The new year always brings renewed energy and focus. May your choices be wise and fruitful. Wishing you success and happiness. Remember to take care of YOU so that you can give your best to your patients, your colleagues and families. Happy 2017!


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Book Review: The Joy of Nursing Reclaiming Our Nobility

Have you ever thought about how many "first patients" you have had in your career? I certainly remember my very first patient in nursing school for a variety of reasons, but that's a story for another day.  I don't think I really ever thought about categorizing all of the other "firsts" into one bigger category however.  The first baby I saw being born, the first patient who coded, the first one who died, the first time I truly saved a patient's life, and then the first one who truly practically pulled my heart strings out. WOW! Yes, I've had a great career.

Today I picked up a book sent to me for review and I couldn't put it down.  The Joy of Nursing Reclaiming Our Nobility by Juliana Adams, BSN, MSN, MA, is one of the most compelling books about a nurse's long career that I have read in a long time.  She validates the reasons I wanted to become a nurse as she tells her stories and finds her concept of nobility in nursing.

It's no surprise the book was a finalist for the 2016 USA Best Book Award. It's a must read for anyone considering a career in nursing. Adams doesn't mince words as she shares stories of her real world challenges and triumphs in the nursing profession. "To be a nurse you have to be tough, and you have to be gentle." She tells it like it is, and also leads the reader to see the silver lining and understand the calling to be a nurse and to truly make a difference in lives everyday.
 



Thursday, December 1, 2016

National CPR Association Honors the NursingSiteBlog.com

I recently received notice that TheNursingSiteBlog was chosen as one of the Top 10 Blogs for Nurses in 2016 by the National CPR Association. I am always humbled to be honored and to be listed in such great company. Please check out the other 9 blogs in this list. They are all terrific! Thank you National CPR Association.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

American Healthcare is in Jeopardy

Healthcare is on the front burner in American politics. The new regime has promised to overturn the ACA (Affordable Care Act) aka "Obamacare," something that has been tried many times since it became law and has failed. This time it might not. And they have assured us they intend to act swiftly. We need to act now!!

What are the consequences?
It is TERRIFYING to think that the action may be taken without a thought or care as to what to do after the fact.  Suddenly literally Millions of Americans could find themselves without ANY health insurance and NO options.

For years the Republican party has shouted they have a better plan and idea, but never once have they brought forth any ideas for change except to dump it all together despite multiple invitations from President Obama. NOW is the time to speak up and make a better plan.

The ACA is not perfect
It was never a clean bill. For one thing it is cluttered with so many extraneous attachments that have nothing to do with healthcare whatsoever. The bill is over 900 pages and really only about 100 pages actually pertain to the ACA.

It was flawed bill from the beginning particularly when no restraints were placed on insurance companies to continue to gouge employers, individuals, and pay providers intentionally minute payments. The business of health insurance was basically untouched. The CEOs still receive enormous salaries and bonuses and the insurance companies have done their best to build a maze to confuse and frustrate!!! There were better options, but they were defeated.
On a personal note: my ACA policy's rates continue to rise exponentially every year. BUT despite that, the alternative would absolutely bankrupt me if I had to once again pay out of pocket just for medications for my family member. I'm STILL paying the credit card bills from several years of no insurance due to the preexisting conditions  that the ACA eliminated.
Another complication stems from basing premiums on the number of insured in a particular plan. There are simply too many plans and not enough people in each one to keep the costs down!! The process must be simplified without sacrificing options. The healthy don't need to have the same plan as someone with multiple conditions and medications, but neither needs to be penalized. It can be done. There just needs to be care and consideration of consequences and an effort to work together for the best for all Americans!!

Healthcare is NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE!! 
It should not be treated as an "Us vs Them" matter. We have to get real about this. Bullying has NO place! There are so many new illnesses and viruses and challenges facing us every year in addition to the fact that we have an aging population with a whole different set of challenges. We are ALL affected equally. And no one is immune.

Despite it's problems, the ACA has afforded millions more Americans with some form of healthcare and saved so very many from needless
suffering and death with medications and treatments they otherwise had no access to or means to afford. More children than ever before have access to wellness and preventative care to set them on the right foot towards long, healthy lives.

We are not a 3rd world country! We need to fight to remain a world leader and to retain respect especially in the global economy and healthcare realms. We can't do that if we don't take care of our own!!

Healthcare Professionals Need to Unite and Educate
As healthcare professionals we need to stand together and fight for a better plan for all Americans; not to eliminate it all together. We need to be bold enough to demand insurance companies provide affordable options and assistance to everyone and reasonable payments to providers.

Most importantly, we need to contact our legislators (most of whom remain from the previous term) and make them aware of the measure of crisis they can create if the abolish the ACA with wild abandonment and don't make provisions. Better yet, work together as a TEAM and fix the ACA. We cannot return to having more than half of our population without healthcare. It's simple Email or Call your legislators today!


PREVENTION Lowers Risks and Costs
As nurses we are charged with the most important role of patient education. When 50% of the population doesn't understand enough about their own health status, needs, prevention and care we have to step up to the plate and educate them.

By improving the process of PREVENTION and lowering the RISKS, we help to lower the overall costs. If we deny Americans access again, the RISKS will rise again and only drive costs higher and higher. NONE of us can afford that!!!



Monday, October 31, 2016

Top 5 Tips to Get the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Training



By Muhammad Ahmad 

The most practical approach to adopt when you have decided to become a nurse is to become a CNA or a Certified Nursing Assistant as a first step. From there you may decide you love being a CNA, or decide to follow your plan to become a practical or registered nurse. To become a CNA, you have to pass the CNA training course and then a state CNA exam.

Just like in any other course of study, you have to do really well in it to be eligible to take the state CNA exam. And you have to do well on the exam to become certified to practice as a CNA. Once you are done with your course and exam, and you are extremely motivated, no one can stop you from becoming a excellent Certified Nursing Assistant.

To become a CNA, you should be well prepared. Here are some awesome guidelines which can lead you down the path to become the best CNA.

1. Get Your Horses Ready from High School
While getting your horses ready is just an expression, you should start preparing yourself for becoming a CNA while in high school or even before. You should opt for those subjects which revolve around health care and science. You have to be able to work with math minimally at a 7th grade level (which includes adding, subtracting, multiplication and some division.) You also have to prove your competency to read and write English, and the better you are at these, the easier it will be to compete in school and in the job arena.

Taking extra courses related to the health field can be a big advantage because you will get to know about a lot of health care issues from an early age. This can also help you in preparing for your CNA  exam. As you become familiar with the various anatomical functions of a human body, this will help you provide the best care for your patients suffering from different diseases.

2. Get Your Diploma or GED
The basic requirement for CNA training is to be a high school graduate. So, if you are still in school and aspiring to serve people by becoming a CNA, you should keep working hard to get your high school diploma. However, if for some reason you are not able to get your diploma, then you should obtain a GED to qualify for becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant .

3. Enroll in a CNA Training Certification Program
Different types of CNA training programs are offered nationwide. Some have a short duration, while the others have a considerably longer one. And the prices for tuition varies greatly as well. The type of a job you will get depends entirely upon the training program you undergo, so do your research.

Every CNA training program requires 75 hours of clinical and classroom training. Keep it in mind that you will have to participate in clinical hours as well as classroom hours and pass the CNA exam. Some programs will arrange and schedule the practical hours for you, and some require you find your own source. There is no need to take your training in a rush. This training is really important as it will teach you all the requirements to become a good CNA. Take your time and learn as much as you can.

4. Take Your CNA Exam
The CNA exam is taken at the state level. Every training program clearly tells you where and when you can take your exam. The state board of nursing is the main body behind this decision. However, understand that your exam date will not necessarily fall right after the day when your finish your training. Sometimes, aspiring CNAs have to wait for a few weeks after completing their training to take the exam. So be sure to keep studying.

This exam basically determines how much you have learned during your training program. The written part of the exam mostly consists of multiple choice questions to test your level of understanding through some conceptual questions. There is also a practical part to the test in which you have to demonstrate what you have learned during all that time spent in the clinical part. You will be assigned to take care of a patient in front of the examiner and demonstrate practically what you have learned to show that you can practice safely as a CNA.

5. Get Your Certification and Apply for a Job
Once you are done with your exams, you will apply for and receive your certificate in the mail and then be able to start applying for jobs. Remember to keep up with your continuing education hours to renew your certification per your state’s requirement approximately every one to two years. 


Muhammad Ahmad is a certified nursing assistant specialist advisor who has helped many students as well nurses guiding them the best path to become a certified nursing assistant. His current project cnacareersmart.com includes various articles and affiliated videos.(Photo credits: Shutterstock)

Thanks Muhammad !


Friday, October 28, 2016

Compression Socks Winning Over Nurses

Wow it's been awhile hasn't it? Well life happens and things turn on a dime. And slowly you pick yourself up and move forward again. My MIL is now living with us as we continue with renovations to my home and deal with the clutter and dirt! Oh such fun!!!! I think I need to work just to feel normal and get some relief!

Meanwhile, I received a complimentary sample of Fresh Legs TM compression socks a few weeks ago just before life got totally crazy. Compression socks are being touted as miracles for nurses and I understand exactly why that is. They do make your legs feel better and give you the ability to be on your feet for hours with far less pain and discomfort.

My job is primarily a desk job, but since they work well for traveling and sitting for long hours, they do help keep my ankles and legs from swelling.

Fresh Legs TM offer a large variety of colors and styles including compression sleeves for legs and a comfort sock as well. They have both contemporary and classic designs for men and women, and the socks are very well made. The wide seamless toe box is great!

I've tried some other brands that unraveled after the first washing, but these hold up quite well. Some other brands have become way too tight to wear after a first washing, but these didn't do that either. Give them a look.

UPDATE: Use code FRESH101 on your first order and save 30%

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