On the Healthcare Front
Issue #17: July 2023
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when should you call kepro?
- If you are not ready to be discharged from the hospital.
- If your Medicare skilled services are ending too soon. Examples of skilled services include things like physical therapy and nursing services.
- If you have a concern about the quality of care you received.
- If you have a concern about your medical care that needs to be taken care of right away.
Click on the link below for the phone number for your state. These services are free for people who have Medicare.
july is uv awareness month
Protecting yourself when you’re out in the sun is important not only in the summertime, but also throughout the year.
Read more about how to stay safe in the sun:
a few useful phone numbers for your reference
Sometimes it’s confusing about what phone number to call when you’re looking for information about things like Medicare billing questions, assistance programs, and Medicare fraud.
This list of helpful phone numbers will help you find the right numbers to call.
Helpful phone numbers (PDF)
As part of being involved with your own healthcare, you may have access to your medical information through a patient portal that you would access through the internet.
Patient portals can help you keep track of your doctor visits, test results, prescriptions, and so on. You can also send non-urgent messages to your provider through the portal.
If you’re not familiar with patient portals, you can read Patient Portals – an online tool for your health on the National Library of Medicine website.
Having the internet gives you online access to your important medical information. But it can be expensive for some.
If you or someone you know needs help paying for internet service, you may qualify for a monthly discount on a new or existing internet service plan through a government program called the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Get Important News and Updates
Get reminders about open enrollment, ways to save costs, and more from Medicare. To sign up, visit www.medicare.gov and scroll down the page.
Immediate Advocacy is a free service for people with Medicare. It is used to help people quickly resolve a problem about medical care or services. Immediate Advocacy often involves Kepro calling a healthcare provider or facility on behalf of the patient.
Nerve pain can be a debilitating issue in one’s life. It makes it difficult to do everyday tasks. Mary knew all about this problem, as she had a pinched nerve in her neck. This caused pain to move from her neck to her right arm and elbow. Sometimes, it even affected her hand. As with many others, this was Mary’s dominant arm, and she needed to be able to do everyday tasks.
To give her relief, Mary went to her doctor, had physical therapy, and took all the proper steps to help her get better. While these steps were very helpful, lifting and pulling heavier amounts still caused the nerve pain to flare up. Therefore, when Mary was faced with the decision to help her sick mother inside of her own home, she knew that this would be a factor in her overall choice.
Sadly, Mary’s mother was bedbound. Thankfully, with help from some family members, Mary would have the support to assist her mother with everyday tasks. However, when the extra help was not there, Mary would need to shift her mother often to stop bedsores from happening. Bedsores are unfortunately a very common issue when one is bedbound due to the pressure on the skin from staying in one spot. That pressure can cause open wounds that are very painful. They also present the possibility for infection.
Mary knew that she would be able to move her mother much easier if she had a hospital bed. A hospital bed would allow her to lift the head of the bed, adjust her mother’s legs and feet, and put her mother at a height where there would not be as much strain on Mary’s body to move her. Yet, Mary did not get the answers she needed from those she asked, and she was frustrated with the lack of information. She wanted her mother to live with her, but if she did not get this equipment, it would not be possible.
Kepro’s Immediate Advocacy program was the answer to Mary’s concerns. As Mary talked with the Kepro nurse, she learned that she needed to get a doctor’s order from her mom’s primary care physician to have it covered by Medicare. After she had the doctor’s order, she would be able to call the equipment company and schedule delivery for the hospital bed. When she hung up the phone, Mary had a clear idea about the process she needed to follow.
Mary called a local equipment company and waited for the delivery of the hospital bed. But, it never came. After a few calls to the medical equipment company with no response, Mary decided to call Kepro’s Immediate Advocacy program again. The Kepro nurse called the medical equipment company and spoke to the manager to learn about what was happening, some kind of glitch with the paperwork. The manager said that everything was straightened out and the bed should be delivered that week.
Medicare will cover hospital beds to use at home when they're medically necessary. To get coverage, you'll need a doctor's order stating that your condition requires a hospital bed. Medicare Part B, as well as Medicare Advantage, will pay a part of the cost.
The lines of communication were successfully opened to make sure Mary’s mother got the equipment she needed. As a result, Mary was able to easily shift her mother as she had hoped. Her concerns were eased about her ability to make her mother comfortable at home.
It is not just the sick loved one that is affected by a transition in healthcare. Family members are directly impacted. In this case, Kepro was able to help Mary get what she needed to provide for her mother and care for her own health in the process.
Read about Kepro’s Immediate Advocacy Services
Learn about other programs available for caregivers on our Family Caregiver's Month page.
Listen to our podcast episode about caregiving – A Conversation About Caregiving – to learn about programs available in your state.
Publication No. RI146810-301-6/2023. This material was prepared by Kepro, a Medicare Quality Improvement Organization under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents presented do not necessarily reflect CMS policy.