by Patricia Yeager, Ph.D., CEO


Patricia Yeager, CEO of The Independence CenterThere is a “whole lotta shakin going on” in healthcare and in The IC’s Home Health division.  In 2018 we will spend a great deal of time figuring out the impact of a change the state has initiated in our Region’s healthcare system for Medicaid and Medicare/Medicaid (Dually Eligible) recipients.  The state has put out a call for one organization (or collaboration) to provide both physical and mental health services in a coordinated system.  Currently, RCCO 7 or Community Health Partnerships provides that coordination for physical health but that is all going to change by July 1, 2018.  More to come on that significant change after the first of the year because the state has not formally announced the successful bidders on all 7 of our Medicaid/Medicare regions.

In our own Home Health Division we have a new Director/Administrator, Gayle Royal.  She comes from Tucson, most recently working with Brookdale Skilled Nursing  services.   She has quite a record working with Home Health agencies to help them streamline processes, set up new services and enhance the home health administrative team’s ability to work together. All of this leads to better and faster services to our consumers.  We are also to offer our services to new payers such as Managed Care companies, insurance agencies and even private pay.  We are working to increase skilled services under Medicaid (CNA level and above) and of course, maintaining the unskilled or In Home Support Services program. This program remains our most popular as it pays family members and friends of consumers that qualify.  People love the flexibility of it and some really like having agency support of their independence.

Another service we are planning is a “disrupter” service. We hope to disrupt people with disabilities transitioning from the Hospital to a nursing home if they can recover in their homes with plenty of medical and community services support.  We have put together a team of organizations and services called the Disability Network for Hospital to Home Transitions.  We are waiting for word from Memorial Hospital about a possible pilot so more to come on that!

Next year, The IC will intensify its advocacy efforts on creating disability friendly healthcare locations across the Pikes Peak region.  This includes having accessible, 508 compliant websites, alternatives to print information from your healthcare provider, including (and making easier to get) sign language interpreters at all appointments, disability culturally competent healthcare staff and… a network of accessible offices where there are hi/low exam tables, wheelchair weight scales, accessible diagnostic equipment and listening loops for persons who are hard of hearing. Everyone deserves a full and complete examination in the healthcare provider’s office!  That is our goal in 2018.

For now, though, did you know that Medicaid recipients can document and complain about lack of disability access by calling XXXXX at the current Regional Care Coordination Organization (here that is the Community Health Partnership organization)?  If you feel you did not get a complete exam or have issues/concerns about the healthcare you received, I encourage you to call that number.  It is anonymous and the RCCO staff will investigate. This is the first step in letting our medical establishment know that we want full examination just like everyone else.

Happy Holidays; they are fast approaching…and let 2018 be the year that you get a complete health exam!