WEST LIBERTY — Barbara Sears, director of the Ohio Department of Medicaid, took an opportunity recently to see how Green Hills Community is serving the senior population of Logan and Champaign counties.
A highlight of the tour was a demonstration of the new state-of-the-art telehealth clinic in which she was able to connect with a healthcare professional 90 miles away in Bowling Green. The technology is part of a two-year pilot project that is being tested to reduce hospital re-admissions. The clinic is used on a regular basis to connect with the physician, when he is not making rounds in the nursing center.
Telehealth is a collaboration between Green Hills Community, LeadingAge Ohio, Ohio Eastern Star Home, and Optimized Care Network of New Albany.
While meeting with Director Sears, Green Hills staff discussed how current regulations challenge the widespread implementation of telehealth services in skilled nursing facilities. Without the ability to be reimbursed for the technology and technical support to implement these services, nursing facilities are not able to invest in better technology to help reduce hospital re-admissions. Telehealth allows for more timely treatment, eliminates the stress of a trip to the emergency department, reduces expense to the Medicare and Medicaid system, and allows families to directly connect in through videoconferencing allowing them to be more involved with their loved one’s care.
While on the Green Hills campus, Director Sears also toured a renovated affordable-living apartment that serves lower-income seniors and an assisted living apartment, where a limited amount of lower-income seniors, who need medical assistance, are served. During this part of the visit, discussions centered on regulatory changes that could allow Green Hills and other providers to more effectively serve seniors.
“This was a great opportunity for us to open up some dialog about the issues we face when helping our most vulnerable population. We are limited by the help that we can offer. By meeting with Director Sears, we are confident that we gave a voice to those who are most affected by the limits that are currently in place,” said Mike Ray, President/CEO of Green Hills.
Director Sears and her staff, Jenelle Hoseus, Chief of Staff, and Patrick Stephan, Director of Managed Care, were accompanied by Kathryn Brod, President/CEO, of LeadingAge Ohio.