To the Editor:
As Oct. 1 approaches, hospitals throughout New Jersey brace themselves for the new Medicare rule to take effect, penalizing 62 hospitals throughout the state. The average .67% penalty (highest loss of any other state) affects hospitals whose Medicare patients returned within 30 days of discharge.
Overlook Medical Center and are the only two hospitals in NJ not penalized, as they have low readmission rates. Coincidentally, Medicare patients being discharged from these Centers also rely on SAGE Eldercare.
SAGE is a safety-net for thousands of older adults, offering 12 integrated programs focused on health, safety, and social supports. Since our inception in 1954, our focus is to coordinate seniors’ care, ease transitions between care settings and help them live at home with dignity.
SAGE Eldercare formalized this effort with our own evidence-based care transitions program, GPS (Guidance, Planning and Support) Services, for seniors who are residing at home after hospitalization, sub-acute rehabilitation, and Medicare-certified home care. GPS Care Navigators, nurses specializing in geriatrics, visit the homes of older adults and evaluate their health, home safety, and caregiver assistance; reconcile medications and liaison with physicians, pharmacists and other allied professionals; and offer solutions to meet the individual needs of the clients.
We are grateful for our community partners: Overlook Foundation, Summit Area Public Foundation, The Blanche M. and George L. Watts Mountainside Community Foundation, Inc., Fred C. Rummel Foundation, and The Westfield Foundation who understand the critical community service GPS provides and have invested in the wellness of older adults in our region. We are also fortunate to have the support of Dr. Michele Elkins, Dr. Steven Sheris and Dr. John Heath who have lent their expertise to steer the GPS program and whose patients have benefited as well.
SAGE Eldercare looks forward to remaining on the cutting-edge of senior services, collaborating with more community partners, and providing increased programs that enhance the health and wellness of older adults and their caregivers in our region.
Jessica Rosenzweig Gruber, MPH
Executive Director, SAGE Eldercare