The Great American Senior Show

Ken Peach, Executive Director, Health Care Council of East Central Florida Episode 1

August 01, 2022 Sam Yates Season 2 Episode 79
The Great American Senior Show
Ken Peach, Executive Director, Health Care Council of East Central Florida Episode 1
Show Notes Transcript

Health care, especially for our seniors, is an every-day evolving topic. When it comes to keeping the differing levels of health care sorted and fine-tuned to meet the health care challenge in Florida, Ken Peach, the Executive Director of the Health Care Council of East Central Florida is considered one of the leading experts in the field.

Mr. Peach serves on a myriad of health care councils and boards while sharing expertise from each with the entire group. 

The Great American Senior Show's grey-haired host, Sam Yates, sat down with Ken Peach at the Space Coast Health Care Foundation for today's show.

Sam Yates:

Hello, everyone and welcome to another exciting edition of The Great American Senior Show. I'm Sam Yates, your gray-haired host. And today I'm lucky to have a friend of mine and also an expert in a variety of different expertise. Ken Peach is with me, Ken, welcome to the program. Sam.

Ken Peach:

It's wonderful. Thank you.

Sam Yates:

Can you are Executive Director of the Health Council of East Central Florida, a member of the Brevard Community Health Care Coalition and many others around the state, how is it that you have all the talent that you could get involved in all of these different organizations,

Ken Peach:

Part of the job of the Health Council of the Central Florida which is the planning organization is to be engaged across all of the counties we serve. And so as a result of that, I probably serve Sam on eight or nine different boards related to community health in each of those counties that we serve.

Sam Yates:

And, you know, I mentioned that you and I have a friendship and we also have a kindred friendship in that we both have a broadcasting background and I always love to let our audience know a bit more than just name and title for someone. Tell us about your background.

Ken Peach:

I actually started in broadcasting in high school and volunteering and then working for a radio station on the Jersey Shore that I ended up actually rebuilding from the ground up years later after school graduated from Seton Hall University which while there participated on WSU their FM station into Manhattan, and then ended up coming down to the to Florida to buy and run WWF L in Clermont, Florida for a while before switching over to healthcare.

Sam Yates:

And you know, just for our audience, if you're ever around someone, and they're telling you a radio or television names, and they get down to the call letters. One cue as to far as how far they are into it as being a professional. They say W and you know, and I chuckled because there it is kid is like WWE. And that's true even down to identifying the the website instead of W it's w. So just a little tidbit

Ken Peach:

and it would have been Wk RP using my initials. But somebody else got a TV show with that first.

Sam Yates:

And I swear I thought turkeys could fly one of the greatest episodes of all time, and I love that program. But let's let's switch back to health care. We are still in the emergent side and emerging from a COVID pandemic. I know that we still have the remnant violence, it's still wreaking havoc in a lot of different areas. People are ill, we still have a higher than normal ba five variant, and others I'm sure are going to come along. One of the key lessons out of all of that is we have a very vulnerable population, our senior population, we found that they were being cared for in a variety of institutions. But looking back now, those that were cared for at home or were provided, stay at home opportunities fared much better. key lesson,

Ken Peach:

I think there's a realization, the one thing that COVID has done for Sam is it's moved us much further along. Telehealth was something that played a very minor role. You know, the idea of treating individuals, seniors and others in their home from a distance was just not something that had really taken off, it probably moved a decade ahead because of COVID. We're also seeing the expansion through technology of wearables, how many of us wear some type of an Apple watch or something that's giving us an indication of our cardiac health at any one time, mobile services, more and more services now delivered in the home mobile diagnostics, labs. And then the newer thing right now is the use of AI in texting, for example, reminders, what we call device lists, remote patient monitoring, so that every day you receive a message that says you know, how are you feeling? Click one or push two and, and that way, somebody's analyzing that and saying, Okay, we need to go out and see Sam today or okay. So a lot of new technology has enabled us to move care from you going to care to care coming to you. And

Sam Yates:

I think even from an insurance standpoint, I know it seems like decades ago, but when we were talking about remote care, even in the insurance coding, there was not a classification even as vast as the ICD 10 happened to be today. There is, so more and more of those types of services are being covered by insurance,

Ken Peach:

right? Actually, we saw a major shift as well, because physicians ran into problems. As individuals were afraid to come out to see their doctors, the physicians had to figure out a way so they very quickly adopted telehealth. But those practices that we're doing traditional medicine, had 20%, I believe, of the US physicians, primary care physicians in the country, are either jeopardized for future or went out of practice.

Sam Yates:

You know, and you and I both are voracious readers, we read anything that happens to get in front of us, when it comes to healthcare, and some of the technology you're talking about AI in particular, the wearables. An interesting article, that is not was not a recent article, but was about at home care, where the providing agency or providers actually installed sensors, for example, in the shower. And those sensors were able to give a reading of that person's health just from the effluent from the water and the interaction with a person's body. It's amazing

Ken Peach:

company actually developed here in Central Florida, received some funding, or a number of years ago, I opened up down in Miami, and they use exactly what you're saying. But not only that, but they can actually because their computer can analyze that can determine if an individual is developing an issue by the change in their living pattern, because that's established over a couple of weeks. And then the system notes, wait a minute, maybe someone unfortunately, is getting up more often in the middle of the night. What is that indicating possibly, you know, UTI, or some other health issue.

Sam Yates:

And then it gets back to that notification process. And, you know, I hate to say that we're experiencing better health and better aging through technology. But we are a lot of people have shied away from that. And today, I think they're not necessarily shying away from it. Because it's not that notable as far as, Hey, Sam, we are monitoring, blah, blah, blah, it's an unknown that probably is helping us out a lot.

Ken Peach:

There was a physician up in Maine a number of years ago, who was losing patients, because the families would invite their parents to move away from the neighborhood and the life that they knew come down south to Florida or somewhere, because we're concerned about you being by yourself. So he hired a bunch of people put them in a room with TV monitors, they put a camera under the bed, and a sensor. And when that person got up in the middle of the night, they would know and they can make sure that they got back in safely. I remember him telling us the story of this one woman who, for some reason was on her couch in the middle of the night, and they sent the neighbor over, she had turned off her furnace in Maine instead of turning off the light. And as a result, it was 60 something degrees in the home and she's in there shivering, they were able to give her soup and no emergency department, no hospitalization.

Sam Yates:

And that that leads right into aging in place. That is a buzz phrase that is gaining popularity. It's been around a while, but not just within our healthcare communities. But it's also within our builders, communities that are builders associations around the country, the National builders are all recognizing from builders all the way down to grassroots that our vulnerable population of seniors and those with an illness or disability of some type are better off aging and home some of the statistics that you may share?

Ken Peach:

Well, first of all, there are 76 million baby boomers and people forget, that's 18 years from 1946 to 64. So we only began to see them changing, you know, to 65 and 2011. It'll be 2029 before this ends, so we have a long ways to go yet. And the boomers when asked years ago said hey, we're not going to age gracefully. So if you look at their desire, it is to live independently. Life expectancy has climbed from 60 at age 65, from about 12 years back in the 1900s to 19 years now in 2010, beyond age 65, and we're expected to actually outnumber the number of children. So that means less children to take care of us. So how do we stay independent and part of that is we have to provide support. And so more and more efforts are being made now to enable individuals as you're saying Sam to live at home in some type of a setting in their later years. So they don't have to go into institutional housing,

Sam Yates:

that move to care at home though it's a big story. It's something that we all need to pay attention to.

Ken Peach:

Right bend and you know, the the other piece of that, as I alluded to in the main story is people don't want to be torn out of the neighborhoods and where they've lived. And if you can keep them there, that is a tremendous, tremendous support. Because, you know, speaking very generally people resist change as they get older.

Sam Yates:

Now, before we get too much further into the program, I tried to keep an eye on things. And you and I could sit and talk all day long. I mean, we have proven that many times at some of the meetings we attend. But will you be able to come back and be my guest? Again, at some point, if you want to be my honor? All right, great. We're gonna I'm gonna hold you to that, because I know our audience really enjoys people just as much as they enjoy information. And I know that a lot of folks are attuned to podcast as a new method of communications. And I want to come back to that in a moment if I could. But health care facilities and hospitals right now, in all of the areas that you and I are involved in, what are the big things are trying to do is reduce the number of readmissions? Why is that important?

Ken Peach:

readmissions for two reasons? One, I don't think any of us when we come out of the hospital want to go back into the hospital within 30 days. Right. And that's what that readmission period is. And the other thing is Medicare has basically said, Why are we paying for individuals to be treated in your hospital, they come out and then they go right back in, and you're asking us to pay for it again. So they now penalized financially, the hospitals for those readmissions. So as a result of that, you have both the hospital desiring to control that. And also you have individuals who would prefer to stay out.

Sam Yates:

And when you say penalized, I think that was probably something that those within the industry, were taking a look at and wondering, is that actually going to go into effect? It has,

Ken Peach:

yes, to a degree, keeping in mind that the hospitals make a great deal of money for having patients in the hospital. But they are making this effort to try and keep individuals out as much as possible and hospitals are changing, we're seeing a move toward more and more outpatient has been going on for years. And what we're seeing now is that independent organizations are actually growing faster than the hospitals themselves. And so more and more businesses going out of the hospitals and into the settings, leaving us with probably the future of intensive care and emergency department paying pretty much the hospital services.

Sam Yates:

And even to the point of having some hospitals going into a ventricle hospital at home.

Ken Peach:

Yes, hospital at home. And we're also seeing Skilled Nursing Facility at home, we're seeing more and more desire, again, to keep individuals whether they're in an acute episode. And by using daily visits by using remote patient monitoring we referenced earlier in the show, these are the things that are allowing the individuals excuse me to age at home and and to be able to stay out of the hospital.

Sam Yates:

A recurring theme, as we talk to hospital officials or healthcare officials of any sort, even right down to the local level is yes, we go to conferences, yes, we get together for meetings, and we come away with great ideas to improve everything that we are doing for the ultimate patient care and the continuum of care, then it all sort of begins to dissolve. And the reason given for that dissolving of the focus is lack of communications.

Ken Peach:

And so often it's actually lack of communications between the healthcare providers themselves. So one of the things that you see in Medicare Advantage plans is you'd see a focus now on more primary care physician the difference between traditional Medicare when you choose what doctor you go to and Medicare Advantage where you were assigned, or you choose a primary care physician, to be your your individual that now helps you navigate and you know, keeps you aware of okay, this is something you need or not and does a better job of coordinating for you. So we want to see more individuals and that's why Medicare Advantage as a choice is just running away with with individuals over age 65.

Sam Yates:

Absolutely. And I recently had a one of the the Regional Representatives for Medicare Advantage and she was driving home that same point. And one of the things that also impacts that is our lack of staffing for many of the facilities, even lack of of personnel to help care at home and I know that's something that you're familiar with

Ken Peach:

that that's a big issue because we are we are facing a massive shortage of physicians and now with all of the churn because of COVID. We're also seeing a shortage of nurses and others. We chose at the Health Council begin using and 2017 paramedics to go into the home and to help individuals who remain in the home through a combination of disease management for their chronic health conditions and self care education to teach them how to care for themselves. And that program is just expanding leaps and bounds.

Sam Yates:

And you know, I guess that really, really makes sense because paramedics are qualified in that care arena. But based on a typical paramedics schedule, they have time.

Ken Peach:

Right? Well, the nice part is that these are non EMS paramedics. So ours are employed purely for managing chronic conditions. So they will be coming to someone's home for 3060 90 days on a weekly basis, just to make sure to check in make sure they're okay. And some of the things they've discovered, Sam are not necessarily clinical. They're the other things. They're the reason why one doctor couldn't figure out why his patient was going through the emergency department every few days, until our paramedic discovered, squatters had moved in, we're eating our food, taking her money. And we've also found another woman in a wheelchair who had a rope tied from her wheelchair to the front door to keep the door closed. That was only security she had in her home. These are the things you find that a physician will say, Why isn't this patient doing this? And I'm telling them to do? They don't see what's going on in the home.

Sam Yates:

Now is the situation with the paramedics and the care provided by the paramedics? Is that something that if one of our listeners wanted to find out more, would they go through a physician? Or can it be done independently?

Ken Peach:

Actually, it's done through a physician, because state law allows us to work where a physician supervises paramedics, so we work with physicians, and we sign on with medical groups who offer this service to their to their patients. twofold question

Sam Yates:

for those professionals that medical groups, how do they find out more?

Ken Peach:

Well, first of all, for the medical groups, it's generally look at our website, we have a website called care medics me di x with dashes in there dot o RG. And that describes for the physician group exactly how it works. We have quotes on there from our patients who have experienced this. So it's Kara medics.org.

Sam Yates:

The biggest thing that you can think of just putting on a, what if hat looking to the future, where do you see for our seniors at healthcare in general? Where do you see some of the big points of interest in focus going forward?

Ken Peach:

I think same as you've so nicely brought this together is care delivery is moving to the home, we recognize that about I've been at the Health Council 12 years, about 11 years ago, we started moving in that direction. And we use a lot of different techniques, not just the Paramedicine and the technology and so forth. We also have a medical assistant who gets enrolled seniors in Prescription Assistance Programs to save them 1000s of dollars on prescriptions. All of these things, basically, under the premise that people want be in their home, we are not going to be able to house everybody all 74 million baby boomers, in institutional housing, we have to be able to look at what do we do to keep them home?

Sam Yates:

If someone wants more information than what we've been able to talk about today, and in our time here together, and they want to reach out to you directly. May they do that?

Ken Peach:

Certainly, I'll give you my email address and I'm going to use the codes is a little easier. So it's K peach just like for fruit at Hotel Charlie eco, Charlie foxtrot.org, which is K Peach at HCECF dot o RG

Sam Yates:

absolutely ingenious way to make people remember it. Because, you know, there's so many acronyms. It's difficult sometimes for us to remember it all. And, Ken, I want to thank you for being on the program today. And I've already gotten the commitment that you're going to come back in the future and I like to call in those commitments.

Ken Peach:

Sam, it's my pleasure. Thank you for the opportunity. Ken peach of the Executive

Sam Yates:

Director of the Health Council of East Central Florida, a member of the Brevard Community Health Care Coalition and many others around the state and a friend. I want to thank you so very, very much for being here and we're looking forward to having you back in the near future. And as we look forward to having Ken come back in the near future, I just want to say Until then I am Sam Yates your gray-haired host of The Great American Senior Show. And that's the way our program ends.