Recent Discovery, Blood Testing at Home

Mark SegrestBy Mark Segrest

Now PT/INR Self Testing can be prescribed by your doctor so you can control doing the test yourself.

Why would I want to make a big deal out of the statement above? It took us seven Months to discover this information.

Since Grandma moved in with us she has been taking Coumadin for Blood Thinning. During her stay at her Original Skilled Nursing Facility she developed blood clots in her leg and lungs. Since she is still using a wheel chair most of the time, she does not get enough exercise in her legs and will probably stay on the Coumadin indefinitely.  When she started taking the Coumadin her Cardiologist set her up with the office clinic personnel to monitor her INR or international Normalized Ratio on a weekly basis. In the nursing home they would do a blood draw and lab results were sent to the Coumadin Clinic, as results were reviewed some weekly changes were made to her daily dose of Coumadin.

When she moved home we had to start making trips to the Clinic or a lab for testing. The nurse at the clinic used a blood drop monitor much like ones used for blood sugar testing, just larger and requiring a bit more blood on the strips for testing. Appointments were set up for weekly testing we tried to arrange the trips around other Doctor visits since most of her doctors are in the same facility but some weeks it was just for the one blood test.

After a few weeks of paper work and processing we were authorized by Medicare for a Home Care Provider to administer Nursing of Bed Sores and Rehab. When the Home Care provider realized Grandma was a Coumadin user, they suggested they could do the testing and call in results to the clinic, using the same type blood monitor as the clinic. This continued for the three months we were allowed by Medicare for the in home portion of her rehab.

We now have reached a point where Medicare has discontinued support for the Home Care and Rehab is now at an out-patient location. So last week we started back with trips to the Clinic or we could go to a local lab for blood work which Grandma did not like. On our recent visit to the Clinic, I was kind of complaining to the nurse that these trips were inconvenient, low and behold he said Medicare would pay for us to get the same Monitoring device he used, for use at home (with a Service). All that is required is filling out a request form and getting approval and the Monitoring Device will be sent to our home. We will then be trained to take samples and have it analyzed at home, we call in results to the Service and if changes in medication are needed the Service then transfers our call to the Clinic for review and instructions. Needless to say this will save us a lot of transportation expense and time, Great.

The suggestion for this post comes from Grandma herself, on our way home from the visit with this new information she was saying how great it was that we discovered this new method for testing. No weekly trip to a lab or clinic. In fact she was going on about how she knew at least four friends that need to know about this, they are going to labs or clinics each week for their testing, so here is our post to tell others of our discovery.

Now don’t get me wrong this is exactly the kind of advice we hope to be able to use this site for, but I want to go a little further and question why did it take us so long to find out about the opportunity to have our own device at home? Isn’t this a great cost saving for Medicare? Why would it not be standard procedure? I believe the answer lies in an old saying “There are just too many fingers in the pie” Let us know what you think.

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4 Responses to “Recent Discovery, Blood Testing at Home”

  • mHealthTalk comments on a related article, “Agencies slam new Medicare rule on home care.” (http://www.kansascity.com/2011/03/28/2757482/agencies-slam-new-medicare-rule.html#ixzz1I0OT8zBL)

  • constance Campion:

    *I want to take this to my physician

  • constance Campion:

    *i am a nurse and I have restarted on coumadin and hope to transfer bacvk to warfarin   I am quite capable of doing my own testuin and would be haooy to report myfindings to my doctor and understand the dosages  I hope medicare can uptate the cost of testing materials  I have worked 30 plus years and still work a day or two every 3 months Please let me know if thiis could work out I also have very able children  6 who could help me out if I needed   

    • Constance, 

      Thanks for visiting Modern Health Talk and replying to
      the Mark Segrest article on Blood
      Testing at Home
      . I just called him to confirm that yes, Medicare does
      indeed cover the in-home blood testing for his mother-in-law’s Coumadin blood
      tests. It eliminated the need for weekly doctor visits that required him to
      take time off from work. So yes, do take this article to your physician, but
      don’t blame her if she didn’t know about it already. So much new medical info
      comes out each year that it’s hard to keep up.

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