Category Archives: Updates

Swallow Solutions Mourns Patient, Friend Jane Marita

We are sad to report a close friend of Swallow Solutions and one of the first users of our strengthening system has passed away after a long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Jane Marita started with the program when she was first diagnosed with ALS and used the system every other day until her death, three years later. She credited oropharyngeal strengthening with allowing her to safely eat burritos (extra sauce!) even as the other challenges of ALS were taking their toll.  

She will be missed.

CMS Working to Reduce Hospital Admissions

A new payment model released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) last month could help to reduce preventable hospital admissions.

According to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, the new plan would increase payments to skilled nursing facilities, allowing them to provide their residents with treatment for common ailments and conditions that could potentially lead to hospitalization.

Physicians would also receive increased payments to perform assessments at SNFs, while under the current model, Medicare pays physicians less to perform evaluations outside of a hospital environment.

Under the new model, participating facilities would be expected to reinvest in staff training and equipment purchases.

Effectively, the payments would make it easier for skilled nursing facilities to provide higher-quality care and lower costs to beneficiaries.

By expanding their patient-care role, SNFs could double-down to reduce hospital admissions by investing in equipment like the Swallow Solutions device, which has been shown to reduce hospital admissions by 61 percent.

The new payment model will enter testing in six health facilities across seven states later this year.

December 2015 was BIG!

The final numbers are in, and December 2015 was a record breaking month for Swallow Solutions!

During that month, Swallow Solutions sold more SwallowSTRONG devices and individual mouthpieces than any other month in company history!

We’ve now helped more than 1,500 dysphagia patients alleviate their swallowing problems. The SwallowSTRONG is in use in outpatient clinics and skilled nursing facilities around the country.

We’re excited and thankful for the opportunity to help people improve their health and quality of life–and we’re just getting started.

Nearly a month into the new year, we wanted to share our excitement and thank you for taking part in it.

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Quotes from SwallowSTRONG SLPs

We were so excited to attend this year’s ASHA Convention. It’s always so great to get out there to mingle with our wonderful colleagues in the field, but one of the things we love most is interacting with all the great speech language pathologists who are bringing life-changing dysphagia treatment to their patients.

We love this feedback because we know how much joy SLPs get out of helping their patients, but we love it even more because it proves that by teaming up with Swallow Solutions, patients are seeing improved quality of life.

Below are some real quotes we gathered from SLPs using the SwallowSTRONG. As a condition of speaking to us, we’ve removed identifying information to provide the SLPs confidentiality.

One SLP who works with a large chain Skilled Nursing Facility had this to say:

At first I did not think SwallowSTRONG would be worth the cost, but I was wrong. Our facility saw several patients move off of altered diets to full PO within 4 weeks.

An outpatient SLP said:

I have been a SLP for 30 years and I have never been able to get results as fast as I have with the SwallowSTRONG.

Another Skilled Nursing Facility SLP said:

I had one patient who had been on thickened liquids for a year and within three weeks of using the SwallowSTRONG, the patient was on thin liquids.

The SwallowSTRONG can bring a new level to a dysphagia patient’s therapy program.

If you’re considering the SwallowSTRONG for your facility, use the quotes above as proof that it works. You can learn more on our website, or call us for more information at (608)-238-6678.

If you’d like to share your SwallowSTRONG success story with us, submit using the ‘Share Your Story‘ portion of our website.

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New Board Certified Specialists in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders

The American Board of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders recently welcomed the newest group of Board Certified Specialists in Swallowing & Swallowing Disorders. We’d like to join them in congratulating the following people, their mentors and their employers!

Leah Harrigan
Employer: UC Health – University of Cincinnati Medical Center
Mentor: Angela Dubis-Bohn

Deborah Ross 
Employer: San Diego Speech Therapy
Mentor: Donna Edwards

Amanda Morano-Villhauer
Employer: Progressive Rehabilitation Associates

Melissa Carrier-Damon
Employer: LifeScape
Mentor: Lindsay Labrot

Laura Loveless
Employer: Texas Children’s Hospital
Mentor: Margaret Tiner

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Meet Melissa, the Newest Member of the Swallow Solutions Team

Recently, the Swallow Solutions staff added a new team member, as Melissa joined the group.
Let’s meet the newest member of the Swallow Solutions team and get to know Melissa!
 
Tell our blog readers a little bit about yourself:
I love traveling and exploring new places, whether it’s in Wisconsin or traveling abroad. I love experiencing different foods and cultures. I’m also an animal lover, dogs in particular.
What are you most excited about with your new position with Swallow Solutions?
I am excited for the opportunity to be a part of a company whose goal is to improve our customers quality of life. It’s inspiring to see everyone here working so hard, and to hear back from a customers that were able to go back to normal, healthy life after using the SwallowSTRONG. It makes all the hard work worth it. I am also excited to be working with this team. Everyone here is so dedicated and close-knit. It’s a great team to work with and learn from.
Now that you’ve learned a bit about swallowing disorders, what strikes you about them? How does it feel working for an organization that helps people with such an essential part of their health?
I was shocked to learn how prevalent dysphasia is. It affects so many lives in such a drastic way and yet the general public does not know much about it. I have had multiple family members lost to, or affected by a swallowing disorder. So for me, working here is a way for me to help make a difference and offer patients the hope and options that were not available to my family. I feel fortunate to be working for a company that helps people go from simply trying to survive, to being able to thrive
again.
Enough about work, let’s talk about leisure. What’s your favorite outside-of-work activity? Any Hobbies?
Outside of work I love spending time with friends and family. I enjoy spending time outdoors whether it’s hiking or going to the lake. But I also like to stay at home watching TV and just having a cozy, lazy day. And of course I love trying new local foods and finding those hidden gems around the city.
What’s your absolute favorite food? 
My weakness is fried food and chocolate. But if I had to choose one favorite? Warm gooey chocolate chip cookies. Not exotic or exciting, but it melts my stress away and satisfies my chocoholic cravings.
What was the last book you read or movie you saw?
The last book I read was The Longest Way Home by Andrew McCarthy. It is about his world travels and how the experiences helped him to find where he belonged in life; learning that we do not need to follow paths laid out before us in life. And just reading about the adventures themselves is pretty entertaining.
What’s your ideal vacation?  
My ideal vacation would be to go to Greece- ideally the islands. The scenery is beautiful, the food is divine, the people are warm, and life is slower. That would be perfect.
Do you have a hidden talent you’re willing to share?
I actually do not think I can do anything I’d call talented. Although I am a pretty good baker. I like doing as much as I can from scratch. And that’s something my mom started teaching me when I was a toddler. My friends tell me my ice-cream cake ruined store bought cakes for them. But I like experimenting with desserts to satisfy my sweet tooth.

LINK Recognizes Swallow Solutions as Most Innovative

We got some exciting news last week, as we were recognized as “Most Innovative” during the LINK Innovation Competition.

The competition is held annually as a part of the LINK LTC Conference, and winners are decided based on audience votes and a panel of impartial, independent judges from various segments of the long term care industry.

Judging was based on need in the marketplace, uniqueness of the product, potential impact on long term care, and product readiness. Even though the award focuses on innovative products, the judges commented that our proven track record of having treated over 1,000 patients throughout the country was a key consideration in awarding us first place.

Swallow Solutions CEO Eric Horler and EVP Ray Heller pose with the First Place Innovation Award from LINK LTC.

Swallow Solutions CEO Eric Horler and EVP Ray Heller pose with the First Place Innovation Award from LINK LTC.

Our device, the SwallowSTRONG, deserves the credit for bringing us the award. The device uses technology to deliver strengthening therapy to patients suffering from dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing. Dysphagia can be a big expense for long term care facilities, as patients suffering from it may need to eat modified diets, or be on feeding tubes. Dysphagia can also lead to further serious health complications, including aspiration pneumonia (where foreign substances ‘go down the wrong pipe’ into the lungs). Swallowing problems often develop due to weak lingual musculature, and the SwallowSTRONG helps to rebuild the strength of those muscles, ultimately helping patients regain the ability to swallow safely.

We’re so proud of this award, and so excited to share the news with you!

You can read more about the SwallowSTRONG here, and more about the award here.

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Patient Selection Office Hours with Jackie Hind

As part of ongoing support we offer for clinicians using the SwallowSTRONG, Jackie Hind, MS/CCC-SLP, BCS-S, our Senior Director of Clinical Affairs hosts a program we call ‘Clinical Office Hours.’

Jackie Hind, MS/CCC-SLP, BCS-S is our Senior Director of Clinical Affairs. With more than 20 years of experience treating dysphagia patients, she's a great resource to clinicians.

Jackie Hind, MS/CCC-SLP, BCS-S is our Senior Director of Clinical Affairs. With more than 20 years of experience treating dysphagia patients, she’s a great resource to clinicians.

During office hours, Jackie is available via conference call to address clinical questions and issues.

We’ve talked about this program on the blog before–but we wanted to take a moment to make our readers aware of a special week of office hours, where Jackie will specifically be talking about and presenting on the subject of patient selection. Which patients make the best candidates for therapy with the SwallowSTRONG? Who is most likely to see positive results? Jackie will address these questions and more specifically during office hours coming up this week.
If you’d like to attend, calling into office hours is easy. Just dial in at 866.906.7447 and use access number 4027141#.
Patient Selection Themed Office Hours will take place this week on the following dates and times:
Wednesday, July 22 at 9 A.M. Central (10 A.M. Eastern) 
Friday, July 24 at 3 P.M. Central (4 P.M. Eastern)
For reminders about the program, follow us on Twitter-we’ll post reminders about a half hour before each session begins.
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Mission Main Street Grant – VOTE FOR US!

Swallow Solutions applied for a small business ‘Mission Main Street Grant’ through Chase, and we need your help to advance toward earning $100,000!

Swallow Solutions uses evidence-based technology to help people with dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing. It’s a big problem, and can cause a range of adverse and life-threatening complications (dehydration, malnutrition, aspiration pneuomonia). We hope to use the grant award money to make ourselves a larger part of the solution.

We need 250 votes to be considered for the next round. Voting is quick and easy. Here’s how to do it:

First-Click this link: https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/vote You’ll be directed to the Mission Main Street home page.

Then-Enter our name “Swallow Solutions” in the text box (see image below). Click the green magnifying glass to search.

Enter Name

Next-Click the blue “Vote Now” button and connect your Facebook to authenticate your vote.

And you’re done! Consider your good deed for the day done.

please

We’re asking nicely. Won’t you please help us out? We’re counting on you!

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Like Swallow Solutions on Facebook!

Swallow Solutions is now live on Facebook!

Come Like us on Facebook and we’ll keep you up to date on the latest news about our company, dysphagia, and swallowing disorders.

If you have a comment or question, you can also use Facebook or Twitter to reach out to us. You can also always write us at info@swallowsolutions.com, or give us a call at 608-238-6678.

Check us out on our social platforms, and follow the blog for more updates!

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