“Startups Look to Mainstream Medical Tourism”

“New sites are partnering with Uber and Airbnb to help patients recuperate.”medical tourism


by Ari Altstedter

“About 14 million people spent $68 billion on medical tourism in 2016, according to consulting firm PwC. A growing number are Westerners headed to developing countries for cosmetic surgery or dental work, procedures that are less expensive and invasive than major operations and often aren’t covered by insurance. PwC predicts that by 2021 the medical tourism market will reach $125 billion. The growth will be built not on nose jobs and dental implants but on costlier and riskier procedures with longer recovery times, such as knee replacements and heart surgeries.

“Startups from Berlin to Bangkok are trying to do for medical tourists what Airbnb or Hotels.com does for the general public. Instead of searching for a place to stay, users type in a medical procedure and get a list of clinics or doctors in nations that offer the surgery—scroll and click on a link to make an appointment. The companies charge providers a commission for bookings or a flat subscription fee to be on the platform. And they’re working on additional revenue streams, such as planning beach vacations for recuperating patients and their families, most likely by integrating their platforms with popular travel sites.”

Read this Bloomberg BusinessWeek article in its entirety here.

Webinar: Promising Practices for Meeting the Behavioral Health Needs of Dually Eligible Older Adults | Thursday, August 2, 2018, 2:00-3:30 PM ET

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In the U.S., 25% adults age 65 or older experience a behavioral health issue, yet only 3% of them report seeking treatment from a behavioral health professional. Those who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid have high rates of behavioral health conditions compared to beneficiaries with Medicare only. For example, among individuals 65 or older, 19% of dually eligible beneficiaries were diagnosed with a depressive disorder compared to 8% of Medicare-only beneficiaries, and 11% of dually eligible beneficiaries were diagnosed with an anxiety disorder compared to 6% of Medicare-only beneficiaries.

This interactive webinar will discuss common behavioral health conditions and related challenges among dually eligible older adults, identify best practices for treatment options and care coordination, and demonstrate practical strategies for meeting beneficiary needs. Speakers will discuss firsthand experiences, lessons learned, and strategies to coordinate care across diverse settings.

Register here!

Registration is now open for the 2018 PA Community Alliance Summit

PA Community Alliance Summit

CLICK HERE TO REGISTERhttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-pa-community-alliance-summit-registration-48070377794

“Heat-related health dangers for older adults soar during the summer”

National Institute of Health tips help reduce risk of hyperthermia.

As we age, our ability to adequately respond to summer heat can become a serious problem. Older people are at significant increased risk of heat-related illnesses, known collectively as hyperthermia, during the summer months. Hyperthermia can include heat stroke, heat edema (swelling in your ankles and feet when you get hot), heat syncope (sudden dizziness after exercising in the heat), heat cramps, and heat exhaustion.


Experts at the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, say knowing which health-related factors may increase risk could save a life. Those factors include:

  • Age-related changes to the skin such as poor blood circulation and inefficient sweat glands
  • Heart, lung, and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever
  • High blood pressure or other conditions that require changes in diet, such as salt-restricted diets
  • Reduced sweating, caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, and certain heart and blood pressure drugs
  • Taking several drugs for various conditions (It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.)
  • Being substantially overweight or underweight
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Being dehydrated

Lifestyle factors can also increase risk, including extremely hot living quarters, lack of transportation, overdressing, visiting overcrowded places, and not understanding how to respond to weather conditions.

Older people, particularly those at special risk, should stay indoors on particularly hot and humid days, especially when there is an air pollution alert in effect. To stay cool, drink plenty of fluids and wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes in natural fabrics. People without fans or air conditioners should keep their homes as cool as possible or go someplace cool. Senior centers, religious groups, and social service organizations in many communities provide cooling centers when the temperatures rise. Or visit public air conditioned places such as shopping malls, movie theaters, or libraries.

Heat stroke is a severe form of hyperthermia that occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat and unable to control its temperature. Someone with a body temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit is likely suffering from heat stroke. Symptoms include fainting; a change in behavior (confusion, combativeness, staggering, possible delirium or coma); dry, flushed skin and a strong, rapid pulse; and lack of sweating. Seek immediate medical attention for a person with any of these symptoms, especially an older adult.

If you suspect that someone is suffering from a heat-related illness:

  • Call 911 if you suspect heat stroke.
  • Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or other cool place. Urge them to lie down.
  • If the person can swallow safely, offer fluids such as water and fruit or vegetable juices, but not alcohol or caffeine.
  • Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists, neck, armpits, and groin. These are places where blood passes close to the surface of the skin, and a cold cloth can help cool the blood.
  • Encourage the person to shower, bathe, or sponge off with cool water if it is safe to do so.

If you are having a hard time paying for home cooling and heating costs, there are some resources that might help. Contact the National Energy Assistance Referral service(link is external), your local Area Agency on Aging(link is external), senior center, or social service agency.

To learn more, go to Hot Weather Safety for Older Adults. Free publications on hot weather safety and other healthy aging topics in English and Spanish are available from the NIA website or by calling NIA’s toll-free number: 1-800-222-2225.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

September 7, 2018 – SAVE THE DATE | 6th Annual Lebanon Veterans Affairs Medical Center Community Mental Health Summit

VA mh summit save the date

Friday Wrap-Up, July 13, 2018 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth. Click here download the newsletter as a .pdf file.


“Patient reports suggest it’s better to avoid catheters” – Futurity

catheters(Credit: Getty Images)

“More than half of hospital patients who get a urinary catheter experienced a complication, in-depth interviews and chart reviews from more than 2,000 patients show.

“The new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, puts large-scale evidence behind what many hospital patients already know: Having a urinary catheter may help empty the bladder—but it can also be painful, lead to urinary tract infections, and cause other issues in the hospital and beyond.”

Continue reading this article at Futurity.org, click here.



Free publications about suicide offered by SAMHSA (The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

after an attempt

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has provided several helpful documents for persons interested or involved with suicide.

A Guide to Taking Care of Your Family Member After Treatment in the Emergency Department

SAMHSA has published an update to this guide that offers information about what to expect in the emergency room, and how to take care of yourself and your family member following a suicide attempt. This guide is also available in Spanish language.

A Guide to Taking Care of Yourself After Your Treatment in the Emergency Department

SAMHSA has published an update to this guide that offers strategies for taking care of yourself after treatment in the emergency department for a suicide attempt. The guide also offers ways to connect with other suicide attempt survivors. This guide is also available in Spanish language.

A Guide for Medical Providers in the Emergency Department Taking Care of Suicide Attempt Survivors

SAMHSA has published an update to this brochure that offers emergency department providers tips for enhancing treatment for people who have attempted suicide. It also offers information about communicating with families, HIPAA, patient discharge, and resources for medical professionals, patients, and their families.

“For Owners and Renters, Home Modification Assistance can be a Lifeline” – How Housing Matters


by Maya Brennan

“Are there any steps? How wide are the doorways? Any narrow corners to navigate? How high are the counters and light switches? Searching for an accessible home to buy or rent can be like looking for a needle in a haystack, but it’s something that a growing number of people need to do.

“The ease of movement that many people take for granted is far from universal.  Around 1 out of every 14 people in the United States has mobility challenges. The likelihood of mobility impairments rises to 1 in 6 among people ages 65 to 74, and then 1 in 3 among people ages 75 and older. Already, more than 17 million US households include a person with a mobility impairment. With an expected doubling of the senior population by 2060, more homes will need to be accessible to ensure disabled residents’ independence and to accommodate mobility-impaired visitors.”

Read this entire article, click here.



Department of Human Services Announces Successful Transition of Hamburg State Center Residents to Community-Based Settings

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Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller today announced the Hamburg State Center for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities will officially close on August 3, 2018. The closure of Hamburg Center will come 19 months after the January 11, 2017, announcement of the planned closure of the facility, which is in Berks County. There were 80 individuals living at the center in January 2017.

“Research shows that when an individual with an intellectual or developmental disability lives in a community setting, quality of life improves, and more opportunities arise for social participation, community integration, relationships with family and friends, and employment,” said DHS Secretary Miller. “Transitioning residents of the Hamburg State Center will help them grow and thrive in new ways and sets the foundation for a long-term increased quality of life.”

The Hamburg closure is part of the Wolf Administration’s commitment to reduce reliance on institutional care, serve more people in the community, and most importantly, make it possible for people to live an everyday life, as their fellow citizens do.

Growth in community services around the commonwealth is making it possible for individuals residing in institutional settings to move to the community and for individuals on waiting lists to get services they need to fully participate in community life.

Community-based living increases quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Being involved in community life creates opportunities for new experiences and interests, the potential to develop friendships, and the ability to make a contribution to the community. An interdependent life, where people with and without disabilities are connected, enriches the lives of everyone.

The Office of Administration, Human Resources, and Labor Relations have been able to secure employment opportunities for the majority of the 351 employees who were employed at Hamburg Center. Most of the employees have either transferred to other commonwealth employment opportunities or have retired.

SOURCE: news release