Monthly Archives: April, 2019

“The opioid crisis and grandparents raising grandchildren” – US Census Bureau


by Lydia Anderson

“In the wake of the opioid epidemic that was declared a public health crisis in 2017, there has been increasing concern about what happens to the children of parents with substance abuse disorders who may be unable to care for their children.

“New Census Bureau research shows that grandparents may sometimes step in to care for these children.

“The percentage of the population age 30 and over who are raising grandchildren is higher in states that have higher opioid prescribing rates, according to a new working paper, entitled “The Opioid Prescribing Rate and Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: State and County Level Analysis.”

Continue reading this article, click here.

CANCELLATION: Community HealthChoices Third Thursday Webinar – May 16, 2019

chc logo

Due to the Community HealthChoices (CHC) Phase 3 Provider Summits that will be occurring, we will be canceling the regularly scheduled Third Thursday Webinar for Thursday, May 16, 2019. We will resume this series of webinars in June, and hope to see you then.

Please make sure to register for the summits in your respective area at the following links below:

Additionally, one day-long transportation summit will be held in each region. RSVP for this summit here.

Reminder: All CHC related information can be found at . Comments can be submitted electronically to

If you have any questions regarding this notice, please contact the Office of Long-Term Living, Bureau of Policy and Regulatory Management, at 717-857-3280.

A listserv has been established for ongoing updates on the CHC program. It is titled OLTL-COMMUNITY-HEALTHCHOICES, please visit the ListServ Archives page at to update or register your email address.

“Hospitals Stand to Lose Billions Under ‘Medicare for All’” – The New York Times

medicare for allProponents held up signs as Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the Medicare for All bill in Washington this month.” Credit: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

by Reed Abelson

“For a patient’s knee replacement, Medicare will pay a hospital $17,000. The same hospital can get more than twice as much, or about $37,000, for the same surgery on a patient with private insurance.

“Or take another example: One hospital would get about $4,200 from Medicare for removing someone’s gallbladder. The same hospital would get $7,400 from commercial insurers.

“The yawning gap between payments to hospitals by Medicare and by private health insurers for the same medical services may prove the biggest obstacle for advocates of ‘Medicare for all,’ a government-run system.

“If Medicare for all abolished private insurance and reduced rates to Medicare levels — at least 40 percent lower, by one estimate — there would most likely be significant changes throughout the health care industry, which makes up 18 percent of the nation’s economy and is one of the nation’s largest employers.”

Keep reading this New York Times article, click here.

Webinar: Transition to OBRA Waiver as Part of Community HealthChoices Implementation

chc logo

The Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) will be presenting webinars to provide service coordinators (SC) with information about how the implementation of Community HealthChoices (CHC) will impact Attendant Care and Independence Waiver participants who are under 21 years of age. All Phase 3 (Lehigh/Capital, Northwest and Northeast counties) SCs serving participants who are under 21 years of age should plan to attend this webinar.

The implementation of CHC will change the way Attendant Care and Independence Waiver participants who are under 21 years of age receive their Medicaid waiver services. All Attendant Care and Independence Waiver participants who live in Phase 3 and are not yet eligible for CHC because they are under 21 years of age will transition to the OBRA Waiver until they become eligible for CHC.

Please register for one of the following dates:

May 14, 2019 at 10:00 AM  •  May 15, 2019 at 2:00PM

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

If you have any questions regarding this, please contact the OLTL Participant Helpline Monday through Friday at 800-757-5042 from 9 am – 12 pm and 1 pm – 4 pm or email

“What it means when lungs crackle and wheeze” – Futurity

“Crackling and wheezing lungs could be the sounds of a disease progressing, according to new research.”


by Jim Erickson

“A new study describes how the mechanics that produce those noises with every breath are likely a cause of injury and inflammation.

The findings, based on evidence from experiments on microfluidic chips and on animal models, could eventually change treatment of lung diseases, says James Grotberg, professor of biomedical engineering at the College of Engineering and professor of surgery at the Medical School at the University of Michigan. They also represent a paradigm shift for how doctors understand what they hear through a stethoscope.

“Here, Grotberg answers explains his research … ”

Keep reading this article at, click here.


“Kaiser Health News and PBS NewsHour Investigate Suicides in Long-Term Care”

senior suicide 2

Kaiser Health News (KHN) and PBS NewsHour have released a new investigation (We posted this article a week ago) and video on suicide in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and adult care homes.  Data from the University of Michigan shows that each year hundreds of suicides by older adults are related to long-term care, with up to a third of residents reporting suicidal thoughts.  Federal regulations do not require reporting on suicides in long-term care.  The National Violent Death Reporting System reported nearly 50,000 suicides among people 55 and older from 2003 to 2015.  Of these suicides, 2.2% were related to long-term care – meaning the person who died was living in or transitioning to long-term care or the person who died was a caregiver. When KHN extrapolated these findings for 2017, it determined 16,500 suicides would have been reported among people 55 and older and concluded that at least 364 of those suicides would have been among people living in or moving to long-term care settings or people who were caregivers to someone receiving long-term care.

While nursing homes cannot be penalized for a suicide occurring on-site, in some cases nursing homes have been cited for breaking federal rules related to maintaining residents’ well-being, preventing avoidable accidents and notifying a resident’s doctor and family if they are at risk of harm.

In the KHN article, Dr. Yeates Conwell, director of the Office for Aging Research and Health Services at the University of Rochester, identified the main risks for senior suicide as depression, debility, access to deadly means and disconnectedness. “Pretty much all of the factors that we associate with completed suicide risk are going to be concentrated in long-term care.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of nursing home residents are diagnosed with depression.  But, Conwell contends, “Older adulthood is not a time when it’s normal to feel depressed. It’s not a time when it’s normal to feel as if your life has no meaning.  If those things are coming across, that should send up a red flag.”

Advocates have called for thorough screenings prior to entry to facilities and ongoing monitoring in order to prevent suicides in long-term care facilities. Some have also launched projects to train staff and engage fellow residents to address suicides in long-term care.

If you or someone you know has talked about contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat, both available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

People 60 and older can call the Institute on Aging’s 24-hour, toll-free Friendship Line at 800-971-0016. IOA also makes ongoing outreach calls to lonely older adults.

Or call 2-1-1.

SOURCE: This article is from the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care online newsletter.


Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards design is changing


Pennsylvania’s Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) wanted to make sure you are aware of the change in the design of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. This will be a phased in approach, so both the new design and the old ACCESS design will remain in circulation with old cards being replaced as needed. Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services (DHS) is NOT requiring individuals to get a new one and people can continue to sue their existing card.

Click here to download a “How to use your EBT card” pamphlet.



How many healthy years of life you have left? | This calculator may tell you how many healthy years of life you do have ahead before you become unhealthy.

“As the old saying goes, the only things certain in life are death and taxes. While death is inevitable, the quality of life you experience until death is often within an individual’s control.

“This is what our team at the Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research chose to focus on by developing a rigorous measure of quality of life. How many healthy years of life do you have ahead before you become unhealthy?

life expectancy calculator

“Everyone understands the benefits of living a long healthy life, but this also has implications for industry and society. Medical costs, financial planning and health support services are directly related to the state of health of an individual or community.

“We call this measure of quality of life ‘healthy life expectancy’ and its complement ‘unhealthy life expectancy.’ We define entering an unhealthy state as a severe enough state of disablement that there is no recovery, so you remain unhealthy until death.

“It follows that life expectancy – a measure of the total future years an individual is expected to live – is simply the two added together.”

Click here to read this article at The Conversation in its entirety.

Want to know your own estimate of healthy years ahead? We developed a free online tool that lets you calculate healthy, unhealthy and total life expectancy. This is work in progress.





“How One Mother’s Battle Is Changing Police Training On Disabilities” – NPR

“Working with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, like Down syndrome or autism, can be complex and challenging even for those with years of training. But one group — law enforcement — often encounters people with these conditions in high-stress situations, with little or no training at all.”

autism and policingPhotos of Ethan Saylor are displayed on his mother’s kitchen table.” – Meg Anderson/NPR

by Meg Anderson

“Working with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, like Down syndrome or autism, can be complex and challenging even for those with years of training. But one group — law enforcement — often encounters people with these conditions in high-stress situations, with little or no training at all.

“Patti Saylor knows all too well what the consequences of that can be.

“Her son Ethan, who had Down syndrome, died after an encounter with law enforcement when he was 26. It’s a tragedy she believes could have been prevented.”

Click here to read this NPR article in its entirety.

TEDxTAlk | “Dementia is preventable through lifestyle. Start now.”

NOTE FROM TED: Please do not look to this talk for medical advice. We’ve flagged this talk for falling outside TEDx’s curatorial guidelines. This talk represents the speaker’s personal views and experiences with nutrition, mental health, and human biology. TEDx events are independently organized by volunteers. The guidelines we give TEDx organizers are described in more detail here:…

“Health and science journalist Max Lugavere has always been close with his mom. When she began to show signs of dementia in her early fifties, it shook him to his core. Wasn’t dementia an old person’s disease? And with drug trials having a near 100% failure rate, what was there to do? In 2017, a leading Alzheimer’s organization recognized for the first time that one third of dementia cases may be preventable. And so Max decided to devote himself to figuring out how he and his peers could best avoid the disease.

In this illuminating talk, Max discusses the fascinating diet and lifestyle changes associated with significant risk reduction for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and what that means. For more, pick up his New York Times bestselling book, GENIUS FOODS. Max Lugavere is a filmmaker, author, and TV personality. He is the director of the upcoming film BREAD HEAD, the first-ever documentary about dementia prevention through diet and lifestyle, and is publishing his first book in early 2018 documenting his findings on how to optimize focus, productivity, mood, and long-term brain health with food.

Lugavere is a regularly-appearing “core expert” on The Dr. Oz Show, has been featured on NBC Nightly News, in the Wall Street Journal, and has contributed as a health journalist to Medscape, Vice/Munchies, the Daily Beast, and others. He is a highly sought-after speaker and has been invited to keynote events such as the Biohacker Summit in Stockholm Sweden, and esteemed academic institutions like the New York Academy of Sciences. His newest book, GENIUS FOODS, is a New York Times best seller.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.