Author Archive: berkslancasterlebanonlink

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.

“Mourning Paradise: Collective Trauma In A Town Destroyed” – California HealthLine

by Stephanie O’Neill

“One of the final memories Carol Holcomb has of her pine-shaded neighborhood was the morning sun that reflected red and gold on her trees last Nov. 8. That day, she said, promised to be a beautiful one in the Butte County town of Paradise.

“So she was surprised to hear what sounded like raindrops tapping her roof a short time later. Holcomb, 56, stepped outside to investigate and saw a chunk of pine bark floating down from the sky.

“‘It was about 3 inches by 2 inches,’ she said. ‘And it was smoking.’

paradise ptsd“In the commotion of evacuating from Paradise, Carol Holcomb lost a backpack containing her mother’s Bible, her grandfather’s Purple Heart medal from World War I and photographs of both of them. Thanks to a good Samaritan, she recovered the backpack containing the family treasures.” (Michelle Camy for KHN)

“It was her first glimpse of the approaching wildfire that would become the deadliest and most destructive in California history — one she continues to relive in debilitating nightmares and flashbacks.

“The Camp Fire virtually incinerated Paradise, a town of 27,000. It killed 85 people in the region — many of them elderly. Most died in their homes — others while fleeing in their cars or trying to flee on foot.”

Continue reading this article at California HealthLine, click here.


Social Security Administration imposters top IRS in consumer loss reports

hang up

Have you gotten calls about supposed problems with your Social Security number from callers pretending they’re with the Social Security Administration (SSA)? If so, you’re not alone. Our latest Data Spotlight finds that reports about SSA imposters are surging, while reports about IRS imposters have taken a dive.

As the Spotlight puts it, “In the shady world of government imposters, the SSA scam may be the new IRS scam.” While reports of SSA imposters have swelled – nearly half of the reports we’ve gotten in the last year have come in the past two months alone – reports of IRS scammers have plunged. What’s more, people told us they lost $19 million to SSA imposters in the past year. That overtakes the $17 million reported lost to IRS imposters in 2016, the peak year of the IRS scam.

How can you spot SSA imposters? They often use robocalls to reach you, then launch into a story aimed at tricking you into giving them your money, your Social Security number (SSN), or both. They may say your SSN has been suspended and you need to confirm your SSN to reactivate it. Or, they may say your SSN has been involved in a crime and your bank account is about to be seized or frozen, but you can protect your money if you put it on a gift card and give them the code. Never do that – your money will disappear.

If you get one of these calls, remember – the real SSA will nevercontact you out of the blue or tell you to put money on a gift card or, for that matter, visit a Bitcoin ATM, or wire money. If your caller ID shows a number that looks like it belongs to the SSA, don’t trust the number – scammers fake their caller ID all the time. If you’re worried, hang up and call the SSA yourself at 1-800-772-1213.

Check out the Data Spotlight for more information. If you think a scammer has your Social Security number, visit learn what you can do.

SOURCE: Federal Trade Commission new release

“Lethal Plans: When Seniors Turn To Suicide In Long-Term Care” – Health News Florida

(Darren Hauck for KHN)“‘It’s sad he was feeling in such a desperate place in the end,’ says Lorie Juno of her father, Larry Anders.”DARREN HAUCK KAISER HEALTH NEWS

by Melissa Bailey and Jonel Aleccia – KAISER HEALTH NEWS

“When Larry Anders moved into the Bay at Burlington nursing home in late 2017, he wasn’t supposed to be there long. At 77, the stoic Wisconsin machinist had just endured the death of his wife of 51 years and a grim new diagnosis: throat cancer, stage 4.

“His son and daughter expected him to stay two weeks, tops, before going home to begin chemotherapy. From the start, they were alarmed by the lack of care at the center, where, they said, staff seemed indifferent, if not incompetent — failing to check on him promptly, handing pills to a man who couldn’t swallow.

“Anders never mentioned suicide to his children, who camped out day and night by his bedside to monitor his care.

“But two days after Christmas, alone in his nursing home room, Anders killed himself. He didn’t leave a note.”

Click here to continue reading this article at Health News Florida.