Category Archives: Healthcare

“Why does the U.S. spend so much on health care?” – STAT: Morning Rounds

health care spending

“A new report finds the U.S. spent nearly twice as much on health care in 2016 as 10 other high-income countries — but by and large, our health outcomes are worse. The U.S. had the highest maternal and infant mortality rates and the lowest life expectancy of the 11 countries included in the study. So what’s driving that difference in spending? A look at the numbers:

  • We spend a lot on health care. The U.S. spent about $1,443 a person on health care in 2016. The next highest: Switzerland, which shelled out $939 per person.
  • But it’s not because we use it much more often. For the most part, people in the U.S. used health care services about as often as people in other countries.
  • Prices for goods, like prescription drugs, seem to play a big part. Take the cholesterol drug Crestor, with a list price of $86 per month in the U.S., but $41 in Germany and $9 in Australia.
  • So do labor costs, such as physician salaries. General physicians in the U.S. had the highest salary of any country in the study, making $218,173 on average, compared to $154,126 in Germany, which had the next highest salary.”


” Treatment Overkill | Never Too Late To Operate? Surgery Near End Of Life Is Common, Costly” – California Healthline

Nearly 1 in 3 Medicare patients undergo an operation in their final year of life.

maxine-stanich-2“Maxine Stanich, at age 87, had signed a ‘do not resuscitate’ directive, ordering doctors to not revive her should her heart stop, but doctors gave her a defibrillator anyway. (Photo courtesy of Susan Giaquinto)”

by Liz Szabo

“At 87, Maxine Stanich cared more about improving the quality of her life than prolonging it.

“She suffered from a long list of health problems, including heart failure and chronic lung disease that could leave her gasping for breath.

“When her time came, she wanted to die a natural death, Stanich told her daughter, and signed a ‘do not resuscitate’ directive, or DNR, ordering doctors not to revive her should her heart stop.

“Yet a trip to a San Francisco emergency room for shortness of breath in 2008 led Stanich to get a defibrillator implanted in her chest — a medical device to keep her alive by delivering a powerful shock. At the time, Stanich didn’t fully grasp what she had agreed to, even though she signed a document granting permission for the procedure, said her daughter, Susan Giaquinto.”

Continue reading this article at California Healthline, click here.


WellSpan | Good Samaritan Hospital announces The HealthyCare Card in Lebanon County

healthy care card

Click on the graphic above to download The HealthyCare Card as a .pdf file for printing, viewing in a larger format and sharing.

For more information, call 717-270-4881, WellSpan | Good Samaritan Hospital Patient Finance.

Oral health issues in aging & how to prevent them

dental 2

The good habits you developed as a child to help care for your teeth continue to be important throughout your life. But as we age, we become more likely to experience additional oral health issues.

Knowing what these problems are, what they look like, and what you can do to treat or prevent them can help you keep your teeth healthy.

Gum Disease

Gum disease can develop at any age, but older adults are more likely to experience it. The condition can put your gums at serious risk for infection and disease.

Gum disease is more than just an annoyance. It has been directly linked to an increased prevalence of heart disease, although a direct causation has not yet been found. If your gums aren’t healthy, it’s time to take notice.

Click here to continue reading this article at

ToothWisdomLogo is a project of Oral Health America and serves both seniors and their caregivers by teaching about oral health in aging and by connecting individuals with affordable dental clinics.

Oral Health America

Oral Health America (OHA) is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Chicago, with a mission to change lives by connecting communities with resources that increase access to care, education, and advocacy for all Americans, especially those most vulnerable.

Find out more about OHA and our other programs at

The Wisdom Tooth Project®

Oral Health America’s older adult program, the Wisdom Tooth Project (WTP), focuses on improving the oral health outcomes of older adults, especially those 65 and older. is one of the strategies outlined within the larger program, and is tailored to older adults and their caregivers to connect them with educational and care resources.

To stay up-to-date about the Wisdom Tooth Project, sign up for our Wisdom Tooth Insider e-updates.


More Than One-Third of People with Traditional Medicare Spent at Least 20 Percent of Their Total Income on Health Care in 2013

Health Costs Are Projected to Consume Half of Average Per Social Security Income by 2030


“Health care costs are a substantial and growing burden for many people on Medicare and are projected to consume a larger share of total income over time, according to a new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“The study, Medicare Beneficiaries’ Out-of-Pocket Health Care Spending as a Share of Income Now and Projections for the Future, finds that more one-third of people with traditional Medicare spent at least 20 percent of their total income on out-of-pocket health care costs in 2013. That included premiums, deductibles and cost sharing for Medicare-covered services, as well as spending on services not covered by Medicare, such as dental and long-term care. The analysis of spending as a share of total income does not include enrollees in Medicare Advantage plans, who account for 19 million of the 59 million people with Medicare. Income is measured on a per person basis, which for married couples is income for the couple divided in half.

“While some people with Medicare face relatively low out-of-pocket costs, the financial burden can be especially large for beneficiaries with modest incomes and significant medical needs. For instance, among beneficiaries in traditional Medicare, just over half with incomes below $20,000 and those ages 85 and over spent at least 20 percent of their total income on health expenditures in 2013, along with more than 4 in 10 beneficiaries in fair or poor health status.

“Among all Medicare beneficiaries, out-of-pocket costs consumed 41 percent of beneficiaries’ per person Social Security income in 2013, on average. Older women and beneficiaries ages 85 and older tended to have higher average out-of-pocket spending as a share of average Social Security income than others, according to the analysis.

“The analysis projects that the health care spending burden among Medicare beneficiaries will rise over time. By 2030, the study projects that under current policies 42 percent of people with traditional Medicare will spend 20 percent of their total income or more on health care costs.  Among all people with Medicare, out-of-pocket costs are projected to consume half of the average per person Social Security benefit by 2030.

“With rising health care costs representing a growing challenge to the financial security of older adults, these findings have implications for policies that could shift costs on to beneficiaries as part of a broader effort to reduce federal spending on Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.”

“What would nursing homes do with more money?” – Journalist’s Resource

nursing home

by Chloe Reichel

“As Medicaid reimbursement rates increase, nursing homes add more licensed staff per resident, improving quality of care, a new model suggests.

“he issue: As baby boomers age, they are bound to put more strain on nursing homes. A report to Congress prepared by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that over 91 percent of nursing homes are staffed below the level that is minimally necessary to provide all needed care.

“The challenge of staffing is linked to economic and regulatory barriers. Nursing care is a costly national expense–in 2016, total expenditures stood at $163 billion, with Medicaid contributing $50 billion to this sum, according to data from CMS. States determine their own rates for nursing home reimbursements under Medicaid, balancing desires to achieve particular outcomes related to quality of and access to care with the need to meet budgetary requirements. New research produced by Martin Hackmann, an economist at UCLA, looks at how small changes in Medicaid reimbursements might improve quality of care.

“An academic study worth reading:Incentivizing Better Quality of Care: The Role of Medicaid and Competition in the Nursing Home Industry.”

This study found “Combining detailed industry data from Pennsylvania with a model of demand and supply, … that low Medicaid reimbursement rates are a key contributor to quality shortfalls in this industry.”

“The part of aging that people don’t talk about — and 5 ways to deal with it” – The Lebanon Daily News

by Judith Graham, Kaiser Health News

“For years before her death at age 96, Nancy Lundebjerg’s mother underwent a long, slow decline.

“Arthritis made it hard for Margaret Lundebjerg to get around. After two hip surgeries, she needed a walker when she was out and about.

“Incontinence was a source of discomfort, as was the need to rely on aides to help her perform daily chores.”

aging“When families avoid talking about an aging parent’s frailty or serious illness, the person with the condition can become isolated and family relationships can become strained.”

“Little by little, Margaret became frail and isolated. “There was a sadness to seeing my mother’s circle of life become diminished,” said Nancy Lundebjerg, 58, CEO of the American Geriatrics Society, who wrote about her experiences in the organization’s journal.

“The anguish accompanying aging isn’t openly discussed very often, nor is its companion: grief. Instead, these emotions are typically acknowledged only after a loved one’s death, when formal rituals recognizing a person’s passing —the wake, the funeral, the shiva — begin.

“But frailty and serious illness can involve significant losses over an extended period of time, giving rise to sadness and grief for years.”

Continue reading this article at the Lebanon Daily News Website.


“How uninsured adults access health care” – Journalist’s Resource


by Chloe Reichel

“Uninsured adults use emergency rooms at similar rates to those with insurance, new research finds. Scholars at Harvard, the University of Chicago and MIT present this finding to correct what they call a ‘common misperception that the uninsured use the ED [Emergency Department] more than the insured.’

“In fact, they found that adults insured through Medicaid — public insurance for the poor — use the emergency room more than those without insurance. Looking at survey data from 2013, the researchers found that 12.2 percent of uninsured adults had visits to the emergency room compared with 13.7 percent of insured adults. Of those who had insurance, 29.3 percent of adults on Medicaid made emergency room visits. Fewer privately insured adults — 11.1 percent — went to the emergency room.

“The researchers also looked at data to categorize these emergency room visits. They found that insured and uninsured adults used the emergency room in similar ways.”

Continue reading this report at Journalist’s Resource, click here.

“Why Big Medicare and Medicaid Cuts Are Likely | Tax reform will lead to ‘entitlement reform,’ this expert says” – next avenue

by Bob Blancato

“The widely expected passage of the tax reform bill will almost undoubtedly cause significant harm to Medicare. And provocative statements by President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan declaring that ‘entitlement reform’ will be next threatens Medicaid. Put these two together and, I think, one thing is clear: big Medicare and Medicaid cuts are coming.

“’We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit, Ryan said in a radio interview last week. And, he said, “I think the president is understanding choice and competition works everywhere, especially in Medicare.’ Last month, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said: ‘We have to do two things. We have to generate economic growth which generates revenue, while reducing spending. That will mean instituting structural changes to Social Security and Medicare for the future.'”

Click here to read this next avenue article in its entirety.

“How bankers and doctors can collaborate to detect ‘early warnings’ of Alzheimer’s” – STAT

Close-up woman standing and holding the wallet empty of moneyAPStock

by Jason Karlawish

Banking and medicine have little in common. One is for creating and managing wealth, the other for managing health. Yet together they could help detect and fight the growing burden of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. I call this partnership of banking and medicine whealthcare.

“Thanks to decades-long advances in personal and public health, the average 65-year-old American can expect to live another 19 years. This remarkable progress presents a challenge: Many people might not have enough money to live that long.

“The monthly pension check has gone the way of the electric typewriter and calculator. Retirement funds, if we have any — half of American families have saved less than $5,000 for retirement — are ours to manage, and we really need that cash to pay for our living expenses and most of our long-term care. Aging Americans are also taking on more debt, such as their children’s and grandchildren’s student loans.”

Keep reading this article at STATnews, click here.