Category Archives: Healthcare

“What is ‘quality’ in aged care? Here’s what studies (and our readers) say” – The Conversation

quality aging care

Though this article comes from the Australian version of The Conversation, “Everyone has their own idea of what quality of care and quality of life in residential aged care may look like. The Conversation asked readers how they would want a loved one to be cared for in a residential aged care facility. What they said was similar to what surveys around the world have consistently found.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

 

NeedyMeds is a national non-profit organization that maintains a website of free information on programs that help people who can’t afford medications and healthcare costs.

needymeds

Check out this resource to find help with the cost of medicine: https://www.needymeds.org 

CMS announces 2019 Medicare Parts A & B premiums and deductibles

medicare increase

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the 2019 premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts for Medicare Parts A and B.

“’CMS is committed to empowering beneficiaries with the information they need to make informed decisions about their healthcare,’ said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.  ‘In addition to the information we recently released for Medicare Advantage, the program through which private plans provide Medicare benefits, today we are releasing information for fee-for-service Medicare, so enrollees understand their options for receiving Medicare benefits.’

As announced earlier this month, CMS launched the eMedicare Initiative that aims to modernize the way beneficiaries get information about Medicare and create new ways to help them make the best decisions for themselves and their families. Ahead of Medicare Open Enrollment – which begins on October 15, 2018 and ends December 7, 2018 – CMS is making improvements the Medicare.gov website to help beneficiaries compare options and decide if Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage is right for them. Among the tools released as part of the eMedicare Initiative is a stand-alone, mobile optimized out of pocket cost calculator that will provide information on both overall costs and prescription drug costs.

Click here to continue reading this article.

Check Your Mail: Changes to the 2018 Medicare Open Enrollment Period Mailings – MyMedicareMatters

medicare

by The My Medicare Matters Team

“It’s time a year again! Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is almost here, starting October 15th and ending December 7th. If you’re already enrolled in a Medicare plan this is the time of year where you can re-evaluate your coverage to make sure you are still enrolled in the best plan for your needs.

“Over the next few weeks, leading up to and during the Medicare OEP you’ll receive notices from your current Medicare plan, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and advertisements from other Medicare companies claiming to offer the best plans. All this information can be overwhelming and as tempting as it may be to lump is with the junk mail and throw it away, that may not be the best idea. There are a lot of changes occurring with Medicare this year and to stay informed you need to review all the notices provided by your insurance company and CMS.

“One of the most immediate changes impacts the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plan notification policies.”

To read this article in its entirety, click here.

“In the Nursing Home, Empty Beds and Quiet Halls” – The New York Times

“Fewer patients are winding up in nursing homes, and hundreds of the facilities are closing each year.” 

nursing home closePatrick Crump, chief executive of the nonprofit Morningside Ministries, at Chandler Estate, a nursing home in San Antonio. The facility closed this year.” – CreditIlana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

by Paula Spahn

“For more than 40 years, Morningside Ministries operated a nursing home in San Antonio, caring for as many as 113 elderly residents. The facility, called Chandler Estate, added a small independent living building in the 1980s and an even smaller assisted living center in the 90s, all on the same four-acre campus.

“The whole complex stands empty now. Like many skilled nursing facilities in recent years, Chandler Estate had seen its occupancy rate drop.

“’Every year, it seemed a little worse,’ said Patrick Crump, chief executive of the nonprofit organization, supported by several Protestant groups. ‘We were running at about 80 percent.’”

Continue reading this article at The New York Times, click here.

“CDC: 1 in 5 Americans suffer from chronic pain” – FireceHealthcare

chronic pain“The CDC estimates that 20% of Americans suffer from chronic pain.” (Getty/smartstock)

by Paige Minemyer

“Nearly 20 million Americans suffer from chronic pain that interferes with their daily activities, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The CDC reviewed the 2016 National Health Interview Survey, which includes responses from more than 17,000 adults, and found that 1 in 5 Americans, or about 50 million people, suffer from chronic pain.

“Of those, 8%, or about 19.6 million, suffer from pain that interferes with their daily lives.”

Keep reading this article at Fierce Healthcare.com.

“Wolf Administration Provides Update on Program Offering Coordinated, Quality Health Care in Homes, Communities”

DHS continues to provide access to high-quality services serving more people in the community

chc logo

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Human Services (DHS) Deputy Secretary for the Office of Long-Term Living Kevin Hancock today at the Capitol Media Center provided an update on the implementation of the Community HealthChoices (CHC). CHC launched in southwestern Pennsylvania on January 1, 2018, and is rolling out to the Southeast on January 1, 2019.

CHC is Pennsylvania’s managed care program for individuals who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare, and for individuals with physical disabilities requiring long term services and supports. CHC has been developed to improve access to and coordination of medical and person-centered long-term services and supports in which people have choice, control, and access to a full array of quality services that enable them to live independent and healthy lives in the setting they choose.

“The Department of Human Services has seen great success with the CHC rollout in the Southwest. The phased rollout of CHC has given us time to listen to participants and hear their experience with the program so that by 2020 we will be delivering the best local care possible to hundreds of thousands of seniors and participants across the commonwealth,” said Hancock. “We look forward to expanding the service offerings to Southeastern Pennsylvania in January 2019 and are preparing providers and eligible participants for this transition.”

In preparation for the launch of CHC in the Southeast region, the department has coordinated efforts with the CHC managed care organizations (CHC-MCOs) to host provider information sessions as well as community stakeholder sessions. These community stakeholder sessions offer potential CHC eligible community members the opportunity to learn more about CHC, gather resources, and ask questions that will enable an individual to choose a CHC-MCO that will best meet their needs.

“One of our priorities is to continue to enhance the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the supports and services available to serve more people in communities, giving them the opportunity to work, spend more time with their families, and experience an overall better quality of life,” said Hancock. “This continued investment demonstrates a commitment to supporting elderly Pennsylvanians and individuals with physical disabilities.”

The rollout in the Southeast will include approximately 128,000 individuals. When fully implemented across the state, CHC will serve 450,000 Pennsylvanians, 94 percent of whom are dually eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare.

For more information on the CHC program, visit www.healthchoices.pa.gov/info/about/community/

To register for a Southeast Pennsylvania community informational session, please visit www.HealthChoices.pa.gov. You can also register by telephone by dialing 1-888-735-4416. Telephone registrations will be accepted Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

SOURCE: news release

“Are you prepared for long-term care?” – Senior Planet

long term insurancePhoto by Martha Dominguez for Unsplash

by Maryalene LaPonsie 

“Many older Americans will need help as they age. Among those reaching age 65 in 2017, almost 70 percent will need some form of long term care in the future, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While most Americans expect long term care to cost $25,350, the actual price tag is more like $47,000, according to a survey by the Moll Law Group. And on average, those who need care will require three years of it…but how will they pay for their care?

“If you have children, they may be able to pitch in and help. The alternative, Medicaid, will pick up the tab only after all savings have been exhausted; applicants must be destitute. While there are ways to shield assets from Medicaid, government “look back” periods have made that harder to do. It’s important to check with an experienced attorney for more information on possible strategies that will protect assets and let you qualify for Medicaid.

“Many people mistakenly think Medicare can help.”

Read this article in its entirety at SeniorPlanet; click here.

“She’s worn both a hospital gown and a white coat. Now she wants to change how doctors perceive their patients” – STATNews

Shekinah-Elmore-1024x576Dr. Shekinah Elmore HYACINTH EMPINADO/STAT

by Orly Nadell Farber

BOSTON — Shekinah Elmore was not yet a physician when she gave her own second opinion. After a year of cancer treatment — including lung surgery, chemotherapy, and a double mastectomy — she was hell-bent on starting medical school. Her doctors tried to dissuade her, recommending that she take more time to recover from her third stint with cancer. But two weeks after finishing the therapies that left her bald and unable to walk without getting winded, Elmore took an oath to do no harm.

“’I’m a very stubborn person,’ she said a few weeks ago, laughing at the gall of her younger self.

“Eight years after starting medical school, Elmore wears her dark hair in long braids with golden ends. But against the brick walls of a quiet coffee shop, her earrings — orange hoops the size of peach slices — stand out the most.

“As a student, Elmore also paired her outfits with unapologetically loud earrings. Her classmates took her shaved head to be another style choice, and not the effect of toxic chemotherapy.

“Elmore was perceived as ‘among the healthy,’ and recalls that wrong assumption with both fondness and frustration. It was nice blending in at school, she said, surrounded by new people who didn’t constantly ask, ‘How do you feel?’”

Continue reading this STATNews article, click here.

“Companies Respond to an Urgent Health Care Need: Transportation” – The New York Times

“It’s no longer enough to call a taxi or regular car service and hope that frail seniors can get in and out — or through the entrance of a doctor’s office on their own as the driver speeds off.”

transportation

by Janet Morrissey

“As America’s baby boomers are hitting 65 at a rate of 10,000 a day, and healthier lifestyles are keeping them in their homes longer, demand is escalating for a little talked-about — yet critical — health care-related job: Transporting people to and from nonemergency medical appointments.

“‘It’s going to become a massive phenomena,’ said Ken Dychtwald, founder and chief executive of Age Wave, a consulting firm specializing in age-related issues. ‘This is an unmet need that’s going to be in the tens of millions of people.’

“It’s no longer enough to call a taxi or regular car service and hope that frail seniors can get in and out — or through the entrance of a doctor’s office on their own as the driver speeds off. For people requiring oxygen tanks and wheelchairs, it’s an even bigger challenge, and long waiting periods are often required to arrange for specially equipped vehicles. Those needing transportation and specialized drivers covered by their insurance often have to wade through another labyrinth of red tape.

“Many older people require sensitive, skilled or specially certified drivers who know how to deal with someone who’s frail, uses a wheelchair or has mild cognitive problems. ‘It’s more than pick up and drop off,’ Mr. Dychtwald said.”

Continue reading this article at The New York Times, click here.