Category Archives: Healthcare

“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.

“The Illness Is Bad Enough. The Hospital May Be Even Worse.” – The New York Times

“The elderly are particularly vulnerable to ‘post-hospital syndrome,’ some experts believe, and that may be why so many patients return.”

post discharge“Bernadine Lewandowski and Dona Jones collaborating on a crossword. Ms. Lewandowski’s condition has improved, but she is too frail to live alone. – Credit: Madeline Gray for The New York Times”

by Paula Spahn

“When she moved from Michigan to be near her daughter in Cary, N.C., Bernadine Lewandowski insisted on renting an apartment five minutes away.

“Her daughter, Dona Jones, would have welcomed her mother into her own home, but ‘she’s always been very independent,’ Ms. Jones said.

“Like most people in their 80s, Ms. Lewandowski contended with several chronic illnesses and took medication for osteoporosis, heart failure and pulmonary disease. Increasingly forgetful, she had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. She used a cane for support as she walked around her apartment complex.

Read this New York Times article in its entirety, click here.

Ensuring Health Systems Become Age-Friendly

age friendly communities

“An exciting, long-overdue and much needed movement is underway to close current gaps and failures in health care for older adults so that it better meets our needs as we age. The Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative, conceptualized in 2015 and launched in 2017, has sparked innovation and improvement across the country and presents a ripe opportunity for community-based organizations to further collaborate with clinical partners. Together, these collaborations can ensure that older adults receive the best care possible across settings—care with better transitions that reduces the risk of harm and poor outcomes, increases satisfaction and achieves greater value for everyone.

“Area Agencies on Aging and other community-based organizations that serve older adults living in the community have long-standing and deep expertise in age-friendly care and come at the work in creative and individualized ways.”

Continue reading this article at the Aging and Disability Business Institute, click here.

“Genetic testing: Should I get tested for Alzheimer’s risk?” – The Conversation

memory testingA woman and her doctor discuss healthy aging.” Dennis Sabo/Shutterstock.com”

by Troy Rohn

“Thanks to advances in genetic testing, there is now a way for consumers to test for the greatest genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects older adults. It is the most common cause of dementia. It is the third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer. An estimated 700,000 Americans 65 and older will have Alzheimer’s when they die. In a recent study asking Americans age 50 or older the condition they were most afraid of, the number one fear was Alzheimer’s, with 39 percent; followed by cancer, at 30 percent.

“Clinically, patients with Alzheimer’s most commonly present with insidiously progressive memory loss, difficulty thinking and understanding and mental confusion.”

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

 

“WATCH: How the brain transforms vision into action” – STAT

visionJaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky/STAT

by Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky

What we see often determines how we act: We hit the brakes if a car is stopped ahead of us. We duck to avoid a low-hanging tree branch. We bend down to tie our shoe when the laces come undone.

“We rarely give these actions a second thought. But Mriganka Sur, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, is obsessed with them.

“’How is vision, which we do effortlessly, transformed into action, which requires volition, which requires attention and engagement?’ Sur asked. ‘How this transformation takes place is a fundamental question that is at the heart of brain function and behavior.’”

Click here to continue reading this article at STATNews

Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council has lots of information for everyone

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council is an independent state agency responsible for addressing the problem of escalating health costs, ensuring the quality of health care, and increasing access for all citizens regardless of ability to pay.

“The Council shares this data with the public through free public reports. Since its creation, PHC4 has published hundreds public reports about health care in Pennsylvania. These reports are widely distributed, and can be found on the Council’s website, www.phc4.org, and in most public libraries throughout the state. The Council has also produced hundreds of customized reports and data sets through its Special Requests division for a wide variety of users including hospitals, policy-makers, researchers, physicians, insurers, and other group purchasers.”

Here are some of these reports:

procedures

Common Outpatient Procedures for Berks County Residents in FY 2015

Common Outpatient Procedures for Lancaster County Residents in FY 2015

Common Outpatient Procedures for Lebanon County Residents in FY 2015