Category Archives: Technology

“New Senate Bill Seeks To Continue COVID-19 Telehealth Coverage” -mHealthIntelligence

“A recently submitted bill in the US Senate seeks to make permanent several emergency telehealth measures enacted during the pandemic.”

telemed

Source: ThinkStock

by Erik Wicklund

“A group of Senators has submitted yet another bill aimed at permanently extending Medicare coverage for certain telehealth services beyond the pandemic.

“The Protecting Rural Telehealth Access Act (S. 1988), introduced this week by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Terry Moran (R-KS), reportedly aims to improve access to and coverage of connected health services in rural parts of the country. It would continue several emergency measures enacted during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“In a press release, Manchin and his colleagues said the bill would:

  • Allow payment-parity for audio-only telehealth services for clinically appropriate appointments;
  • Permanently waive geographic restrictions in Medicare coverage, allowing patients to be treated in their homes;
  • Permanently allow Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to serve as distant sites for providing telehealth services;
  • Expand coverage for asynchronous (store-and-forward) telehealth services; and
  • Allow Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) to directly bill for telehealth services.”

Continue reading this article at mHealthIntelligence.com, click here.

“5 Ways For Seniors To Protect Themselves From Online Misinformation” – NPR

seniors misinformation

“You’ve probably come across a piece of bad information online, and you might not even know it. The virus was not created in a lab as a bioweapon, for instance, and inhaling hot air from a hair dryer is not a cure.

“Experts say this outbreak may be the biggest source of Internet misinformation … ever.

“Life Kit wants to help.”


by Amy Yee

‘Online misinformation is a serious threat, from fake cures for COVID-19 to false information on voting eligibility.

“Seniors are especially at risk. People over 65 were more likely to share false or misleading content on Facebook during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to one study from researchers at Princeton and New York University. Older adults were also exposed to more misinformation on Twitter during that election.

“Seniors should learn about avoiding misinformation — to protect themselves, and because they are civically active. Over half of poll workers were ages 61 and older in the 2018 U.S. general election, according to Pew Research Center. And older voters in the U.S. are also consistently more likely to vote than younger groups.

“A scientific study published in the journal Nature in March 2021 found that many people shared misinformation on social media because they did not pay close attention to the content. They were less likely to share misinformation after being asked to assess the accuracy of news headlines. Simply taking more time to evaluate sources can go a long way.”

Click here to see “more tips to defuse misinformation and disinformation:”


SOURCE: NPR

“Why getting more people with disabilities developing technology is good for everyone” – The Conversation

blind“Accessible technology is better for everyone, and accessible technology benefits when the people who rely on it most help build it.” Chris So/Toronto Star via Getty Images

by Kristen Shinohara and Garreth Tigwell

“Unless you’re blind or know someone who is, you might not know that blind people use the same smartphones as sighted people. In fact, many blind people use touch-screen smartphones every day. The secret is that smartphones have a screen reader, a tool that allows blind people to use a mix of gestures and taps, along with vibrations or audio feedback, to use their apps.

“Screen readers work on desktop computers as well as mobile devices. You can usually find the screen reader in settings under accessibility. On iPhones the screen reader is VoiceOver. It provides a verbal description of what’s on the screen, including buttons to click and other actions available to the user. A well-designed website or app user interface makes the information on the website or app accessible to the screen reader, which makes it accessible to blind users. However, a badly designed website or application will be rendered invisible to a screen reader.

“We are researchers who focus on technology design that is usable for people with all kinds of disabilities. We’ve found that more needs to be done to make technology accessible and inclusive, such as improving design tools so they are accessible to screen reader users.”

Read this article at The Conversation in its entirety, click here.

Wolf Administration Encourages Pennsylvanians to Apply for Assistance with Internet Bills, Electronic Devices

ebb

Harrisburg, PA – The departments of Human Services, Labor & Industry, and Education today announced the availability of the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), a program that will assist eligible households in paying for internet service and certain electronic devices.

The EBB, which is administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is a temporary program that provides a discount of up to $50 per month off a qualifying household’s internet bill and associated equipment rental. Additionally, eligible households can receive a one-time discount of up to $100 towards a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer, provided that the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. The EBB is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household, and the discount will be provided by the FCC directly to the service provider.

“The past year has shown us just how essential internet access is in order to connect with our loved ones, our workplaces and schools, and even to basic needs like telehealth and grocery delivery. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for many to keep up with bills and expenses, so we are glad that the FCC is providing this benefit to people who need it,” said Acting DHS Secretary Meg Snead. “Assistance programs like this exist to help get you through tough times. I encourage anybody who has struggled to pay their internet bills to apply for this benefit.”

A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:

  • Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers;
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating internet provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program; or,
  • Qualifies for the FCC’s Lifeline program.
    • Households qualify for the federal Lifeline program if their income is less than 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or if they or their child participate in programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), or other federal programs. Eligible participants can receive Lifeline and EBB at the same time.
    • DHS has partnered with the FCC to provide a real time data exchange that verifies whether an individual is already receiving SNAP, Medicaid or SSI so that individuals receiving these programs will be able to more easily qualify for this new benefit as well as Lifeline.

“Strong, reliable access to the internet is a necessity for workers because today’s job search and hiring process is conducted almost exclusively online,” said L&I Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier. “The Emergency Broadband Benefit will help struggling Pennsylvanians apply for jobs, communicate with hiring managers, and engage in online training programs that will help lift them out of poverty.”

“Access to the internet could be considered a school supply; a critical resource that supports learning beyond classroom walls,” said Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. “The Emergency Broadband Benefit serves as another means to bridge the digital divide and create digital equity for students and families across the state.”

Applications for this program open today and will end once the funds are exhausted or six months after the federal Department of Health and Human Services declares the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Service providers will be required to give notice on the last date when the EBB program will end.

To apply for the EBB program, contact your participating broadband service provider, or visit getemergencybroadband.org to apply online or print a paper application to mail in.

More information on the EBB can be found here.  For more information on other public assistance programs, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.


SOURCE: news release

“Many Older Adults Lack Even Simple, Helpful Equipment” – The New York Times

“Railings, grab bars, shower chairs and other inexpensive devices can make it easier to continue living at home, but not enough older people acquire them.”

assistiive devicesCredit…Rosem Morton for The New York Times

by Paula Spahn

“In 2019, John Hancock had become so disabled after a hospitalization that he went close to a year without being able to take a bath or a shower. Using a walker, he could, with difficulty, move around the townhouse in Baltimore where he lived with his daughter and grandson. But because he felt too unsteady to climb into the tub, one of them had to help him with sponge baths.

“Then a program at Johns Hopkins called CAPABLE (Community Aging in Place — Advancing Better Living for Elders) sent a nurse, an occupational therapist and a repair person to provide some inexpensive assistive devices. ‘It made a tremendous difference in my life,’ Mr. Hancock, a retired school cook, said.

“Over several visits, the team asked about his needs and priorities and supplied a shower chair and a rubber bath mat. The repair person installed grab bars around the tub, attached a hand-held shower nozzle and added a railing next to the toilet. Mr. Hancock learned how to use it all.

“’I feel safe and I feel secure,’ he said recently. ‘I don’t have to call somebody to help me. I feel independent, and I’ve been independent all my life.’ Recovering well from a recent stroke, Mr. Hancock, now 64, can not only bathe on his own but can also cook for himself, manage stairs and go to church.”

Click here to read this article in its entirety at The New York Times.


Be sure to register for this Link-sponsored Webinar:

May 6, 2021 @ 11:00 am – “Is Assistive Technology just a device?” | Shelly Houser, presenter (Register in advance for this webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_VwCzY-5-SN2j6GtFNokISA. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.)

“‘So Deep And So Rich’: Seniors Stay Connected Via Their New Life On Zoom” – NPR

senior zoom
"The memoir writing students at the DOROT Center found new closeness on Zoom." - Gwynne Hogan

by Gwynne Hogan

“Last March, I visited a senior center in Manhattan on its last day of programming before lockdown forced everything in New York City to a grinding halt. At that point in the pandemic, we were flying blind — elbow-bumping instead of handshaking, but not wearing masks, even in cramped indoor settings.

“I rode my bike to DOROT on the Upper West Side with a lump in my throat, fearing that maybe I was an unknowing vector of the virus. (A traveling group of coughing a cappella singers was performing and my fears abated that I’d be the one to get them sick.)

“I met a group of women in a weekly memoir class, right as the director broke the news that the center was closing because of the coronavirus.

“It came as a blow to the women, especially for Yvonne Rossetti, who was 65 years old at the time.

“‘I think depression is a killer, and certainly many of us are here because maybe we battle depression,’ she’d said to the room. ‘This place is a lifeboat.'”

Keep reading this article at NPR, click here.

Saturday webinars | Link Service Area 13’s second “Let’s get Tech Savvy” webinar video on Windows 10 is here.

baby steps webinar

“In the USA, only 59% of people over the age of 65 use the Internet daily, as opposed to 86% of all adults under 65.”

That’s the entire reason the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources’ Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Service Area  scheduled the Saturday morning (March 6 and March 27) webinars. These are the first two in a series of planned webinars that are designed to erase and lessen the fears that many people may have about using digital technology.

It’s tough trying to deliver taking training about how to use a smart phone, a tablet or a computer to persons who may not have the technology, the experience or the connectivity. It’s also tough to not have internet access and technological skills needed to find a Covid vaccination site. Or to file an online unemployment claim. Or to schedule a medical appointment.

But the intent of this series of webinars is to lessen the trepidation and the uncertainty of the technology in small bite-sized blocks of 30 to 40 minute online webinars. The Link coordinator hopes that caregivers, family members and agency resources who interact with persons with low or no digital savvy will share the webinar information with them.

Here are the video recordings of the first two Saturday’s “Baby Steps” Webinars: https://1drv.ms/v/s!Agtzmyc10ssBgxni4YdAzYOFpFiO?e=Sdb3wR

The next Webinar will be scheduled for Saturday morning, April 17 and will be announced at the Link Website and hopefully in local media. For more information about upcoming Webinars, send an email to blllink@mail.com or call / text: 717.308.9714.


Those who’ve ventured into owning a smart phone know “how many times a day your phone, computer, tablet, watch and other gadgets buzz or ding. It gets annoying and distracting.”

Upcoming webinars will deal with smart phone questions, but here’s a Kim Kommando column that’s especially topical: “How to stop junk text messages and spam for good.”

The Penn State Harrisburg Smart Home Research Initiative (SHRI) Committee invites you to attend a Virtual Symposium on The Future of Aging.

psu harrisburg

The Future of Aging: Smart Home Technology, Healthcare, Research, and Practice

The Penn State Harrisburg Smart Home Research Initiative (SHRI) Committee invites you to attend a Virtual Symposium on The Future of Aging on April 9, 2021, 11:30-2:30 pm.  

A major goal of the symposium is to bring together public and private entities that share interests in advancing innovations that improve the quality of life for older adults and individuals with disabilities. The program includes several Guest Speakers, Research Presentations, and a Panel Discussion.  Breakout rooms are designed to give participants an active role in discussing symposium topics.  A complete program is available on the registration page.

To register, please click here: https://smart-home-symposium.eventbrite.com  Registration is open until midnight on April 6, 2021.

Saturday webinars | Link Service Area 13 kicks off “Let’s get Tech Savvy” webinar series designed to help you get connected.

baby steps

“In the USA, only 59% of people over the age of 65 use the Internet daily, as opposed to 86% of all adults under 65.”

That’s the entire reason the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources’ Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Service Area  scheduled the Saturday morning (March 6) webinar. This was the first in a series of planned webinars that are designed to erase and lessen the fears that many people may have about using digital technology.

It’s tough trying to deliver taking training about how to use a smart phone, a tablet or a computer to persons who may not have the technology, the experience or the connectivity. It’s also tough to not have internet access and technological skills needed to find a Covid vaccination site. Or to file an online unemployment claim. Or to schedule a medical appointment.

But the intent of this series of webinars is to lessen the trepidation and the uncertainty of the technology in small bite-sized blocks of 30 to 40 minute online webinars. The Link coordinator hopes that caregivers, family members and agency resources who interact with persons with low or no digital savvy will share the webinar information with them.

For instance, here’s a video recording of Saturday’s “Baby Steps” Webinar: https://1drv.ms/v/s!Agtzmyc10ssBgxni4YdAzYOFpFiO?e=Sdb3wR

The next Webinar will be in two weeks and will be announced at the Link Website and hopefully in local media. For more information about upcoming Webinars, send an email to blllink@mail.com or call / text: 717.308.9714.


Those who’ve ventured into owning a smart phone know “how many times a day your phone, computer, tablet, watch and other gadgets buzz or ding. It gets annoying and distracting.”

Upcoming webinars will deal with smart phone questions, but here’s a Kim Kommando column that’s especially topical: “How to stop junk text messages and spam for good.”

Online learning and connecting | several articles for digital users of all levels

fatigue - connectionThe Internet and meeting platforms as Zoom have provided exceptional ways for people to stay connected over the past year. Perhaps going forward, digital conferencing computer applications and programs will be the connection of choice for so many reasons.

On March 6, the Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Link partners’ network will be offering this free Webinar that’s geared for persons who may need a little boost and confidence building in getting started on digital highway.

March 06 – A webinar especially for seniors and others who may be a little skeptical about digital devices and the Internet: “BABY STEPS #1: Let’s Get Tech Savvvy!


Here are a few articles that may be of interest for you: