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Archive: November 2013

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WashPost: Here's how Obama is cutting Medicare

posted Tue, Nov 26, 2013   by The Washington Post

ACOs have become one of the most talked about new ideas in Obamacare, touted as a way to help fix an inefficient payment system that rewards more, not better, care. About 4 million Medicare beneficiaries are now in an ACO, and more than 428 hospitals have signed up for either the Medicare program or a private ACO. An estimated 14 percent of the U.S. population is now being served by an ACO. Here’s how it works: a group of doctors and hospitals get together to form a network responsible for taking care of a group of Medicare patients—in this case, about 9,000 Iowans. If the network can prove it’s keeping those patients healthier and spending less money to do so, it gets to keep some of the savings. The ACO can then use that money to do things Medicare doesn’t usually cover—like reaching out more to patients at home. But if the ACO does not succeed, it may face a financial penalty.

$1.3M grant for Mass. Healthy Living Center of Excellence

posted Thu, Nov 21, 2013   by John A. Hartford Foundation

The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Tufts Health Plan Foundation have granted $1.3 million to the Massachusetts Healthy Living Center of Excellence to promote the use of evidence-based health programs across the state.

NY Times: Alzheimer's anxiety by Ezekiel Emanuel, MD

posted Mon, Nov 18, 2013   by the New York Times

In April 2012, the Food and Drug Administration approved Eli Lilly’s radioactive molecule for patients who are being evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of cognitive decline that result in forgetfulness or disorientation. In September, Medicare announced that it would pay for the test — which costs between $3,000 and $5,000 and is often not covered by private insurance — but only if the patient was part of a randomized, controlled trial, which is the only way to definitively determine the value of the scan. Alzheimer’s disease is scary. But that is no reason for society to waste a lot of money on a test that really doesn’t help. It is a reason for a lot more research on Alzheimer’s, including Medicare’s randomized trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the test. This research will take time, but there is no other path forward.

How Minnesota could solve coming home-care worker shortage

posted Thu, Nov 14, 2013   by MinnPost

Minnesota is projecting a shortage of as many as 53,000 home health-care workers by the end of this decade. In order to avoid forcing older Minnesotans and people with disabilities into nursing homes because of this shortage, there are several steps we must take to professionalize the industry, raise wages and provide better benefits. Two models that can work in tandem involve unionizing home-care workers, which is currently under way, and forming worker-owned cooperatives. These needs are expected to increase. Gail MacInnes and Dorie Seavey, in a 2012 Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) study, projected a 53,000 shortfall of Minnesota home care workers by the end of this decade. Their report, “Home Care at a Crossroads: Minnesota’s Impending Long-Term Care Gap,” attributes some of the gap to the aging population. But other factors plague the industry — not the least of being the lack of compensation and benefits. This means home-care workers can’t adequately care for their families while caring for other people. Minnesotans over age 65 are expected to increase from 670,429 in 2010 to more than 1,193,100 in 2030 – an 80 percent increase, according to U.S. Administration on Aging projections in the report.

Why depression may speed up the aging process

posted Wed, Nov 13, 2013   by Forbes

Depression can take its toll on a variety of physical and mental processes, and a new study offers some more substantial clues about why this may be. The research, out in Molecular Psychiatry today, reports that major depression, whether in the past or present, may actually speed up the aging process at the molecular level. Though the findings are somewhat disheartening for obvious reasons, there’s also some good news: There’s reason to believe that the damage that’s been done may be at least in part reversible.

Ombudsmen protect rights of the elderly

posted Wed, Nov 13, 2013   by Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Florida's Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program has gone through three directors in less than three years, and the upheaval has caused some staffers and volunteers to leave. Those who remain insist that the essential work of ombudsmen — evaluating facilities, listening to residents and educating them about their rights — has not been affected. But at least one former official says all the infighting has harmed the recruitment and retention of volunteers. Those highly trained volunteers are key to the mission of the program, established by the federal Older Americans Act in 1975. They serve as the eyes, ears and voices for nursing home and assisted-living residents who cannot speak for themselves. Ombudsmen make yearly assessments of each facility, and also respond to complaints from residents, family members and even facility employees.

Nursing home alternative: family-care homes

posted Mon, Nov 11, 2013

The aging of the Baby Boomer generation – the largest in recent history – is putting pressure on families and increasing the demand for services for age-related diseases. Thus the growth in licensed family-care homes, such as the Perryman House in Thomasville’s Wallcliff Park, operated by The Almost Home Group LLC. There are 638 family-care homes in North Carolina, according to Ricky Diaz, a spokesman with N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

"Golden age of geriatric research may be upon us"

posted Fri, Nov 8, 2013   by New Haven Register

An array of experts on growing old, including the head of the National Institute on Aging, met at Yale University Thursday to share the latest research findings of the Yale Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center. From chronic illness and risk of falling to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, researchers are targeting those things that impinge on the health and well being of older people, the New Haven Register reports.

New face of elderly: More diverse, more educated, more divorced

posted Wed, Nov 6, 2013

The LA Times reports: The elderly are growing increasingly diverse in the United States, a new report from UCLA researchers shows. Roughly one out of five are members of a racial or ethnic minority. More than one out of eight were born outside the country. By 2050, Latinos are projected to make up 20% of those 65 and older. Their lives also reflect other changes that have reverberated through American society in recent decades: Nearly 12% of seniors are separated or divorced, almost three times as many as in 1970, the report found.

Making communities LGBT age-friendly: John Feather, HuffPost

posted Tue, Nov 5, 2013   by The Huffington Post

In his latest blog for the Huffington Post, GIA's CEO, John Feather, discusses making communities more age-friendly for LGBT people. Many communities are starting to focus on becoming more age friendly -- becoming great places not only to grow up but also to grow old. This is wonderful and much needed. But how do we ensure that they also become more LGBT aging friendly? The challenges can seem formidable, since they include health care, services, transportation, long-term care, and housing.

Therapy animals delay progression of dementia symptoms in nursing home residents, study finds

posted Mon, Nov 4, 2013

Engagement with therapy animals slows down the progression of dementia symptoms in nursing home residents, according to a recently published study in this month's issue of The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Senior citizens enter workforce through innovative program

posted Mon, Nov 4, 2013

Seniors face very real barriers to entering the workforce, according to Christine McMahon, president and CEO of Fedcap, the organization that operates ReServe. Based in New York, Fedcap operates seven ReServe chapters in the United States including Boston, Newark and Miami. In addition to ReServe, Fedcap, a not-for-profit, also runs several other programs to help youth and veterans, primarily in New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. find meaningful employment. FedCap operates ReServe and receives funding for the program from foundations like the United Way and the MetLife Foundation, among a host of others.


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