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Archive: February 2017

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RFF invites funders to replicate the Accessible Faith Grant Program

posted Tue, Feb 28, 2017   by RFF website

For more than a decade, The Retirement Research Foundation partnered with houses of worship through the Accessible Faith Grant Program, a special initiative to remove physical barriers to accessibility and further their social justice efforts. We learned that when a sacred space is made more accessible for older adults, the entire community benefits in countless ways. RFF would like to encourage other funders to develop a version of the Accessible Faith Grant Program. It is transferable, readily replicable, easily scalable and adaptable. RRF will freely share its materials, experience, and advice. Learn much more at Retirement Research Foundation's website.

Rural Health Care Crisis & Freestanding Emergency Centers

posted Tue, Feb 28, 2017

Over the past several decades, rural hospitals have closed at alarming rates, according to an article in HEALTH AFFAIRS. A 2016 study identified over 650 rural hospitals vulnerable to closure in 42 states with 38 percent of 1,332 Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) operating at a financial loss. Freestanding Emergency Centers (FECs) present a practical solution to this crisis. FECs are not urgent care centers. They are full-service EDs, which by statute in most states are open 24 hours. FECs can bring time-sensitive critical care to rural communities, along with treatment for urgent conditions that require complicated diagnostic evaluations. FECs operate as either Hospital Outpatient Departments (HOPDs) owned by health systems, or in some states are independently-owned. As of 2015, there were 387 HOPDs and 172 independently owned FECs.

Psychotropic drug use by older adults increases, especially in rural areas

posted Tue, Feb 14, 2017

The number of retirement-age Americans taking at least three psychiatric drugs more than doubled between 2004 and 2013, even though almost half of them had no mental health diagnosis on record, researchers reported on Monday. The New York Times reports that the new analysis, based on data from doctors’ office visits, suggests that inappropriate prescribing to older people is more common than previously thought. Office visits are a close, if not exact, estimate of underlying patient numbers. The paper appears in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Medicare "death panel" fears, legislation re-emerge for end-of-life counseling

posted Tue, Feb 14, 2017

Controversy is threatening to reemerge in Congress over Advance Care Planning funding, which pays doctors to counsel some 57 million Medicare patients on end-of-life treatment preferences, USA Today reports. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, introduced a bill last month, the Protecting Life Until Natural Death Act, which would revoke Medicare reimbursement for the sessions, which he called “yet another life-devaluing policy.” While the fate of King’s bill is highly uncertain — the recently proposed measure hasn’t seen congressional action — it underscores deep feelings among conservatives who have long opposed such counseling and may seek to remove it from Medicare should Republicans attempt to make other changes to the entitlement program.

$900K project will test housing with supportive services model: Hebrew Seniorlife

posted Wed, Feb 8, 2017

Hebrew SeniorLife will use $900,000 in funding to test a model of housing with supportive services that it says could improve quality of life and reduce medical costs for older adults living in affordable housing and potentially save the healthcare system billions of dollars every year if rolled out nationally, reports McKnights Senior Living. The “Right Care, Right Place, Right Time: Effectively Integrating Senior Care and Housing” initiative, funded with a $420,000 grant from the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission through the Health Care Innovation Investment Program and $480,000 from other sources, will try to determine whether wellness teams embedded at supportive housing communities offer a more coordinated approach to anticipating and responding to resident needs.

ACA Repeal Seen Thwarting State Addiction Efforts

posted Mon, Feb 6, 2017   by Stateline from Pew Charitable Trusts

In the three years since the Affordable Care Act took effect, its federally funded expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults has become the states’ most powerful weapon in the battle against the nation’s worsening opioid epidemic, reports Stateline, a project funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts that Stateline provides daily reporting and analysis on trends in state policy. Now, as Congress and President Donald Trump debate potential replacements for the law, governors, health care professionals and advocates for the poor are cautioning that any cut in federal funding for addiction treatment could reverse much of the progress states have made.


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