Friday, September 28, 2007
Comparing Staffing Levels in the Online Survey Certification and Reporting (OSCAR) System With the Medicaid Cost Report Data: Are Differences Systemat
Hundreds Of Thousands Of Americans To Lose Medicare Premium Assistance, Unless Congress Acts Immediately
"Congress must not turn its back on older and disabled Americans with low incomes who depend on Medicare premium support to allow them to afford Medicare," said Robert M. Hayes, president of the Medicare Rights Center, a national consumer group. "Without premium assistance, some poor Americans with Medicare will drop their critical Medicare outpatient coverage altogether, or go without essentials to pay for it."
The standard monthly Medicare Part B premium is currently $93.50 but expected to rise in 2008. Medicare Part B covers services such as doctors' visits, laboratory tests, and outpatient care.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
About 7.4% of Americans aged 75 and older lived in nursing homes in 2006, compared with 8.1% in 2000 and 10.2% in 1990.
In a poster discussion at the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) in Barcelona, Dr Tania Estapé said: "This reports shows how important it is to improve and increase the cancer education programmes that are targeted towards older people."
Dr Estapé, a psychosocial programme coordinator in the psychosocial oncology department at the Fundación para la Educación y la Formación en Cáncer (FEFOC), Barcelona, Spain, said that misconceptions about cancer could be very damaging. "Some attitudes and misconceptions about cancer may lead to the elderly avoiding or not participating fully in a healthy lifestyle. For instance, more than half of our respondents did not know that being overweight is a risk factor for cancer," she said.
She and her colleagues questioned 557 people aged 65 and over in one-to-one interviews. The average age was 74. When asked about prevention and early diagnosis, only 53.5% believed that cancer could be prevented and 94% did not know the European Code against Cancer, although they knew some of its recommendations; for instance, over 90% knew to avoid smoking, excessive alcohol and sunbathing. However, only 45.8% knew about the impact of diet on cancer and only 38.1% knew about avoiding being overweight. Three-quarters knew that cancer could be diagnosed early, but only 44% knew about the PSA test for prostate cancer and 34% knew about early detection of breast cancer. Men appeared to be better informed than women about early diagnosis, with more men believing in the possibility of early diagnosis for prostate, breast and colon cancer.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
In a study appearing in the October issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, University of Queensland psychologist, Bill von Hippel, reports that decreased inhibitory ability in late adulthood can lead to unintended prejudice, social inappropriateness, depression, and gambling problems.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Dr Lone Simonsen, George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA and team say that vaccinating no-so-frail elderly people more frequently than their frail peers, plus the use of non-specific endpoints, such as all-cause mortality, are the reasons for this exaggeration.
"The remaining evidence base is currently insufficient to indicate the magnitude of the mortality benefit, if any, that elderly people derive from the vaccination program," say the authors.
Although placebo-controlled randomized trials have demonstrated that the flu vaccine is effective in younger adults, a small number of trials ever included the elderly, especially those aged over 70. About 75% of influenza related deaths occur among people aged 70 and over, point out the authors.
In her keynote lecture to the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) in Barcelona on Monday, Kathy Redmond, who is editor of the magazine Cancer World and also a nurse, will say that these are "huge issues" that need to be addressed now.
"It is almost impossible to predict what the reality will be in 2020," she will say. "But one thing is certain: there will be many more elderly people living with cancer. There is still far too much complacency about this time bomb."
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
On the Backs of Giants
The struggle continues and we’re winning. But a world where people have
real choices in where they receive long term care services has yet to
become reality. It’s up to us to roll up our sleeves, slog through the
crap, and create this reality.
Are you in?
The ADAPT fall national action ended last week. Eight members of
Michigan ADAPT took part. We learned about some of the issues
surrounding the lack of affordable, accessible housing. There was
testimony about the incredible demand for such housing. We heard
personal stories as to how a place to live is akin to being a free person.
HUD representatives were there. They tell us we’re preaching to the
choir. We know HUD can do more. It’s up to us to… motivate them.
Then we paid a visit to the American Medical Association (AMA)
headquarters. We demanded they formally support the Community Choice
Act. We demanded they create a public disclosure of conflict of interest
by members (doctors) who have money invested in any institution. And as
always, we demanded their leadership meet with ADAPT.
They refused and the local police, who were excellent professionals, had
to arrest many of us to vacate the premises.
Next we visited the high rise that contained Chicago office of the
Governor of Illinois, which happened to have a shopping mall and subway
access at ground level. We made ourselves inconvenient until the good
Governor agreed to meet with ADAPT with a meeting date and time in
writing. These types could always make it easier on all involved if
they’d simply honor our conventional request rather than ignoring us or
putting us off with empty promises. We secured this meeting the hard
way. So be it.
What really incites us is the good Governor committed to closing an
horrible institution and now is reneging by sanction funds to renovate
this hell hole.
Lastly we visited the Chicago AFSCME branch (American Federation of
State, County and Municipal Employees). These clowns took the cake! Our
demands were for this branch to send a fax to the national AFSCME saying
we were their and wanted him to uphold his commitment to support the
Community Choice Act. Instead, they stalled and presented us with a
letter for our leadership to sign stating ADAPT supports both community
long term care AND nursing homes. Can you believe this? Of course, our
leaders declined. From here on we were stonewalled. Police got the order
to… disperse us. Some 120 of us ended up arrested.
Now we work here at home.
For those of you wondering about the first line, let me elaborate. It’s
been over 4 1/2 years since I last attended an ADAPT national action. My
first was in 1994. There were plenty of old friends attending and many
new faces. I was reminded of what inspires and humbles me about this
conglomeration of amazing people. Perhaps I’m politically incorrect
here, but I am in awe when I see the extent of the disabling
characteristics out in the streets, day after day, doing grueling work.
These are people with trach tubes, oxygen, severe speech impairments,
flimsy manual wheelchairs mobile by pushing off one leg going backwards,
inability to chew food, significant mental or emotional impairments,
cancer, incredible pain… etc. – many with multiple characteristics.
Despite being the poorest of the poor, they find the resources to
attend. In fact, many apply their meager resources to attend ADAPT
actions to the extent it is their only major activity of the calendar
year. Yet there they are, blocking doors, chanting as they can,
cheering, smiling, determined. They know what they’re doing even if an
outside party would have no idea. ADAPT leaders have been accused of
exploiting these powerful people. We’re told they’re sheep just
following a flock. Bullshit! These are the greatest of our brethren.
Despite incalculable discomfort, they come. Despite the sacrifices to
their home life, they come. They ain’t no sissies, I’ll tell you! But
compared to them, I am.
Yes, I do feel I’m riding the backs of giants.
Friday, September 21, 2007
SilverCensus.com, Inc. Launches Web Site To Educate Florida Seniors, Caregivers And Healthcare Professionals On Available Health And Living Options
A recent fall of an ailing parent in Florida triggers waves of distress amongst the adult children in Michigan. Emotionally charged, the siblings are faced with healthcare and assisted-living decisions that need to be made in a distant and unfamiliar community. This was prior to the launch of SilverCensus.com, when caregivers had limited resources available to prepare and arrange for health care needs. At last, a web site designed to provide health and living options so care can be initiated from anywhere, regardless of the distance. SilverCensus.com was designed to educate and allow caregivers, healthcare professionals, and seniors to select information from a comprehensive online database of high-quality community-based healthcare resources and services.
The content rich web site includes a database of Florida-based specialized physicians, residential care facilities, skilled home health care and non-medical assistance agencies, medical equipment suppliers, free senior resources, transportation and meal delivery providers, as well as a calendar of senior activities and support groups throughout Florida: http://silvercensus.com/health_related_services.php.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
The research also provides concrete evidence that the effects of chronic stress can be seen both at the genetic and molecular level in chronic caregivers' bodies.
The findings, reported this month by researchers from Ohio State University and the federal National Institute of Aging, were published in the Journal of Immunology.
These are the latest results from a nearly three-decade-long program at Ohio State investigating the links between psychological stress and a weakened immune status. Previous studies have examined medical students, newlyweds, divorced spouses, widows, widowers and long-married couples, in each case, looking for physiological effects caused by psychological stress.
In their recent study, Ronald Glaser, a professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics, and Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychology and psychiatry, teamed with Nan-ping Weng and his research group from the National Institute of Aging.
Earlier work by other researchers had shown that mothers caring for chronically ill children developed changes in their chromosomes that effectively amounted to several years of additional aging among those caregivers.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
In a case of unintended consequences, Congress inserted a rule cracking down on Medicaid fraud that requires that all non-electronic prescriptions for Medicaid patients be written on tamper-resistant paper.
The rule was devised as a way to raise nearly $150 million over five years for public hospitals, the amount that Medicaid fraud costs the federal government.
Monday, September 17, 2007
NEW ORLEANS – Larry Stansberry is looking forward to Oct. 1. That's when he thinks he will finally put Hurricane Katrina behind him.
Mr. Stansberry, chief executive officer of St. Margaret's Nursing Home, expects to welcome some former residents to the new home in the Ninth Ward that replaced one wiped out by the hurricane.
"It's been an incredibly hard two years coming back from the storm," Mr. Stansberry said.
That's true for many nursing homes that operated in the path of the Aug. 29, 2005, storm.
Nursing-home beds in New Orleans decreased 42 percent from 2,343 to 1,355 after the storm, according to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. The number of nursing homes and elderly-care centers also declined 42 percent, from 19 to 11.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
The fact that she is a quadriplegic -- confined to a wheelchair with limited use of her arms -- didn't stop her. The Fayetteville resident functions well once she is seated in her wheelchair. She cooks, cleans, surfs the Web and cares for her animals. She could even drive a converted van with hand controls, if allowed to.
But she isn't.
She relies on Medicare to pay her medical bills, and the system's rules essentially keep the vibrant, intelligent 49-year-old trapped in her home.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Even when drug benefits resume at the start of a new health plan year, a significant number of seniors do not resume their prescription medications, according to the findings published in the September/October edition of the journal Health Affairs.
The study, which examined the behavior of seniors enrolled in a national private health plan, provides insight into how seniors may act under provisions of Medicare's new drug benefit plan that will leave about one-third of enrollees without drug coverage for some part of each benefit year.
"Prescription use falls significantly as patients reach their benefit caps," said Geoffrey Joyce, the study's lead author and a senior economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "Most of the drugs we studied help prevent long-term complications of chronic disease so there are likely to be adverse health consequences for seniors who hit their caps."
Thursday, September 13, 2007
On Wednesday, protesters in wheelchairs blocked elevators and doors at 29 N. Wacker, where Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is located.
Chicago Police issued 110 citations for failure to disperse, based on complaints from building managers, said Police Department spokeswoman Monique Bond.
ADAPT, which organized the protest, wants AFSCME to support a federal bill that would enable more disabled people to live in their own homes rather than in institutions.ADAPT had organized similar protests at the Thompson Center on Tuesday and American Medical Association building on Monday.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
All eight treatments were found to be feasible for older adults, and no adverse events or safety issues were reported. The article finds evidence that, in particular, progressive muscle relaxation may be effective for older people with osteoarthritis pain, while meditation and tai chi appear to improve function and coping with low back pain and osteoarthritis.
Monday, September 10, 2007
In a study published in the August issue of The Gerontologist, researcher Lydia Li examined the mental health status of elders who remain in their homes in Michigan.
The sample composed of nearly 19,000 older adults (age 65 or older) who were admitted to two community based, long term care programs in Michigan Medicaid Waiver and Care Management between 1998 and 2003. These programs help individuals who are at risk of nursing home placement to remain in the community by providing them with supportive services, such as meal delivery, homemaking and personal emergency response systems.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Monday, September 3, 2007
"The objective of PACE is to enable individuals to live independently in the community and with a high quality of life," said Dana Mukamel, Ph.D., lead study author and a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy Research, University of California. "Maintaining or improving function is important in enabling frail elderly individuals to do so."
The average program participant is 80 years old. Study data showed that at three months, 61 percent of enrollees reported no decline in functional skills and by 12 months, 43.3 percent still reported no decline.
Although these statistics might not seem like progress to a casual observer, study authors considered the slower rate of decline an important factor in the ability to prolong independent living.