Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.
More people are living with Alzheimer’s than ever before — and more are also dying from the disease, according to a new report from the CDC. Alzheimer’s-related deaths in the United States more than doubled between 1999 and 2014 — from 44,536 to 93,541. That’s a 54.5 percent jump in 15 years. Rates were higher among women compared with men and among non-Hispanic whites compared with other racial/ethnic populations.
While most people with the disease still die in nursing homes, the proportion of older adults dying at home also increased significantly during this time frame — from 13.9 percent in 1999 to 24.9 percent in 2014. Continue reading →
Too many physicians are prescribing opioid medications for hospitalized older adults who may not need them. A new study found that one-third of 10,000 older patients were prescribed opioid pain medications, including Percocet and OxyContin, while hospitalized for non-surgical conditions.
These patients had a longer length of stay (six days vs. four) and were more often readmitted within 30 days. They were also more likely to be restrained or have bladder catheters while hospitalized, according to the retrospective analysis. Continue reading →
From the future of delivery system reform to controlling prescription drug costs to considering how states may handle proposed Medicaid cuts, there is significant concern these days among policy experts who focus on aging and health. Several of the addressed the issue at a recent panel in New York City on the future of aging policy under the Trump administration.
Developing a national aging strategy was high on the list for participants of the session, “Aging Priorities for a New Administration,” part of the d.health Summit 2017 on May 10. Moderating was Joanne Kenen, health care executive editor at Politico and AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform. Continue reading →
The future of Medicaid – the health program for low-income adults, children and seniors – is now in the hands of the Senate. The American Health Care Act, as passed by the House, would convert the program from an open-ended one to block grants, providing a fixed amount per recipient, regardless of health costs. The bill also caps future program spending. If the bill passes, Medicaid faces more than $800 billion in cuts over 10 years.
That’s bad news for the 70 million people enrolled in the program, including about 9 million dual eligibles – those covered by both Medicare and Medicaid. These are the most vulnerable, often sickest older adults, who struggle to afford food, medicine, and manage their chronic conditions. Continue reading →