With an increasingly aging prison population, how to care for inmates with chronic illnesses or other infirmities and those at the end of life has become an urgent challenge for federal and state governments, and for inmate and elder rights advocates.
An increasing number of prisoners need wheelchairs, walkers, canes, portable oxygen, and hearing aids. Many are incontinent or forgetful and need assistance to get dressed, go to the bathroom, or bathe, according to the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research. Authorities must balance appropriate care with ballooning health costs, determine who will provide care and pay for it. The situation is squeezing state correctional budgets, health services, safety-net programs and local communities. Continue reading
In a report last week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office confirmed what Fred Schulte and other journalists at the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) have been reporting on the Medicare Advantage program for two years.
In the report, “Medicare Advantage Fundamental Improvements Needed in CMS’ Effort to Recover Substantial Amounts of Improper Payments,” the GAO showed that CMS estimated that it improperly paid $14.1 billion in 2013 to insurers running Medicare Advantage plans. Continue reading
May is Older Americans Month. It’s a perfect time to focus on programs and services funded through the Older Americans Act (OAA).
This legislation originally was part of President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” initiative in 1965. It authorizes a wide array of services and programs provided through a national network of 56 state agencies on aging, 629 area agencies on aging, nearly 20,000 service providers, 244 tribal organizations, and two native Hawaiian organizations representing 400 tribes, according to the Administration on Aging. Importantly, many of the OAA’s provisions aim to allow seniors to age with dignity and independence. Continue reading
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) thinks Indiana University may be on to something when it comes to more effective nursing home care. It recently announced a second round of funding for Project OPTIMISTIC, which stands for Optimizing Patient Transfers, Impacting Medical Quality and Improving Symptoms: Transforming Institutional Care. Continue reading
The Affordable Care Act created many opportunities for Medicare to test new ways of paying for health care. One of the biggest and most dramatic tests is now getting underway: bundled payments for hip or knee replacement.
Unlike most Center for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation (CMMI) projects on payment and delivery reform, this one is mandatory for hospitals in 67 geographic areas designated as participants. The test began April 1 and is supposed to run for five years. Continue reading