Nursing home star ratings are misleading and disingenuous, according to a recent analysis comparing ratings with quality measures alone. More than a thousand nursing homes nationally with high overall ratings had only one or two stars in quality measures, which could point to some serious health implications for residents. Continue reading
Reporting on hospital ratings — the “best of,” “top ten” and other rankings designed to help consumers with decision making are not necessarily all they’re cracked up to be. So much more goes in to these rankings than just the letter or number grade. Savvy reporters should pause and consider many angles before jumping in to proclaim that their local hospital is “best,” “worst” or somewhere in between.
Ratings certainly help with improving transparency and the patient’s right to know. However, it’s important that journalist know how to read between the lines and question the methodology and potential biases.
Liz Seegert has put together a new tip sheet on the topic based on ideas presented at an event last month sponsored by AHCJ’s New York chapter. A panel moderated by ProPublica senior reporter Charles Ornstein featured Robert Panzer, M.D., chief quality officer at the University of Rochester Medical Center and a steering committee member for the Healthcare Association of New York State; Leah Binder, chief executive of the Leapfrog Group; and Marshall Allen, a reporter for ProPublica.
Obesity in older adults is a very real and growing challenge. Since 1991, there’s been a steady increase in obesity rates among both men and women in the 55 and older age bracket.
In just one year (from 2013 to 2014), a Gallup poll found that the greatest increase in obesity was among the 65-plus age group (from 26.3 to 27.9 percent). A small annual increase can result in a lot of extra pounds over the years. This likely will put the health system under additional strain as baby boomers age into Medicare and as people live longer with weight-related chronic disease. Continue reading
Much of the local news over the Independence Day weekend focused such as fireworks safety, beach traffic, flags and parades. But a brief article by Samuel Johnson, the public information officer of the Baltimore Fire Department, caught my attention — and had nothing to do with the holiday.
Many budget-crunched municipalities have been forced to cut back on essential services, such as police and fire personnel. Some firehouses have even closed. That increases the risk for everyone who lives near one — especially older adults and particularly in the summer months. Continue reading
At least a dozen states compel family caregivers to provide unpaid assistance to qualify for Medicaid-funded home and community based services (HCBS), according to a report from the elder advocacy group Justice in Aging. The report features cases from the state of Florida in which there was a denial of benefits for needy elders, regardless of the caregiver’s employment hours or need for weekend respite care. Continue reading