Category Archives: Aging

New tip sheet outlines criteria for reporting on hospital rankings

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates social media efforts of AHCJ and assists with the editing and production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

star-ratingReporting 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.

Rise in obesity among older adults will increase burden on health system

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

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.

Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, CDC

Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, CDCPrevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults by State and Territory

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

Report on these unintended health consequences of municipal budget cuts

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

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.

Photo: emilydickinsonridesabmx via Flikr

Photo: emilydickinsonridesabmx via Flikr

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

Some states flout HCBS Medicaid rules by requiring unpaid family caregiving

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

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.

Photo: Fairfax County via Flickr

Photo: Fairfax County via Flickr

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

Report: Integrated care improves outcomes for those using both Medicare, Medicaid

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

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.

GraphicStock

GraphicStock

It almost seems like a no-brainer that dovetailing care between Medicare and Medicaid will have positive effects on the population of dual-eligible older adults.

In reality, care and payment under these systems is often fragmented and disjointed, a frustrating scenario for primary care providers and detrimental to patients. A new report  from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) on The Minnesota Senior Health Options (MSHO) program reinforces the need for improved service coordination. Continue reading