There’s a reason why Kay Lazar wins awards for her coverage of Massachusetts’ health care industry – she does it better than perhaps anyone else on the beat.
Lazar is again a recipient of an AHCJ’s Excellence in Health Care Journalism Award, this time winning third place in beat reporting for her body of work on the Bay State’s nursing home industry. In a new How I Did It article for AHCJ, she zooms in on one of her stories, which followed the Medicaid money trail via the reports nursing homes must make to state regulators. 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
It’s long been known that 5 percent of all Medicare patients account for more than half of Medicare spending.
In addition, the top 1 percent of the sickest and most vulnerable Medicare patients consume 23 percent of Medicare resources, largely because of the severity of their illness but also because their conditions frequently are not managed well. Repeatedly they travel a painful journey among hospital emergency departments, nursing homes and hospital readmissions, in the process racking up huge medical bills, exposing themselves to hospital-acquired infections and bedsores. In the process, they often lose control of their lives. Continue reading
Photo: Peter T. via FlickrLegendary boxer Muhammad Ali, shown after receiving the 2012 Liberty Medal in Philadelphia, Pa., had lived with Parkinson’s disease for more than 30 years before dying in 2016 at age 74.
We probably all know at least one older person who has developed Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative neurological condition which affects one in every hundred people over age 60.
A small proportion (about 4 percent) of adults under age 50 can develop it too. The National Institutes of Health estimates that one million people in the United States are living with this condition. As the population ages, incidence will likely increase, putting more pressure on the health system at a time when funding for federal health and science programs and research is under pressure.
Parkinson’s affects a person’s movement, speech, cognition, balance and behavior. There is no known cure, nor can symptoms be reversed, though they can be managed through a regimen of multiple medications and therapy. The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation estimates direct and indirect costs of the disease in the United States at around $25 billion annually. Continue reading
Photo: Janice Lynch SchusterTony Vinson, recruitment and intake coordinator for D.C. Central Kitchen (DCCK) in Washington, D.C., was among panelists at a recent Aspen Institute event who discussed how his organization is rethinking food security.
Like in other areas of health, hunger also is facing an ever-widening dichotomy. On the one hand, there is a U.S. foodie revival, with no-reservation hot-spots and every-growing list of new microbreweries and grocery-stores-turned-restaurants. Even so, millions in America still find food scarce.
Still, there are some innovations afoot, as AHCJ member Janice Lynch Schuster recently found out. She has compiled a new tip sheet on covering hunger, how the meaning of hunger is changing and offers some potential story ideas in her tip sheet, drawn in part from a recent poverty program hosted by The Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy organization based in Washington, D.C. Continue reading