Medications — including many over-the-counter drugs — are among the greatest contributors to accelerated cognitive decline in older adults, according to experts at the recent Gerontological Society of America conference in Orlando, Fla. Yet, they are probably the most frequent reversible contributor to adverse cognitive events. Continue reading
While end-of-life planning may be more common by providers and patients, there are “substantial” racial disparities when it comes to hospice use among some older adults, according to a new study. Researchers found that end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients who were African American or Native American were 44 percent less likely to take use hospice care than white patients. Asian-Americans were 43 percent less likely to do so. Continue reading
The Washington, D.C., chapter of AHCJ held an event about Medicaid in late October with Matt Salo, who leads the National Association of Medicaid Directors; Cindy Mann, who until January was the top U.S. official in charge of Medicaid at HHS and now works at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips; and Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown Center for Children and Families.
Here are some of their insights and story ideas that can help reporters keep this story fresh. Continue reading
[See update below.]
What comes to mind when you think about a substance abuser? Is it this?
What about this?
We’ve reported previously on older adults and the abuse of opioids but, as this recent story by Peter Hirschfeld of Vermont Public Radio highlights, the problems of drug and alcohol abuse among older adults isn’t going away. It’s actually getting worse. Continue reading
Most journalists do a great job of writing for their audience. But it can be easy to forget that part of your audience may include older adults who often struggle with issues of health literacy, cognitive impairment or language problems.
As Medicare Open Enrollment season gets underway, this is a good time to consider story structure and how the information seniors may rely on is framed. While most of these tips probably are more applicable to journalists at consumer media, writers for more specialized journals and outlets can also benefit. Continue reading
While much of America was watching the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals battle it out for 14 long innings Tuesday night, House Republican leadership and the White House were battling out a budget compromise.
The agreement still must be approved by the full House and the Senate. Update: The House passed the bill with a 266 to 167 vote late Wednesday and the Senate approved it on Friday.
The bill funds federal government for the next two years and avoids a potential government shutdown. The deal plugs an impending hole in the Social Security disability trust fund. Without it, millions getting disability would have seen their benefits significantly cut. It also staves off a potentially historic increase in Medicare for Part B premiums for about 15 million beneficiaries.
The Medicare provision stalls a scheduled cut to the rates doctors get paid under Medicare by law for three months. Legislators hope to come up with a permanent fix to slow Medicare costs. Continue reading
The House of Representatives on Oct. 21 passed legislation aimed at reducing costs and strengthening comprehensive, coordinated health care and related long-term services for some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens. It now heads to the President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature.
The Providing Programs of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly Act (PACE) Innovation Act (S 1362) will expand the current PACE program by allowing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to conduct demonstration projects, using the PACE Model of Care, to serve individuals with disabilities an integrated, community-based setting that supports independence and enhances quality of life. It will also work to improve health outcomes and reduce costs for seniors who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Continue reading
This week marks the start of Medicare’s open enrollment period, when beneficiaries can shop for a Medicare Advantage (MA) or Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) for 2016. Open enrollment happens every year from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is encouraging people with Medicare to check whether they’re getting the best price and quality plan available based on their current and anticipated health needs. Continue reading
There seems to be no end of news reports about promising therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
With the aging of the population having become one of the more serious and complicated aspects of modern American health care, these typically age-associated conditions are driving a lot of research into new drug and other treatment approaches.
Despite high excitement and hope surrounding the latest treatments, journalists need to report responsibly on these drugs to avoid delivering false hope and ensure their stories are leavened with balanced, quality information. There is always a risk that reporters may too easily accept what drug manufacturers, geriatricians and others tell them about new therapies and not demand to see the research backing up their claims.
Alan Cassels (@AKECassels), a writer and drug policy researcher affiliated with the School of Health Information Sciences at the University of Victoria, has some tips for reporters covering treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Geography, race and income matter when it comes to frailty, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Women and the poor are more likely to be frail, and older people in southern states more that three times likely to be frail than those in western states. Additionally, blacks and Hispanics were nearly twice as likely to be frail than whites, researchers concluded. Continue reading