When was the last time you thought about shingles? Not the ones you put on your roof, but the itchy, burning, painful rash that affects about a million older adults each year. For some people, shingles can be downright dangerous. So why aren’t more older adults getting vaccinated?
As Paula Span wrote in this New York Times article, “People once vigilant about vaccinating their children are not nearly as careful about protecting themselves as they age, even though diseases like influenza, pneumonia and shingles (aka herpes zoster) are particularly dangerous for older people.” Continue reading
In 2015, Medicare paid more than $80 billion to dozens of providers – from neurologists to podiatrists, from ambulance services to hospice services, from family physicians to speech, physical and occupational therapists.
AHCJ has updated its version of the Medicare payment data for its members in an easy-to-use format: spreadsheet files listing specific providers and broken down by state. Journalists can download and analyze these files – covering 2012, 2013, 2014 and now 2015 – to find stories for their audiences. Continue reading
Too many physicians are prescribing opioid medications for hospitalized older adults who may not need them. A new study found that one-third of 10,000 older patients were prescribed opioid pain medications, including Percocet and OxyContin, while hospitalized for non-surgical conditions.
These patients had a longer length of stay (six days vs. four) and were more often readmitted within 30 days. They were also more likely to be restrained or have bladder catheters while hospitalized, according to the retrospective analysis. 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
From higher age-based premiums to cuts in Medicaid funding for dual eligibles, there was much for aging advocates to criticize about the Republicans’ now-failed attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Policy experts from several aging advocacy organizations briefed reporters during a March 23 conference call on the proposed American Health Care Act (ACHA). The next day, GOP leadership and the White House decided to pull the amended bill from consideration due to lack of support in the House of Representatives.