Tag Archives: Aging

Shingles tip sheet details often-ignored health issue

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: NIAID via Flickr

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

AHCJ data update: Medicare payments by provider in your state

Jeff Porter

About Jeff Porter

Jeff Porter is the special projects director for AHCJ and plays a lead role in planning conferences, workshops and other training events. He also leads the organization's data collection and data instruction efforts.

Photo: Chris Wong via Flickr

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

New study tracks hospital opioid prescribing for older adults

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: frankieleon via Flickr

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

Examining efforts to lower cost of caring for seniors at home

Mark Taylor

About Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor is an independent health care journalist based outside Chicago. Taylor was legal affairs reporter for Modern Healthcare magazine and writes for newspapers, as well as Medicare NewsGroup and Hospitals & Health Networks. He is a former Kaiser Media Fellow and a founding member of AHCJ.

Photo by Boris Bartels via Flickr

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

Policy experts predicted AHCA’s potential impact on older adults

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Andy De via Flickr

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.

Continue reading