Tag Archives: medicaid

Aging population means dental care access issues becoming more acute

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: lawrence_baulch via Flickr

As America’s population ages, the shortage of dental care for the nation’s elders presents a growing problem.

Many seniors lack public or private coverage that would help defray the cost of dental services, according to a new fact sheet from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

“Perhaps the single greatest barrier is the inability to afford care,” Pew noted in its brief. “Seniors with dental insurance are 2.5 times more likely than those without coverage to visit a dentist and about half of seniors lacked insurance in 2015.” Continue reading

Medicaid and mental health: A Tennessee approach

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Don via FlickrNashville cemetery statue

Last week we posted an update on mental health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, so let’s follow up with a look at what’s going on in Tennessee, courtesy of Holly Fletcher at The Tennessean.

Tennessee is among the 19 states that have not taken up Medicaid expansion under the ACA. This summer a Tennessee legislative task force put forth a proposal for a partial expansion program, with the first stage focusing in large part on people with mental illness or substance abuse disorders. If approved – which isn’t certain – it could later be expanded, but only if it meets cost and quality objectives. As Fletcher reported, that’s not so easy. Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, last year tried to enact a market-based version, only to be blocked by a more conservative legislature, as one commentator noted in the newspaper. 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

Reporter discusses covering challenges of California’s Medicaid dental program

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Denti-Cal, California’s Medicaid dental program, faces ongoing challenges in getting care to its roughly 13 million beneficiaries. Only about half the children and a quarter of the adults covered by the program are getting dental services.  As in other states, a shortage of participating dentists is a major problem and there are other troubles as well.

Ana Ibarra

Ana Ibarra

In a recent piece for California Healthline, reporter Ana Ibarra looked at efforts to reform the system. In this new Q&A for AHCJ, Ibarra reflects upon the future of Denti-Cal and discusses the rest of her complex and rich beat as a web reporter for California Healthline. She also shares some advice on the value of journalism fellowships in developing skills and making connections that can help reporters excel. Read more.