Millions of seniors in America struggle to find dental care. Hanah Cho met a few of them who were grateful to find care at a clinic run by the North Dallas Shared Ministries.
The patients’ frank accounts of their pain and relief, included in a recent feature by Cho, brought the issue home for readers of The Dallas Morning News.
Cho, who is now a writer/editor at the personal finance startup NerdWallet, took time to reflect on her May 13 dental story, “Bridging the Dental Care Gap for Seniors,” in this Q&A for AHCJ.
She offers thoughts on the challenges and breakthroughs she experienced in putting together the project. She also shares some wisdom on how she convinced people to talk about their troubles with their teeth. Read about how she did the story.
Sometimes all we need is a quick suggestion from our peers to zero in on a good story. In the “Shared Wisdom” section of our core topic areas, we turn to front-line journalists for advice, some simple insight to add to our repository.
Today’s addition is from Sue Scheible of the Patriot Ledger in Massachusetts. Scheible (@sues_ledger) has been a staff reporter at the paper for 46 years and has a weekly column on aging. She offers some tips on filming video of older adults and why video can be so powerful. In one recent video that Scheible shot, an 85-year-old woman explained what she’s learned about talking to doctors.
See what wisdom Scheible offers fellow journalists.
The care needs of 3 million older adults in the U.S. that require help with three or more activities of daily living are not being met and may lead to adverse consequences, according to a new report in the Millbank Quarterly. A detailed analysis finds that a disproportionate share of older people who require substantial assistance are poor, minorities or widowed. Additionally, nearly half of older adults, or about 18 million people, need help with or had trouble carrying out at least one ADL in the month prior to analysis.
Researchers examined a representative sample from the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS). Of those requiring assistance in non-nursing home settings, one in five — about 6.6 million seniors — received help with the most basic self-care or mobility activities. This includes a wide range of assistance from family or paid caregivers such as bathing, dressing, eating, getting rides to medical appointments, or help with walking.
Dual eligibles are low-income elderly or disabled people enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid. The distinctions are sometimes bewildering. It’s easy to confuse which program pays for what, what each agency considers “appropriate” care, what factors go into measuring outcomes and how the separate structures of Medicare and Medicaid affect costs and quality.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 2009, the federal and state governments spent more than $250 billion, combined, on health care benefits for the 9 million dual eligibles. There is growing concern about the high costs of dual eligibles and the type of care they receive. They may be treated by a variety of health care providers who are not coordinating their care, potentially increasing costs and worsening outcomes.
Many states are already struggling to meet current Medicaid demand, and as boomers age, more stress will be placed on an already fragile system. Learn more about dual eligibles and what issues to look for in your state with this tip sheet.
Representatives of state medical licensing boards approved updated guidelines this week to help ensure the safety and quality of medicine when it is practiced using telemedicine technology – connects a patient in one location with a care provider in another location.
The Model Policy on the Appropriate Use of Telemedicine Technologies in the Practice of Medicine adopted by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), provides “much-needed guidance and a basic roadmap that state boards can use to ensure that patients are protected from harm in a fast-changing health-care delivery environment,” the organization said in a statement.
Among the key provisions, the policy states:
- The same standards of care that have historically protected patients during in-person medical encounters must apply to medical care delivered electronically.
- Care providers using telemedicine must establish a credible “patient-physician relationship,” ensuring that patients are properly evaluated and treated
- Providers should adhere to well-established principles guiding privacy and security of personal health information, informed consent, safe prescribing and other key areas of medical practice.
“Telemedicine offers wonderful tools to help expand treatment options for patients – particularly in helping provide care in remote areas, lowering costs and helping support preventive care efforts,” said Humayun J. Chaudhry, D.O., M.A.C.P., the president and chief executive officer of FSMB. “But as telemedicine has grown, so too, has the need for clear, common-sense guidelines that help health care providers transition to this exciting new environment in a safe way.” Continue reading