Author Archives: Liz Seegert

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.

What does the partial government shutdown mean for older adults?

Photo: Pete Green via Flickr

The federal government has been in partial shutdown mode since Dec. 21 – meaning it’s been nearly a full month since a quarter of government agencies, including the Departments of State, Justice, Transportation, Agriculture, and Interior furloughed a combined 800,000 workers or asked them to work without pay. What began as a minor inconvenience for some is fast becoming a major concern for many seniors who rely on government support for food, shelter and medical care.

First, the good news: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will continue operating uninterrupted, Vox reported. However, they noted “new applicants for these programs might face a wait.” The VA will also continue to operate its hospitals and clinics. Continue reading

New report paints a grim picture of older women in poverty

Photo: MartinHots via Flickr

A significant percentage of older women are struggling to stay out of poverty, according to a new issue brief from Justice in Aging.

The report looks at reasons more women are aging into poverty than men, discusses the support systems that are in place to help older women, and recommends ways to strengthen and expand those support systems. Continue reading

New law signed aims to better target Alzheimer’s prevention, treatment

Despite the partial government shutdown, some wheels in Congress keep turning. Among them, the BOLD Act (Building Our Largest Dementia Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s) was signed into law on December 31.

The BOLD Act authorizes $100 million over five years to develop a public health approach for improving prevention, treatment and care for Alzheimer’s patients by creating a national public health infrastructure to combat the disease and preserve brain health. Continue reading

Tips for examining the risks, benefits of OTC pain relief

Photo: ^Thais^ via Flickr

Physicians are being encouraged to curtail prescribing of powerful narcotics in response to the nation’s opioid crisis. So some patients who need relief from pain due to chronic conditions, trauma, or post-surgical recovery are turning to over-the-counter options. But just because they’re sold at your local drug store doesn’t mean OTC drugs are completely safe either. Continue reading

Panelists explore what’s missing from Medicare

While Medicare may be a cornerstone of keeping older adults healthy and reducing poverty, it’s far from perfect. Closing huge gaps in coverage ­– some might argue chasms – could improve public health, reduce hospitalizations, help support cognitive function, maintain quality of life and save the health system millions of dollars. But it will literally take an act of Congress for anything to really change.

At October’s Gerontological Society of America Conference in Boston, experts at the “Medicare, What’s Missing” session examined links between systemic health and oral, vision and hearing health. They looked at some major policy gaps and potential fixes. While everyone agreed more needs to be done, true reform will likely happen by baby steps. Continue reading

Former CMS leader discusses vulnerable populations, drug pricing and a health journalist he admires

Donald Berwick

Don Berwick is a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under President Obama. Berwick’s long résumé includes leadership positions at the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Institute of Medicine’s Governing Council, the IOM’s Global Health Board, and on President Clinton’s Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Healthcare Industry. He is president emeritus of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. He also teaches at Harvard Medical School and is on staff at several major Massachusetts hospitals.

Prior to his keynote address on social determinants of health at the recent Institute for Healthcare Improvement conference in Orlando, Fla., Berwick sat with me to talk about some of today’s most pressing health care issues. [This interview has been edited for clarity and length.] Continue reading