Author Archives: 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.

Geriatric EDs save money, improve outcomes — so why aren’t there more of them?

Geriatric nurse takes care of an older woman as part of nursing follow-up in a geriatric center.

Photo: Banc d’Imatges Infermeres via Flickr

Millions of Medicare beneficiaries are admitted to the hospital each year because they cannot be safely discharged to go home. Such hospitalizations come with an increased risk of infection, falls, delirium, functional decline and death. They also come with increased costs to the patient, provider and payer. A recent study found a significant reduction in the total cost of care when these older adults were treated in a geriatric emergency care department instead of a more traditional ED.

According to the study published Marh 1 on JAMA Network Open, this specialized geriatric emergency care can lower Medicare expenditures by up to $3,200 per beneficiary. Yet, there are only about 200 specialized geriatric emergency departments in the U.S., according to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), which accredits geriatric EDs. So, if patients fare better and it costs less, why aren’t more hospitals establishing geriatric EDs? Continue reading

Journalists can help shed light on COVID-19 vaccine schemes

stock art for Flu Shot Risk

Photo: NIH Image Gallery via Flickr

It’s still difficult for many eligible older adults in parts of the U.S. to get COVID-19 vaccination appointments. And that’s exactly what con artists are counting on.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) are warning the public — especially elders — about several fraud schemes related to COVID-19 vaccines.

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Study shows racial differences in COVID-19 nursing home deaths

Racial-NH-Deaths_Blog_Aging

Photo: Prachatai via Flickr

Racial disparities are glaringly obvious when examining COVID-19 caseloads, hospitalizations and deaths. A new study in JAMA Open looks at how these inequalities in the general population may also be associated with differences in mortality among nursing home residents with a COVID-19 infection.

In a cross-sectional study of 13,312 U.S. nursing homes, University of Chicago researchers found that COVID-19 death counts were 3.3-fold higher in facilities with the highest proportions of non-white residents than in facilities with mostly white residents. This difference in mortality was associated with a combination of differences in facility characteristics and location. Continue reading