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Getting dental care to America’s elders is a big challenge.
Medicare has never covered routine dental benefits. Medicaid dental benefits for poor adults (including more than 7 million seniors) are scant in many states.
Out-of-pocket costs and problems with mobility can complicate the search for care. As a result, many seniors delay dental visits. Disease progresses. Tooth loss is a grim indicator of the problem. One-third of older Americans have lost six or more teeth, according to a new report by the nonprofit Oral Health America (OHA), based in Chicago. Continue reading
Nursing home star ratings are misleading and disingenuous, according to a recent analysis comparing ratings with quality measures alone. More than a thousand nursing homes nationally with high overall ratings had only one or two stars in quality measures, which could point to some serious health implications for residents. Continue reading
Reporting on hospital ratings — the “best of,” “top ten” and other rankings designed to help consumers with decision making are not necessarily all they’re cracked up to be. So much more goes in to these rankings than just the letter or number grade. Savvy reporters should pause and consider many angles before jumping in to proclaim that their local hospital is “best,” “worst” or somewhere in between.
Ratings certainly help with improving transparency and the patient’s right to know. However, it’s important that journalist know how to read between the lines and question the methodology and potential biases.
Liz Seegert has put together a new tip sheet on the topic based on ideas presented at an event last month sponsored by AHCJ’s New York chapter. A panel moderated by ProPublica senior reporter Charles Ornstein featured Robert Panzer, M.D., chief quality officer at the University of Rochester Medical Center and a steering committee member for the Healthcare Association of New York State; Leah Binder, chief executive of the Leapfrog Group; and Marshall Allen, a reporter for ProPublica.
With good public dental benefits, extensive community water fluoridation, and reductions in tooth loss among seniors, Minnesota has earned top marks in a new report card that ranks the oral health of elders in states across America.
Florida, which is preparing to launch an Older Adult Oral Health Surveillance Project, also won praise in the latest State of Decay report. Continue reading
Massachusetts tops this year’s list of healthiest places for older adults, according to the 2016 America’s Health Rankings Senior Report. The Bay State jumped to the top perch from sixth place in 2015 thanks to it’s high overall health status, high percentage of diabetes management and low hip fracture rate.
Smoking decreased 20 percent since last year, which moves Massachusetts up 20 places in the ranking of that specific measure. Continue reading
For the second straight year, Minnesota ranks as the best place for seniors, according to a new report, from the United Health Foundation, “America’s Health Rankings Senior Report: A Call to Action for Individuals and Their Communities.”
Minnesota’s strengths include ranking first for all health determinants combined, which includes being among the top five states for a high rate of annual dental visits, a high percentage of volunteerism, a high percentage of quality nursing home beds, a low percentage of marginal food insecurity, a high percentage of prescription drug coverage, and ready availability of home health care workers.
The state also ranks second for all health outcomes combined, including ranking in the top five for a low rate of hospitalization for hip fractures, a high percentage of able-bodied seniors, a low premature death rate, a low prevalence of full-mouth tooth extractions, and few poor mental health days per month. Continue reading