Improving Quality Measurement and e-Health in Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Services: The TEFT Demonstration

Many Americans with personal care needs receive services in their own homes to help them with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing and meal preparation. But the quality of care provided in private homes often is not measured. The medical community is beginning to adopt electronic health records: health information in a digital format that can be shared with providers. Unfortunately, these records may not be helpful to consumers, especially those with long-term care needs, in managing their own care. …

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Hard to imagine in the context of last month’s 88 inches of snow in Cowlesville, N.Y., but the Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that this winter will be warmer than last. With a warmer winter comes less heating fuel consumption by households, lower prices because of reduced overall demand for heating fuel, and lower energy bills. AARP analysis of EIA projections also shows that older households can expect lower heating bills; households heating with fuel oil and propane will fare …

Are Accountable Care Organizations Improving Care for Medicare Patients?

The Medicare program is busy trying out new ways of paying for medical care that are designed to improve care and lower spending. One of the most important of these initiatives offers financial incentives to groups of doctors, hospitals and other health care providers, known as Accountable Care Organizations (or ACOs), that agree to share responsibility for delivering medical services to their patients. The idea is that when providers coordinate their efforts they will be able to improve the quality …

What’s Different About Family Caregiving Today?

This is a pivotal time. Converging sociodemographic trends and more complex care needs are contributing to historically unprecedented challenges in family care of older people in the U.S. For most of human history, requiring help in old age was uncommon. As Atul Gawande writes in Being Mortal, “The natural course was to die before old age.” Only 41 percent of people born in 1900 survived to age 65. In sharp contrast, an estimated 84 percent of people born in 2010 …

A Cellphone-Only World? Not So Fast

Is the landline “good as dead”? That’s what some media outlets would have you believe from their coverage earlier this year of a report on cellphone-only households. This sensational message makes for eye-catching headlines — but a closer look reveals a different story. Most Americans Still Live in Landline Households Many U.S. households have ditched their landlines and now rely solely on cellphones, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Indeed, the data show …

Paying for Home- and Community-Based Services: Lessons From Oregon

Many older adults need services to stay in their homes or in community-based settings. Getting help with shopping, meal preparation, transportation, medication management, bathing, dressing or mobility can extend community living. But Medicare and private health insurance do not pay for these types of services, and Medicaid (which does) is limited to people with low incomes and almost no savings. As a result, most people pay for these services out of their own pockets. The Symposium Even people who can …