Capping Medicaid Funding Could Hurt Millions of People with Disabilities and Poor Seniors

Medicaid is the country’s largest public health insurance program, providing access to needed health care and long-term services and supports  (LTSS) to millions of low-income Americans, including more than 17 million children with disabilities, adults with disabilities, and poor seniors. Right now, states and the federal government share the cost of Medicaid in a way that guarantees services to all who are eligible. Under this arrangement, federal funding increases (or decreases) in response to changes in enrollment, service costs, and …

Have Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Guidelines Been Left on the Shelf?

Screening for osteoporosis among high-risk populations, including post-menopausal women, is essential. Women found to have low bone density due to osteoporosis or osteopenia (a precursor to osteoporosis) can reduce their risk of future bone fracture with lifestyle changes and drug therapies. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that all women ages 65 years and older undergo bone density testing to screen for osteoporosis, and that some younger women receive targeted screening based on individual risk assessments. In …

The Cures Law Brings Winds of Change to Electronic Health Records

The recently enacted 21st Century Cures Act will mean welcome changes to electronic health records (EHRs) as we know them. In short, the EHR piece of the Cures Act is good news for consumers. Here’s why. Enabling information flow Tucked into the sweeping medical innovations legislation — which bolsters medical research and revamps new drugs’ approval process  — are provisions to break down barriers preventing EHRs from freely following people as they move between health care providers. Specifically, the law takes …

‘Age Rating’ Is Washington-Speak for Overcharging Older Americans

If you have a hard time understanding what the wonks in Washington are talking about, welcome to the club. Beltway buzzwords are at dime a dozen on Capitol Hill, but there’s one particular term to watch out for that simply means massive health care premium hikes for older Americans. “Age rating” is the practice of varying health insurance premiums based on age. It’s Washington-speak for overcharging older Americans by thousands of dollars for their health care. >> Ge the news …

Addressing Disparities in Diabetes Prevalence Among Older Adults

Did you know? Diabetes rates are significantly higher among Americans age 65 and older than in any other age group. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of Americans 65 and older reported having diagnosed diabetes in 2015, according to a recent AARP Public Policy Institute analysis. Diabetes, a chronic condition in which the body is unable to produce or use insulin efficiently, leads to higher-than-normal blood sugar levels and is associated with higher risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease. Long-term complications …

Consumer Voices Matter: Meaningful Engagement of Consumers and Caregivers in Long-Term Care

Patient-centered care is responsive to the needs and values of the individuals receiving care, and is one aspect of a high-performing, high-quality health care system. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a final rule that gives Medicaid managed care consumers and their family caregivers a seat at the table by requiring states to include consumer and family caregiver perspectives in the design, implementation and oversight of state-managed long-term services and supports (LTSS) programs. States should view the new …