Stars for Hospital Quality, Help for Consumers

  There’s good news for consumers interested in taking more control of their health care. On Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released quality star ratings for U.S. hospitals, an online resource for consumers. With this release, consumers and family caregivers will have an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand tool to help them evaluate the quality of hospitals. The star rating provides a summary of a hospital’s performance on over 60 quality measures reported on CMS’ Hospital Compare website, in …

Good News for People on Medicare: Bipartisan Bills to Fight Unexpected Costs, Fraud

BREAKING NEWS: On August 6, President Obama signed the NOTICE Act into law!   On Wednesday, June 24, the Senate Finance Committee approved several bills to improve Medicare. AARP is especially pleased by the advancement of two of these bills: the Notice of Observation, Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility (NOTICE) Act (S. 1349) and the Preventing and Reducing Improper Medicare and Medicaid Expenditures (PRIME) Act (S. 861). AARP supports the NOTICE and PRIME Acts because they are commonsense, bipartisan …

Home Is Where the Health Care Is

For millennia, the home provided a roof over our heads, a place to raise a family. Later on, pride of place set in and the home became our personal castle. And in recent decades, homeowners counted on rapidly appreciating housing values to help secure some measure of financial security and independence. Stay Informed: Sign up for the AARP Livable Communities Newsletter Over time, the home has served many purposes, and its function has evolved from simply providing shelter to so much more. …

A Dollmaker Brings Cheer to Children

After her husband passed away in 2007 following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, Reva Balogh searched for something to fill her time. Then, reaching into her own childhood, she found it. Balogh, 89, of Curtice, Ohio, is known these days as The Doll Lady. That’s because in the past six years, she’s made more than 1,600 dolls and donated them to charitable organizations, social service agencies, hospitals and the Ronald McDonald House, which distributes them to children. “I love …

10 Least Expensive Insurance Markets

By Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News Staff Writer, produced in collaboration with NPR People in much of Minnesota, northwestern Pennsylvania and Tucson, Ariz., are getting the best bargains from the health care law’s new insurance marketplaces: premiums half the price or less than what insurers in the country’s most expensive places are charging. The 10 regions with the lowest premiums in the nation also include Salt Lake City, all of Hawaii and eastern Tennessee. This ranking is based on the …

Medicare Lists Best, Worst Hospitals for Hip and Knee Replacements

By Jordan Rau, Senior Correspondent, Kaiser Health News Medicare has begun tracking the outcomes of hip and knee replacement surgeries, identifying 95 hospitals where elderly patients were more likely to suffer significant setbacks. The government also named 97 hospitals where patients tended to have the smoothest recoveries. The analysis, which was released last week, is the latest part of the government’s push to improve quality at the nation’s hospitals instead of simply paying Medicare patients’ bills. Medicare already assesses hospital …