Hanging in the Balance: The High Cost of Long-Term Services and Supports

I recently had the opportunity to participate on a panel sponsored by Genworth that turned out to be a truly candid and oftentimes personal discussion on an emerging crisis. The topic: “Solving America’s Long-Term Care Crisis: What We Can Do Now to Fix the $750 Billion Program.” In what way was the panel candid and personal? Much of it had to do with cost. Every day across the United States, millions of families sit at kitchen tables grappling with the …

Congress Approves Bill Bolstering Medicare Patients’ Hospital Rights

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation Monday night requiring hospitals across the nation to tell Medicare patients when they receive observation care but have not been admitted to the hospital. It’s a distinction that’s easy to miss until patients are hit with big medical bills after a short stay. The vote follows overwhelming approval in the U. S. House of Representatives in March. The legislation is expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama, said its House sponsor, …

Government Nursing Home Ratings Getting Tougher

Starting immediately, the federal government is making it harder for nursing homes to get top grades on a public report card, in part by increasing scrutiny of their use of antipsychotic drugs and raising the bar on an array of quality measures. Those grades — in the form of one- to five-star ratings — are part of Nursing Home Compare, a government website to help consumers evaluate nursing homes. While the star ratings, which debuted in December 2008, are lauded …

Should I Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?

One of the most frequent questions I get from clients is whether to buy long-term care insurance. With the average cost of a private room in care facilities topping $94,000 a year, according to a 2013 study by insurer John Hancock, it’s a reasonable concern. Many of us will need some form of long-term care (LTC), so the question of whether to buy insurance to help with the associated costs is a real one. I think the decision is a very close call. At …

Adult Day Services: A Model of Person- and Family-Centered Care

A recent study found that more than a quarter million participants attend an estimated 4,800 community-based adult day service (ADS) centers in the U.S. Although most participants are older people, more than one-third of ADS participants are younger than 65. Nearly one in three ADS participants has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. ADS centers provide coordinated and reliable services and supports. Services for participants include social activities, meals, personal care (such as help with toileting), a limited array …

How Medicare Might End Surprise Nursing Care Penalties

By Susan Jaffe for Kaiser Health News Medicare officials have allowed patients at dozens of hospitals participating in pilot projects across the country to be exempted from the controversial requirement that limits nursing home coverage to seniors admitted to a hospital for at least three days. The idea behind these experiments is to find out whether new payment arrangements with the hospitals and other health care providers that drop the three-day rule can reduce costs or keep them the same …