Johnson & Johnson to Take $4 Billion Hit

Recently I wrote about how Johnson & Johnson inappropriately marketed Risperdal to treat agitation, confusion and other symptoms in older patients with dementia. As if that’s not enough, the company’s now tentatively agreeing to a $4 billion – yes, that’s billion - settlement with thousands of patients for whom a company-made hip implant failed. As the New York Times described it this week, J & J’s Depuy Orthapaedics unit made and marketed its Articular Surface Replacement, an all-metal hip implant, to doctors …

Is Your Hospital in Medicare’s Penalty Box?

Is your hospital being penalized for providing care that falls short of what Medicare thinks it should be? Measures range from nighttime noise to following basic clinical standards of care. If so, your hospital isn’t alone. Some 1,451 hospitals nationwide are being paid a little bit less for each patient they treat in the second year of Medicare’s “quality incentive” program, compared with 1,231 hospitals that will be paid more, according to Kaiser Health News. Here are the hospitals at …

The Maverick Doctor Who Helped to Invent Family Medicine

In the late 1950s, a young physician named Gene Farley was working as a small-town doctor in rural New York state when he came to the realization that what he had learned in medical school was all wrong. >> Sign up for the AARP Leisure Newsletter Farley, who died on Nov. 8 at age 86 in Wisconsin, explained in a 1992 oral history interview that his change in thinking came about as he was treating two teenage boys from different families …

Older Patients Steered Into High-Interest Credit Plans

Consider this: An older patient visits the dentist. The treatment she needs is expensive and not covered by Medicare. So the dentist offers her financing, on the spot, through a credit card plan. She accepts and gets the work done right away. When she gets the first month’s bill, she’s stunned to learn that the financing plan carries an interest rate of 30 percent. That scenario, you might be surprised to learn, appears to be a growing trend in doctor’s …

More Doctors Accepting New Medicare Patients

It’s getting easier – not more difficult – to find doctors who take Medicare, according to a new study by the Department of Health and Human Services. Doctors have long complained about Medicare’s payment caps and the instability of a reimbursement system that forces cuts each year unless Congress intervenes to prevent them. Nonetheless, the HHS study says that the number of physicians accepting new Medicare patients is actually higher than the number taking new private insurance patients, according to …

Sex, Alzheimer’s and Boomers: Trouble for Nursing Homes

Romance – for many, it’s one of life’s great pleasures. But for those living in a nursing home sex can get a bit more complicated. Having Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia calls into question whether the individuals involved have the ability to give legal consent. Nursing homes regularly struggle to make that call, and this problem will only grow worse as the number of older Americans grows as the the boomer generation joins their ranks. Related: Sex and …