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, …

Older Americans Act Receives Senate Approval – Now for the House

In the same week as its 50th anniversary, the Senate finally renewed the Older Americans Act (OAA). Thanks to the bipartisan support of Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the Older Americans Act is moving forward after 5 years of inaction. Appropriately timed with the White House Conference on Aging held earlier last week, the OAA reauthorization addresses AARP’s core concern for any legislation to protect, nourish and sustain our nation’s older …

How to Get Food to More People Who Need It

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced this week a proposed program to improve access to groceries for homebound older Americans and people with disabilities who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program. AARP spoke with Vilsack about the pilot program and food insecurity among older adults. How will the program work? And why is it important? This program will fund 20 eligible entities — government or nonprofit organizations — that will allow …

Library of Congress Offers Free Book Service to Visually Challenged

AARP Bulletin and AARP The Magazine are among the periodicals and 150,000 books available to visually or physically challenged Americans through a free service of the Library of Congress. With the help of a nationwide network of libraries, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) mails Braille publications and audio books to your door. You can also download them using the BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) mobile app. About 150,000 books and 75 magazines are …

Aging Conference: How Innovative Solutions Work for All Generations

From technological innovation to physical activity to universal design — what works to make life easier and healthier for one generation can work equally well for another, according to speakers at the White House Conference on Aging on July 13. The once-a-decade conference “opens the door to creating innovative solutions that make life better for all people as they age,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins in her address to the attendees. In afternoon panel discussions, presenters emphasized that everyone …

New Regulations Would Require Modernizing Nursing Home Care

After nearly 30 years, the Obama administration wants to modernize the rules nursing homes must follow to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid payments. The hundreds of pages of proposed changes cover everything from meal times to use of antipsychotic drugs to staffing.  Some are required by the Affordable Care Act and other recent federal laws, as well as the president’s executive order directing agencies to simplify regulations and minimize the costs of compliance. “Today’s measures set high standards for quality …