New Palliative Care Guidelines Reflect Field’s Leadership and Evolution

  My life-long friend, Karen, died last month after a courageous battle with cancer.  Watching her lose her independence, be in pain, and suffer in a number of ways was quite difficult. During her journey with serious illness this past year, she was surrounded by her family and paid caregiver, along with devoted friends—all of whom provided love, companionship, and vital support throughout her illness.  All of us were grateful that she had access to an extra layer of support …

Seniors Win Battle over Medicare Part D Doughnut Hole

“Any changes to Medicare should help, not hurt, patients,” say the PhRMA ads. Yet PhRMA’s actions tell a different story. Last February, Congress struck a bipartisan deal to help close the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap, known as the ‘doughnut hole,’ a year earlier than expected. In addition, brand name drug companies are now responsible for picking up more of the cost of their products for Medicare beneficiaries who are in the doughnut hole. The provision was part …

Proposal to Cut SNAP Funding Raises Serious Concerns for Older Americans

“Without SNAP, I don’t know how I’d be able to afford to eat.” It’s something I heard often from low-income older clients while doing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach as an AmeriCorps volunteer.[i] SNAP—formerly known as food stamps—is a federal and state-administered program that provides resources to low-income people so they can buy food. And it works: SNAP has a proven track record of effectively reducing hunger. Today, millions of older Americans live on low fixed incomes, forcing many …

More Price Transparency Needed for Implantable Devices

Implantable devices, such as hip replacements and heart valves, are a central part of medical treatment today. Americans receive about 370,000 cardiac pacemakers and about 1 million total hip and knee replacements per year. Despite how common the use of implantable devices is, little information is publicly available on the prices paid for these devices in the United States. Limited information about prices and performance of many implantable devices has raised concerns that providers, consumers and insurers may be paying …

Temperature Sensor for Independent Living Wins Innovation Champion Award

AARP has named HomeExcept Inc. the grand prize winner of the AARP Innovation Champion Awards competition. The team was awarded $10,000 in cash for designing a home care sensor that allows caregivers to monitor loved ones by using thermal sensors to track movement. The AARP Innovation Champion Awards were created to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary efforts of companies that are aligned with AARP’s core mission — to empower people to choose how they live as they age. The AARP Innovation Champion Awards …

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 …