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Health and Medicine for Seniors

Deaths from Heart Disease and Stroke Have Plunged in Last Decade

Drop in Hospitalizations

Heart Attack -38.0%

Unstable Angina -83.8%

Heart Failure -30.5%

 Ischemic Stroke -33.6%

Rates declined more for these conditions than for any others; improved lifestyle, quality of care and prevention strategies contributed to the decrease.

Aug. 20, 2014 - U.S. hospitalizations and deaths from heart disease and stroke dropped significantly in the last decade, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. More...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

New Report on Severe Hardship for Family Caregivers of Patients with Cognitive Conditions

‘All caregivers need training and support; caregivers who are responsible for people with challenging behaviors are among those most in need of assistance,’ AARP/United Hospital Fund

Aug. 20, 2014 - Family caregivers who provide complex chronic care to people who also have cognitive and behavioral health conditions face particularly demanding challenges, including high levels of self-reported depression. A majority of them (61%) reported feeling stress “sometimes to always,” between their caregiving responsibilities and trying to meet other work or family obligations, says a new report. More...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Government Streamlining Medicare Coverage For Cancer Test

In a clinical trial, Colorguard detected 92 percent of colorectal cancers and 42 percent of advanced adenomas, large polyps that are more likely than small polyps to lead to cancer.

By Michelle Andrews, Insuring Your Health

Aug. 19, 2014 - Medicare beneficiaries may get speedier coverage for a newly approved screening test for colorectal cancer under a pilot project in which two federal agencies reviewed the product at the same time instead of one after the other. More...

Medicare & Medicaid

FDA Approves First Non-Invasive DNA Screening Test for Colorectal Cancer

Cologuard vs Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)

Cologuard detected 92% of colorectal cancers, 42% of advanced adenomas.

FIT screening  detected 74% of cancers, 24% of advanced adenomas.

Collaboration with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services contributed to proposed Medicare coverage for Cologuard

Aug. 19, 2014 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on August 11 approved Cologuard, the first stool-based colorectal screening test that detects the presence of red blood cells and DNA mutations that may indicate the presence of certain kinds of abnormal growths that may be cancers such as colon cancer or precursors to cancer. More...cer.htm"> More...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Some States, Seniors Bristle at Lack of Authority Over Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare pays private health plans - an alternative to traditional Medicare - set monthly rate per patient: about 16 million have signed up, almost one third of elderly, disabled eligible for Medicare

By Fred Schulte, The Center for Public Integrity

Humana hit him with a bill for $6,461.66, claiming the surgery was not covered because the hospital was “out of network.”

Aug. 19, 2014 - When Minnesota retiree Doug Morphew needed surgery last year, he expected his Humana Medicare Advantage plan to step up and pay the lion’s share of the bill. Morphew said the health plan had told him over the phone he would owe just $450 for the two days he spent in a St. Paul hospital recovering from the operation to repair an aortic aneurysm. Less than a month later, however, Humana hit him with a bill for $6,461.66... More...

Exercise & Fitness for Senior Citizens

New Optical Imaging of Brain Confirms Arteries More Elastic in Fit Seniors

Discovery allows scientists to map pulse pressure and elasticity of arteries in the brain with optical imaging, measure aging

Aug. 19, 2014 - A new discovery can noninvasively image the pulse pressure and elasticity of the arteries of the brain, revealing correlations between arterial health and aging. Brain artery support, which makes up the cerebrovascular system, is crucial for healthy brain aging and preventing diseases like Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. More...

Aging News & Information

Robin Williams Death Highlights Increase in Suicide Among Middle-aged Men

Suicide rates in middle-aged are higher than for the elderly; male baby boomers are 1.6 times more likely to kill themselves than prior generation

Aug. 19, 2014 - The death of Robin Williams has once again renewed focus on a worrying trend:  middle-aged male baby boomers who increasingly take their own lives. Julie Phillips, professor of sociology at Rutgers, notes Williams seems to have had many of the risk factors – a 63-year-old man with a history of drug addiction, alcoholism and depression who was dealing with new physical health problems. More...

Social Security News

Social Security Pushes My Social Security in Honor of Turning 79

This account is a tool people can used to keep up with their Social Security benefits, and more - read brief history

Aug. 18, 2014 – In honor of the 79th Anniversary of the Social Security Act, Social Security is urging Americans to establish a my Social Security account, a personalized online account, promoted as a helpful retirement planning tool. More...

Health and Medicine for Seniors

Too Many Senior Citizens Get Cancer Screening Says JAMA Study

Researchers examined rates of prostate, breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening in patients 65 or older

Aug. 18, 2014 – A large number of senior citizens with limited life expectancy continue to receive routine screenings for prostate, breast, cervical and colorectal cancer, according to the authors of a study in JAMA Internal Medicine. And, they add, the procedures are unlikely to benefit them. More...

Senior Citizen Alerts

Most Seniors Not Aware of High Dose Flu Shot for Elderly Provided by Medicare

Flu vaccine, including high dose version, is provided at no cost to seniors covered by Medicare - vaccine finder on page

Aug. 17, 2014 – A stronger flu vaccine was created just for senior citizens. The high dose vaccine contains four times the antigens as the regular flu vaccine and is intended to create a stronger immune response for seniors, who are at greater risk of developing severe flu-related illnesses. The problem is that the majority of seniors are not aware of its importance. More...

Sex and Romance for Senior Citizens

Middle-Aged Women Missing Passion - and Sex - Seek Affairs, Not Divorce

Being happy in marriage is far different than being happy in bed - None of women looking to leave husband

By Sydney McKinley, American Sociological Association

Aug. 16, 2014 -  When middle-aged women seek extra-marital affairs, they are looking for more romantic passion, which includes sex — and don't want to divorce their husbands, suggests new research to be presented at the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association. More...

Social Security Opens Disability Anti-Fraud Unit in Michigan

Aug. 16, 2014 - The Social Security Administration, its Office of the Inspector General (OIG), and the Michigan Department of Human Services announced a new Cooperative Disability Investigations (CDI) Unit in Detroit to identify and prevent Social Security disability fraud throughout the State of Michigan.

Citizens who would like to report suspected disability fraud should contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline at http://oig.ssa.gov/report; send U.S. Mail to PO Box 17768, Baltimore, MD, 21235; fax (410) 597-0118; or call (800) 269-0271 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

 

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Health and Medicine for Seniors

Diabetes Risk Rapidly Increasing in U.S., Almost Half Adults Likely Victims

Lifetime risk for Hispanics, black women probably more than 50 percent

Aug. 13, 2014 – More than half of Hispanics and black women, and just less than half of all adults in the U.S. are projected to develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime, according to projections from a new study in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. More...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

One of Five Medicare Hospice Patients Discharged Alive – Is It to Save Money

Live discharge rates differ between hospice programs; when should those rates raise red flags among issues explored

Aug. 13, 2014 - About 1 in 5 Medicare patients is discharged from hospice care alive, whether due to patients' informed choice, a change in their condition, or inappropriate actions by the hospice to save on hospitalization costs related to terminal illness. More...

Health and Medicine for Seniors

Cognitive Problems in Senior Citizens Found as Risk for Stroke, Death

Declining memory and cognitive ability may increase the risk of stroke, death in seniors over age 65

Aug. 12, 2014 – Most senior citizens are well aware that poor cardiovascular health, including a stroke, is an important risk factor for developing cognitive impairment. New research, however, says the opposite is also true for senior citizens age 65 and older: cognitive impairment is a risk factor for having a stroke. More...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Medicare Advantage Plans Exaggerate Diseases of Senior Citizens to Make More Money

Suspect billing practices have been common across much of the Medicare Advantage industry and are likely to get worse unless officials crack down

By Fred Schulte, The Center for Public Integrity

Aug. 8, 2014 - Many Medicare Advantage health plans routinely overbill the government for treating elderly patients - and have done it for years, a federal study shows. More...

Senior Citizen Alerts

Senior Citizens Should Schedule Mentally Challenging Tasks in the Morning

Older adults have ‘morning brains’ finds study showing noticeable difference in brain function across the day

Aug. 6, 2014 - Senior citizens facing a challenge that will require their brain to be working at its best should schedule it for the morning hours. A new study finds older adults have “morning brains.” They not only perform better on demanding cognitive tasks but also activate the same brain networks responsible for paying attention and suppressing distraction as younger adults, according to Canadian researchers. More...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Obese Senior Citizens More Likely to Survive Deadly Sepsis Infection

Study suggest that excess weight may cause the body to respond differently to critical illness

Aug. 6, 2014 – It is not often we see good health news for fat senior citizens. The University of Michigan Health System claims, however, that obese senior citizens in Medicare were more likely to survive life-threatening sepsis infection than other patients. More...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Medicare Spending Cuts Also Reducing Healthcare Spending for Younger People

Medicare by far the largest payer of hospital bills in U.S., accounting for about 30% of total hospital revenues

Aug. 6, 2114 – The increased efforts by Medicare to reduce costs and improve the medical care for senior citizens and the disabled, mandated by prices under the Obamacare, appears to be reducing the total overall hospital spending. Even younger patients and insurance companies are gaining the benefits. More...

Health and Medicine for Seniors

Women Age 75 and Older Should Stay with Mammography Says New Study

‘There are no studies on women age 75 and older, despite the fact that they are at the highest risk for breast cancer’

Aug. 5, 2014 – There is new evidence that supports the argument for senior women – ages 75 and older – to continue in mammography screening. The research says mammography leads to earlier stage cancer diagnosis in older women, which reduces the rate of more advanced, difficult-to-treat cases. More...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Link Between Frailty and Dementia Gets Closer Look by New York Researchers

‘Growing consensus in the field that frailty is at the core of geriatrics, and that frailty is associated with higher rates of cognitive deficit’

Ellen Goldbaum Senior Editor, Medicine, UB News

Aug. 5, 2014 – What is the relationship between frailty and dementia? Many studies acknowledge that frailty and dementia often coexist, but little research has been done on why that is the case. Read more...

Medicare & Medicaid News

More Inspections of Medicare Hospice Programs Demanded by New House Bill

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization backs bi-partisan bill

Aug. 5, 2014 – Just before the House of Representatives slammed the door shut to go on their August recess, a bi-partisan bill was introduced that will require “more timely” surveys of Medicare-certified hospice care programs, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). More...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Medicare Rule on Hospital Pay Wants Charges Public, Emphasis on Better Care

Rule updates Medicare payment policies and rates for inpatient stays at general acute care, long-term care hospitals

Aug. 4, 2014 – A final rule that updates Medicare payment policies and rates for inpatient stays at general acute and long-term care hospitals (LTCHs) for FY 2015 was issued today. The provision that will grab the attention of seniors supports price transparency by emphasizing the Obamacare requirement that hospitals most make their charges available to patients and the public. Hospital administrators may pay more attention, however, to mandated improvements in the quality of care that limit payment for hospital acquired conditions (HACs) and readmissions. More...

Health and Medicine for Seniors

Lung Cancer Diagnosis Tool Found Safe, Effective for Senior Citizens

Correct assessment of the stage of a patient's cancer – how much tumor has grown and spread – is key to ensuring they receive the right treatment

Aug. 4, 2014 - Half of all lung cancer patients are over 70 years old when first diagnosed, but studies have shown that these older patients are less likely to receive an accurate diagnosis. A recent study has found that a procedure to take tissue samples from these patients can be used safely in the elderly - allowing doctors to make a more accurate diagnosis and to choose appropriate treatment. Read more...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Patient-Centered Medical Homes Reduce Costs for Medicare Patients

Medicare costs for patients receiving care from PCMHs grew slower than for other Medicare patients, rates for emergency room visits, acute care hospitalizations lower, too

By Stephanie Stephens, HBNS Contributing Writer

Learn more about PCMH care below news report. See video, too.

Aug. 1, 2014 - The patient-centered medical home (PCMH), introduced in 2007, is a model of health care that emphasizes personal relationships, team delivery of care, coordination across specialties and care settings, quality and safety improvement, and open access. As the number of PCMHs has increased, a new report in the journal Health Services Research finds the model offers a promising option to reduce health care costs and utilization of some health care services. More...

 

Medicare & Medicaid News

Medicare Drug Plan Premiums Up $1 Next Year, More Reports on Low Medicare Costs

Unprecedented low levels of growth in Medicare spending, continued savings for seniors citizens

Aug. 1, 2014 - The average premium for a basic Medicare Part D prescription drug plan in 2015 will increase by about $1, to an estimated $32 per month, continuing its historically low growth rate. This projection by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) comes on the heels of the 49th anniversary of the signing of Medicare and Medicaid into law. More...

Features for Senior Citizens

Senior Citizens 75 and Older Can Now Board Airlines a Lot Easier

Transportation Security Administration helping elderly free but others can move through check-in lines even faster… but it cost money.

By Tucker Sutherland, editor, SeniorJournal.com

July 31, 2014 – Most of us senior citizens who fly on commercial airlines wish for the good old days – the days before 9-11 - when airline boarding and travel was simple. Those days are gone forever but the Transportation Security Administration has taken steps recently to make air travel at least a little bit easier for senior citizens age 75 and older. More...

Health and Medicine for Seniors

New Long-Term Treatment for COPD Approved by FDA

One of nation’s biggest killers is most often found in senior citizens, current or former smokers, women

July 31, 2014 - A new long-term treatment for the third largest killer of U.S. citizens - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – was approved today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Striverdi Respimat (olodaterol), an inhalation spray, is for the treatment of patients with COPD, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema that are experiencing airflow obstruction. Striverdi Respimat can be used once daily over a long period of time. More...

"The decline of stem-cell function is a big part of age-related problems. Achieving longer lives relies in part on achieving a better understanding of why stem cells are not able to maintain optimal functioning." Emmanuelle Passegué, PhD

Health and Medicine for Seniors

Aging Immune System May Get Kick-Start from Discovery of Molecular Defect

‘Old stem cells are not just sitting there with damaged DNA ready to develop cancer, as it has long been postulated’

July 31, 2014 - There's a good reason seniors over 60 are not donor candidates for bone marrow transplantation. The immune system ages and weakens with time, making the elderly prone to life-threatening infection and other maladies, and a UC San Francisco research team now has discovered a reason why. More...

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Medicare & Medicaid News

Medicare Celebrates 49th Birthday Today

Links below the news report to information, images, recordings on history of the program that are kept by Social Security and Medicare

July 30, 2014 - It was forty-nine years ago that President Lyndon B. Johnson went to the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri to have the former president, Harry Truman, join him for the signing of the bill establishing Medicare, or as the record shows then, the “Supplementary Medical Insurance Program Under the Social Security Act.” The information and downloads below report or from Social Security and Medicare. More...

Senior Citizen Politics

Planning Kicks Off for White House Conference on Aging 2015

Note: The first meeting was held yesterday to begin preparing for the White House Conference on Aging, which will take place in 2015 – the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older American Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security.

On the Horizon: The 2015 White House Conference on Aging

Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President Blog by Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

July 29, 2014 - Today at the White House, I was delighted to host a roundtable discussion with leaders from across the aging community who came together to discuss the White House Conference on Aging, which will take place in 2015 – the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security. More...

Features for Senior Citizens

Senior Citizens at Risk of Financial Abuse, Most Often by Family Members

Financial exploitation of elderly is a common and serious problem; adult suspects

July 30, 2014 - Nearly one in twenty elderly Americans is being financially exploited – often by their own family members. This burgeoning public health crisis especially affects poor and black people. It merits the scrutiny of clinicians, policy makers, researchers, and any citizen who cares about the dignity and well-being of older Americans, says Dr. Janey Peterson of Weill Cornell Medical College. More...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Simple Telephone Support a Great Relief for Caregivers of Dementia Patients

Program potentially less expensive than in-person treatment options, more convenient for many caregivers

July 30, 2014 – Caregivers for dementia patients must deal with enormous stress and many suffer depression. A new study has found, however, that a support program simply by telephone can significantly reduce depression and other problems for informal caregivers, such as family or friends, and is as effective as face-to-face intervention programs. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Medicare Experiment Could Signal Sea Change for Hospice Care

What is hospice care? How does it differ from palliative care? And. curative care? Being changes in care for oldest and sickest Americans

By Michelle Andrews, KHN Writer

July 30, 2014 - Diane Meier is the director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, a national organization that aims to increase the number of palliative care programs in hospitals and elsewhere for patients with serious illnesses. Meier is also a professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. We spoke about a recently launched pilot program under the health law that allows hospice patients participating in the pilot to continue to receive life-prolonging treatment. More...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Obamacare Helping Medicare Fight Fraud in Several States

CMS extends moratoria for enrolling ground ambulance suppliers, home health agencies in targeted high risk areas; regular service uninterrupted

July 30, 2014 – Obamacare is coming in handy for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) again, but this time it is in the unusual area of helping the agency fight fraud, waste, or abuse. CMS announced yesterday it is extending its enrollment moratoria on new grand ambulances in the Houston and Philadelphia metropolitan areas and new home health agencies in the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Detroit, Dallas, Houston, and Miami. More...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Early Life Experiences Influence Cognitive Ability in Senior Citizens

Challenges earlier research pointing to importance of demographic characteristics such as race and ethnicity

July 29, 2014 - An association between an increased risk of late-life cognitive impairment and dementia and the person’s race and ethnicity, is challenged by new research with senior citizens that finds early life experiences, such as childhood socioeconomic status and literacy, may have greater influence on the risk of cognitive impairment late in life. More...

Health and Medicine for Seniors

Surgeon General Issues Call to Action to Prevent Increase in Skin Cancer

Surprisingly, melanoma skin cancer can occur in strange places, like the bottom of your foot.

Skin cancer rates are rising, major reason is it primarily strikes seniors and that population group is increasing rapidly - see graph of melanoma deaths by age

July 29, 2014 - Skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S., is a major public health problem that requires immediate action, according to a new Call to Action released today by the U.S. Surgeon General. Melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, primarily strikes and kills senior citizens. The damage that causes the cancer, however, is usually done by ultraviolet radiation exposure while victims are younger. More...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Senior Citizens, Medicare Reaping Big Benefits from Obamacare, $11.5 Billion Saved on Drugs

New report says per capita Medicare spending growth averaged 2% over 2009 – 2012, and nearly 0% in 2013

July 29, 2014 - More than 8.2 senior citizens and people with disabilities covered by Medicare have saved $11.5 billion since 2010 as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to data released by the Department of Health and Human Services. Obamacare was just yesterday credited with extending the life of Medicare benefits. This news also comes on the heels of continued historic low levels of growth in Medicare spending. More...

Senior Citizen Politics

Social Security, Medicare Trustees Call for Legislative Action Now to Save Programs

‘Lawmakers should address the financial challenges facing Social Security and Medicare as soon as possible’

July 28, 2014 – The annual report on Medicare and Social Security by the trustees is no small matter – these two programs accounted for 41 percent of U.S. government spending in 2013. The trustees also issued a summary on the reports that – as they say – told it like it is! Things may look okay for now but neither program can be sustained without legislative changes. They emphasize sooner than later for these action. More...

Senior Citizen Politics

AARP Response to Trustee Reports Cautions Medicare on Health Costs, Praises Social Security Strength

Cites wasteful spending throughout health care system; modest changes on Social Security can ensure current and future generations of Social Security beneficiaries

July 28, 2014 – While most seemed to be joyous over the report of the Medicare Trustees today, AARP pointed out the challenges facing the program and complained about the high cost of health It was more cheerful about the Social Security report, saying “Social Security remains strong as seen in today’s long term projected outlook.” Both statements were made by Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. More...

Medicare & Medicaid News

Medicare’s Hospital Trust Fund Flush Until 2030: Good News for Boomers, Seniors

News not so good on Social Security: projected to run out of disability benefit money in 2016, just two years from now, unless Congress intervenes

By Julie Rovner, KNH Staff Writer

July 28, 2014 - Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, which finances about half the health program for seniors and the disabled, won’t run out of money until 2030, the program’s trustees said Monday. That’s four years later than projected last year and 13 years later than projected the year before the passage of the Affordable Care Act. More...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

How Senior Citizens Function So Well Despite Declining Cognitive Ability

Can they really think well when they focus real hard? Psychology prof says it is ‘selective engagement’

July 28, 2014 - Senior citizens almost universally show decline in their cognitive ability as they age, but they often do not seem to suffer in their ability to cope with decisions in their work or daily life. A psychology researcher at North Carolina State University thinks it is something he calls “selective engagement.” More...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Alzheimer’s, Other Diseases a Step Closer to Treatment with New Protein Structure

Stops harmful changes of body’s normal proteins into state linked to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and Lou Gehrig’s disease

Michelle Ma, University of Washington

July 28, 2014 - There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, but University of Washington bioengineers are one step closer to finding a treatment. They have designed a peptide structure that can stop the harmful changes of the body’s normal proteins into a state that’s linked to widespread diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Read more...

Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, & Mental Health

Six New Genetic Risks Found for Parkinson’s Disease that Targets Seniors

Study shows power of combining big data analysis with cutting-edge genomic techniques

July 28, 2014 - Using data from over 18,000 patients, scientists have identified more than two dozen genetic risk factors involved in Parkinson's disease, including six that had not been previously reported. The biggest risk factor long established for PD is age: it usually attacks people at about age 60 and the risk factor continues to increase with age. More...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Senior Citizens Who Walk Slowly Can Expect Dementia to Catch Up with Them

Series of research reports in recent years have dire predictions for slow walking seniors, including a shorter life

July 25, 2014 – If you are a senior citizen and you walk very slowly, you have some things to worry about. The latest is a report from a study of 27,000 seniors age 60 or older that declares it can predict dementia in the future of those who walk slowly and have cognitive complaints. Another study early this year says slow walking seniors are less happy and have shorter longevity. In fact, a study of seniors in 2011 says how fast they walk is a better gage of how long they will live than trying to do a more complicated analysis of their medical condition and history. More...

Features for Senior Citizens

How Can I Get Health Coverage for My Grandchildren?

When an adult child is out of work, grandparents may need to step up to help the grandchildren

July 25, 2014 – A reader of the Insuring Your Health column has come up with an unusual question, or maybe it is not that unusual. The question is, “How can I get health coverage for my grandchildren?” Michelle Andrews has the answer and it may be one many grandparents need. More...


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