Suggested Reading: Hospice Care

Last month, I wrote about Hospice care and Medical Aid in Dying. I described how services offered by Hospice Care are designed to wrap around care a family might provide to a loved one at home. I mentioned seven services but forgot to include one that is invaluable: 24/7 support via telephone from a Hospice nurse who can offer advice to a caregiver. 

Many of the calls Hospice nurses receive are about the family administering the medications used to decrease a person’s anxiety, promote their comfort, and prevent their suffering. Sometimes, the calls can result in an in-person visit to help a family troubleshoot issues.

On a related note, here is an article about an emerging professional role for “death doulas” and how they can provide an extra layer of support for families.

Another excellent article on disparities in end-of-life care is here.

Finally, this is a good article about why Americans are uniquely afraid to grow old.

Suggested Reading: Misleading advertising

We received wonderful feedback from last month’s newsletter in which our colleague Diane Reilly described why she transitioned away from a Medicare Advantage plan

This article addresses measures being taken to crack down on misleading advertising claims by insurers selling private Medicare Advantage and drug plans.

I found this article fascinating on many levels. It reminded me of frustrating times early in my career when I was delivering patient care as a nurse and felt our patients were unsafe due to staffing issues.

Suggested Reading: Reducing unnecessary medical care

When discussing the topic of healthcare, negativity seems to prevail. At Healthassist, we take a positive approach and teach our clients the best way to manage within the existing healthcare system: to become an informed, assertive, and empowered healthcare consumer. 

I maintain optimism by continuously trying to improve the system. The work of improving processes and outcomes in healthcare is difficult but rewarding. In the past, I’ve had the privilege of participating in several Medicare Demonstration Projects. I was also a member of a Patient Family Advisory Council of a large physician practice and participated in using the Virginia Mason Approach to improve and change the way care was delivered. Currently, I am a member of the Governing Body of Iora Health Network, another Medicare Demonstration Project taking initiatives aimed at doing the right thing for patients. 

This article describes some of the challenges and hard work involved in aligning incentives to reduce unnecessary medical care. 

Suggested Reading: the future of Medicare

This is an interview with the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. She discusses her vision for the future of Medicare, the enhancements to the program’s prescription drug coverage, and the prospects for helping more older adults live out their lives in their own homes and communities.

Following a rise in beneficiary complaints made to The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) related to the marketing of private Medicare plans, an investigation was completed, a report issued, and new rules instituted.