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.

Suggested Reading: Ageism

I read so many interesting articles this month.

This one is a challenge to physicians to think about ageism and to identify if it is creeping into their practice or if they are experiencing it themselves.

This blog identifies great strategies to combat ageism in healthcare.

These two articles address the topic of loneliness from societal and political perspectives:

We Know the Cure for Loneliness. So Why Do We Suffer?

The Weaponization of Loneliness

Finally, here’s an amazing program that an older adult I know helped to make happen in her town. What a phenomenal role model she is for me.

Suggested Reading: Loneliness

Recently, the topics of social isolation and loneliness have begun being addressed more regularly. This essay was enlightening in that it states that while sometimes mistaken for social isolation, loneliness is different. 

Social isolation is an objective state: Are you interacting regularly with other people? Loneliness, by contrast, is a paradoxical puzzle — an entirely subjective experience of distress at one’s perceived lack of social connection. 

Research has shown that a lonely brain is transformedand that such changes in the brain may help to explain why lonely individuals perceive their social environment as threatening.

Vivek H. Murthy, MD, the surgeon general of the United States, is addressing the topic of loneliness as well, often sharing very personal experiences. He explains that the invisibility of loneliness is part of what makes it so insidious. 

He also states that addressing the crisis of loneliness and isolation is one of our generation’s greatest challenges. The work will take all of us: schools, workplaces, community organizations, government, health workers, public health professionals, individuals, families and more, working together. But it will be worth it, because our need for human connection is like our need for food and water: essential for survival. 

Read more here.

Suggested Reading/Watching

I was pleased to be contacted by WHDH TV for comments regarding the abrupt closure of a large medical practice called Compass Medical located south of Boston. Specifically, I was asked to provide advice to healthcare consumers who obtained their care from the group.

Watch the full segment, here.

There are numerous, deceptive advertisements on television about Medicare Advantage Plans. These are detrimental to many vulnerable individuals and, as this article details, rules have now been finalized to crack down on this practice.

Among many other things, the Inflation Reduction Act contains legislation aimed at decreasing Medicare costs. Included are penalties on drugmakers regarding price hikes. This article explains.

Recommended Reading: Dementia Care Programs

Dementia Care Programs Help, If Caregivers Can Find Them

Some people believe that dementia care should be provided through programs that are based on proven methods. These should focus on important aspects of care, including support for those who are taking care of dementia patients. This approach could lead to better results and lower costs. 

The article also mentions that paying attention to important parts of the program design can help ensure that the way we pay for these programs works as intended and supports equal health opportunities for everyone.

Payment For Comprehensive Dementia Care: Five Key Recommendations

These authors believe care could be improved, and costs could be reduced, if all community-dwelling Medicare beneficiaries living with dementia could enroll in a comprehensive dementia care program. Congressional leaders and dozens of experts have urged the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (the Innovation Center) to test a nationwide alternative payment model (APM) to provide comprehensive care to those living with dementia.