NYT: Preparing More Care of Elderly

The New York Times does a great story on preparing for the coming wave of seniors and older adults needing advanced care. Check out the article below.

By MILT FREUDENHEIM
Published: June 28, 2010
With a nudge from the new health care law and pressure from Medicare, hospitals, doctors and nurses are struggling to prepare for explosive growth in the numbers of high-risk elderly patients.

More than 40 percent of adult patients in acute care hospital beds are 65 or older. Seventy million Americans will have turned 65 by 2030. They include the 85-and-older cohort, the nation’s fastest-growing age group.

Elderly people often have multiple chronic illnesses, expensive to treat, and they are apt to require costly hospital readmissions, sometimes as often as 10 times in a single year.

The Obama administration is spending $500 million from last year’s stimulus package to support the training of doctors and nurses and other health care providers at all levels, “from college teachers through work force professionals on the front lines of patient care,” said Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services.

But the administration and Congress seem to be paying less attention to geriatric health issues. For example, only 11 percent of research funding at the National Institutes of Health went to aging research last year.

Read more at the New York Times here.

What Does Healthcare Reform Mean for You?

From the National Family Caregivers Association website

Family caregivers may be wondering what the newly signed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act means to them and their loved ones.

The following is an overview of a few of the provisions of the new law that will take effect in 2010, as summarized by Patton Boggs, LLP, attorneys at law:

Immediate Access to Insurance for Uninsured Children and Adults with a Pre-Existing Condition. Provides eligible individuals access to coverage that does not impose any coverage exclusions for pre-existing health conditions. This provision ends when Exchanges are operational.

Prohibiting Rescissions. Prohibits abusive practices whereby health insurance companies rescind existing health insurance policies when a person gets sick as a way of avoiding covering the costs of enrollees’ healthcare needs.

Eliminating Lifetime Limits and Restricting Use of Annual Limits. Prohibits lifetime limits on benefits in all group health plans and in the individual market, and prohibits the use of restrictive annual limits.

Covering Preventive Health Services. All new group health plans and plans in the individual market must provide first dollar coverage for preventive services.

Extending Dependent Coverage. Requires any group health plan or plan in the individual market that provides dependent coverage for children to continue to make that coverage available up to age 26.

Improving Consumer Assistance. Requires that any new group health plan or new plan in the individual market implement an effective appeals process for coverage determinations and claims.

Rebates for the Medicare Part D “Donut Hole.” Provides a $250 rebate for all Part D enrollees who enter the “donut hole.” Currently, the coverage gap falls between $2,830 and $6,440 in total drug costs.

Strengthening the Healthcare Workforce. Expands and improves low-interest student loan programs, scholarships, and loan repayments for health students and professionals to increase and enhance the capacity of the workforce to meet patients’ healthcare needs.