Legal Dispute Continues Over Medicare Coverage Of Physical Therapy

NPR, 30 January 2017
Author: Susan Jaffe
“Four years after Medicare officials agreed in a landmark court settlement that seniors can’t be denied coverage for physical therapy and other skilled care simply because their condition isn’t improving, patients are still being turned away. As a result, federal officials and Medicare advocates have renewed their federal court battle, acknowledging that they cannot agree on a way to fix the problem. Earlier this month, each submitted ideas to the judge, who will decide — possibly within the next few months — what measures should be taken.”
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After hours aged care: profit versus quality care

MJA Insight, Issue 43 / 7 November 2016
Author: Cate Swannell
“Professor Kirsty Douglas, professor of general practice at the Australian National University, told MJA InSight that significant shifts in Medicare claims for after-hours services, as well as changes in advertising regulations that made it possible for medical deputising services to advertise directly to the public, had complicated an already byzantine model of aged care.”
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Medicare bars new insurers from ‘seamless conversion’ of seniors’ coverage

Washington Post, 27 October 2016
Author: Susan Jaffe
“The federal government is temporarily blocking more health insurance companies from automatically moving customers who become eligible for Medicare into Medicare Advantage plans while officials review the controversial practice. Last month, four advocacy groups asked acting CMS administrator Andy Slavitt to strengthen protections for beneficiaries who have been enrolled in Medicare Advantage without their knowledge.”
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Aged Care Complaints Commissioner releases first annual report

Department of Health, 5 October 2016
“The report shows that people – consumers, family, carers and loved ones – are speaking up when it comes to concerns about their aged care services and this is a good thing. The Government has been working hard to reform aged care and give consumers greater choice and control over their aged care services,” Minister Ley said.
Find media release here.

New Rule Preserves Patients’ Rights To Sue Nursing Homes In Court

NPR, 29 September 2016
Author: Rebecca Hersher
“The federal government has announced a new rule that guarantees the rights of patients and families to sue long-term care facilities. The rule, released Wednesday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, bans so-called pre-dispute binding arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts, which require patients and families to settle any dispute over care in arbitration, rather than through the court system.”
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Voluntary euthanasia laws in Australia: are we really better off dead?

Med J Aust 2016; 205 (6): 254-255
Author: Briony J Murphy
“You would perhaps think that this experience would make me one of the fiercest advocates for voluntary euthanasia and assisted dying, but you would be mistaken. Instead, this experience left me with a profound sense of the complexities of suicide among older adults and how often and easily these can be overshadowed by the euthanasia debate.”
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Euthanasia rising in Belgium, including more who are not terminally ill

Reuters, 15 September 2016
Author: Madeline Kennedy
“In the decade after Belgium legalized doctor-assisted death, the number of patients using it to end their lives rose nearly eight-fold, according to records of the national euthanasia control committee. The largest increases in euthanasia cases over that period was among people older than 80, those without cancer and those not expected to die in the near future.”
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Can We Care for Aging Persons without Worsening Global Inequities?

Can We Care for Aging Persons without Worsening Global Inequities? The Case of Long-Term Care Worker Migration from the Anglophone Caribbean
Public Health Ethics published 20 July 2016, 10.1093/phe/phw031
Authors: Jeremy Snyder and Valorie A. Crooks
“The international migration of health workers, including long-term care workers (LCWs) for aging populations, contributes to a shortage of these workers in many parts of the world. …Many responses have been proposed to address the international migration of health workers generally, including making it more difficult for these workers to emigrate and increasing and improving local employment opportunities. In this article, we suggest an additional means of ethically reducing health worker migration, targeting the Anglophone Caribbean specifically.”
Find abstract here.

Doctors still provide too many dying patients with needless treatment

The Conversation, 28 June 2016
Authors: Magnolia Cardona-Morrell, Kenneth Hillman
“Many doctors are continuing to provide end-of-life patients with needless treatments that only worsen the quality of their last days, new research shows. Our review published in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care found that on average, one-third of patients near the end of their life received non-beneficial treatments in hospitals around the world.”
Find article here.