Nursing Home Certificate-Of-Need Laws Should Be Repealed

Health Affairs Blog, 9 June 2017
Author: David Grabowski
“Despite evidence against them, 34 states still have certificate-of-need laws on the books. One reason why states have maintained these laws is their incredible popularity with nursing homes. If a system is lucky enough to have a regulated monopoly, it will not give that monopoly up easily. Nursing homes have argued that certificate of need allows them to keep sufficient occupancy levels to cover their costs. This guaranteed occupancy is a boon for nursing homes, but hurts consumers. If a nursing home cannot maintain sufficient occupancy without certificate of need, it is likely a sign that the nursing home is not providing adequate quality.”
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Many older people in care die prematurely, and not from natural causes

The Conversation, 29 May 2017
Author: Joseph Ibrah
“Investigations into deaths of individual residents by the Coroners Court and the recent inquiry into Oakden care facility in South Australia show vulnerable older people in care have been subjected to undue suffering and harm. The Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt has also commissioned an independent review into aged care processes.”
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Alzheimer’s Deaths Jump 55 Percent: CDC

WebMD, 25 May 2017
Author: Steven Reinberg
“As more baby boomers age, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have jumped 55 percent, and in a quarter of those cases the heavy burden of caregiving has fallen on loved ones, U.S. health officials report. “Alzheimer’s disease is a public health problem that affects not only people with Alzheimer’s disease, but also the people who provide care to them, which is often family members,” said report author Christopher Taylor.”
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NHS faces staggering increase in cost of elderly care, academics warn

The Guardian, 24 May 2017
Author: Sarah Boseley
“The NHS and social care system in the UK is facing a staggering increase in the cost of looking after elderly people within the next few years, according to major new research which shows a 25% increase in those who will need care between 2015 and 2025. Within eight years, there will be 2.8 million people over 65 needing nursing and social care, unable to cope alone, largely because of the toll of dementia in a growing elderly population.
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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.”
Find article here.