Three things you should know this week

September 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

Articles, commentary, research, and more from the past week:

A closer look at hospice care in the US
Hospice care in the US is growing. According to a post on the Health Affairs Blog, there were more than 3,500 hospice providers caring for 1.2 million Medicare beneficiaries in 2011. Still, 55% of Medicare beneficiaries do not receive hospice care prior to death because of regulations, ineligibility, patient and family preferences, and other factors.

Mixing alcohol and dementia
Alcoholism and Alzheimer’s disease share similar clinical features. Both conditions affect the same parts of the brain and can lead to problems with memory, language, and motor skills. Unfortunately, dementia and problem drinking are common in senior populations – and each condition has the potential to exacerbate the other.

Is “Medicare for all” gaining ground politically?
For some, Dr. Donald Berwick’s strong showing in last week’s Democratic gubernatorial primary in Massachusetts suggests that expanded Medicare may be gaining acceptance politically. Berwick, who has called for “single-payer Medicare for all,” pulled in 21% of the primary vote – a surprising total given his low name recognition when he announced his candidacy. Still, a single-payer approach is not supported by either the Democratic or Republican gubernatorial primary winners.

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