Dually Noted from around the web

December 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

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

A caregiver proposes Medicare “quality of life” benefitIn an op-ed in The New York Times, a family caregiver wishes that Medicare focused more on home supports than on treatments designed to cure sick seniors. She explains that, at the end of his life, her elderly father received more than $80,000 from Medicare for a hernia repair, a pacemaker, ambulance rides, emergency room visits, and hospital stays. However, Medicare paid “very little for home health aides to give my mother respite and cut off, far too soon, the speech and physical therapies that helped maintain his ability to function and take pleasure in life.” She calls for an optional Medicare benefit called “Part Q, for Quality of Life,” to cover such expenses.

MassHealth drives increase in healthcare spending
According to 2015 Annual Cost Trends Report from the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, MassHealth “accounted for two-thirds of total health care spending increases from 2013 to 2014, when healthcare spending per resident grew 4.8% to $8,010 annually.” For 2014, according to the report, commercial health plans saw spending increase by 2.5 percent – putting it below the benchmark set by the state’s 2012 healthcare cost containment law.

Obesity puts cost pressure on nursing homes
A recent study finds that almost 25% of individuals who enter nursing homes in the US are obese, and the numbers have been rising. This trend strains the budgets of nursing homes because many severely overweight residents need motorized lifts, larger wheelchairs, bedside commodes, shower chairs, and other equipment. However, Medicaid – which covers more than 60% of nursing home patients – does not reimburse facilities for these items.


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