Category: aging

  • Buy and Bust: When Private Equity Comes for Rural Hospitals

    MEXICO, Mo. — When the new corporate owners of two rural hospitals suddenly announced they would stop admitting patients one Friday in March, Kayla Schudel, a nurse, stood resolute in the nearly empty lobby of Audrain Community Hospital: “You’ll be seen; the ER is open.” The hospital — with 40 beds and five clinics — […]

  • Journalists Delve Into Vaccine Mandates and Surprise Billing

    California Healthline correspondent Rachel Bluth discussed California’s doomed covid-19 vaccine mandates on iHeartPodcasts “The Daily Dive” on June 7. Click here to hear Bluth on “The Daily Dive” Read Bluth’s “Politics and Pandemic Fatigue Doom California’s Covid Vaccine Mandates”  KHN contributing writer Michelle Andrews discussed her recent “Bill of the Month” feature about a surprise […]

  • Medicaid Weighs Attaching Strings to Nursing Home Payments to Improve Patient Care

    The Biden administration is considering a requirement that the nation’s 15,500 nursing homes spend most of their payments from Medicaid on direct care for residents and limit the amount that is used for operations, maintenance, and capital improvements or diverted to profits. If adopted, it would be the first time the federal government insists that […]

  • ¿Recibes, pagas o brindas cuidado a largo plazo?

    A medida que los estadounidenses viven más tiempo, se vuelve cada más difícil y costoso garantizar que las personas mayores, en sus hogares o en centros de atención, reciban la ayuda médica y personal que necesitan, incluyendo asistencia con actividades como levantarse, bañarse y tomar medicamentos. Asimismo, personas mayores con demencia u otros problemas cognitivos […]

  • AARP’s Billion-Dollar Bounty

    In September, AARP, the giant organization for older Americans, agreed to promote a burgeoning chain of medical clinics called Oak Street Health, which has opened more than 100 primary care outlets in nearly two dozen states. The deal gave Oak Street exclusive rights to use the trusted AARP brand in its marketing — for which […]

  • ¿Eres mayor y tienes síntomas de covid persistente? Esto es lo que deberías hacer

    Los adultos mayores que han sobrevivido a covid-19 son más propensos que los pacientes más jóvenes a tener síntomas persistentes como fatiga, falta de aire, dolores musculares, palpitaciones, dolores de cabeza, dolor en las articulaciones y dificultad con la memoria y la concentración, problemas relacionados con covid de larga duración. Pero puede ser difícil distinguir […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Washington’s Slow Churn

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. In the wake of three high-profile mass shootings in less than a month, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have renewed negotiations over legislation that could stem gun violence. […]

  • Got Long Covid? Medical Expertise Is Vital, and Seniors Should Prepare to Go Slow

    Older adults who have survived covid-19 are more likely than younger patients to have persistent symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness, muscle aches, heart palpitations, headaches, joint pain, and difficulty with memory and concentration — problems linked to long covid. But it can be hard to distinguish lingering aftereffects of covid from conditions common in older […]

  • Her First Colonoscopy Cost Her $0. Her Second Cost $2,185. Why?

    Elizabeth Melville and her husband are gradually hiking all 48 mountain peaks that top 4,000 feet in New Hampshire. “I want to do everything I can to stay healthy so that I can be skiing and hiking into my 80s — hopefully even 90s!” said the 59-year-old part-time ski instructor who lives in the vacation […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: Private Equity Is Everywhere in Health Care. Really.

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Click here for a transcript of the episode. When a listener wrote to us about a pricey colonoscopy quote, we got curious. It turns out, a few years back, investors identified gastroenterology as their next hot-ticket item.  Private equity companies are the house-flippers of the investment world, […]

  • ¿Por qué más adultos mayores no reciben los refuerzos contra covid?

    Incluso cuando los principales funcionarios de salud de los Estados Unidos dicen que es hora de aprender a vivir con el coronavirus, un coro de destacados investigadores aseguran que mensajes confusos sobre los refuerzos de las vacunas han puesto en grave riesgo a millones de personas mayores. Según los Centros para el Control y la […]

  • Why Won’t More Older Americans Get Their Covid Booster?

    Even as top U.S. health officials say it’s time America learns to live with the coronavirus, a chorus of leading researchers say faulty messaging on booster shots has left millions of older people at serious risk. Approximately 1 in 3 Americans 65 and older who completed their initial vaccination round still have not received a […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: More Covid Complications for Congress

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The week that Dr. Anthony Fauci declared the pandemic part of covid-19 over was also the week Vice President Kamala Harris and two Democratic members of the […]

  • Washington State Retools First-in-the-Nation Long-Term Care Benefit

    Patricia Keys, 71 and a stroke survivor, needs help with many everyday activities, such as dressing and bathing. Her daughter Christina, who lives near her mom in Vancouver, Washington, cares for her in the evenings and pays about $3,000 a month for help from other caregivers. Christina Keys, 53, was thrilled three years ago when […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: News You Might Have Missed

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. It’s been extra busy on the health policy beat lately, so a congressional recess provides a chance to explore some of the important stories that people might […]

  • It’s Your Choice: You Can Change Your Views of Aging and Improve Your Life

    People’s beliefs about aging have a profound impact on their health, influencing everything from their memory and sensory perceptions to how well they walk, how fully they recover from disabling illness, and how long they live. When aging is seen as a negative experience (characterized by terms such as decrepit, incompetent, dependent, and senile), individuals […]

  • Why Black and Hispanic Seniors Are Left With a Less Powerful Flu Vaccine

    At Whitman-Walker Health, Dr. David Fessler and his staff administer high-dose influenza vaccine to all HIV-positive and senior patients. Although the vaccine is roughly three times as expensive as standard flu vaccine, it seems to do a better job at protecting those with weakened immune systems — a major focus of the nonprofit’s Washington, D.C., […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Funding for the Next Pandemic

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. President Joe Biden released his budget proposal for 2023 this week, and it calls for a nearly 27% increase in funding for the Department of Health and […]

  • ‘The Danger Is Still There’ ― As Omicron Lurks, Native Americans Are Wary of Boosters

    When covid-19 vaccines first became available, Native Americans acted swiftly and with determination to get their shots — as though they had everything to lose. Covid hospitalization and death rates for American Indians and Alaska Natives had skyrocketed past those of non-Hispanic whites. Leveraging established systems like the Indian Health Service and tribal organizations, Native […]

  • Senators Ask GAO to Examine Medicaid’s Low Covid Vaccination Rates

    Two prominent Democratic senators have requested a Government Accountability Office study of why covid vaccination rates remain far lower among Medicaid enrollees than the general population and what barriers are impeding state efforts to increase immunizations among program beneficiaries, low-income people who have been disproportionately affected by the virus. Sens. Robert Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania […]

  • To Families’ Dismay, Biden Nursing Home Reform Doesn’t View Them as Essential Caregivers

    When the Biden administration announced a set of proposed nursing home reforms last month, consumer advocates were both pleased and puzzled. The reforms call for minimum staffing requirements, stronger regulatory oversight, and better public information about nursing home quality — measures advocates have promoted for years. Yet they don’t address residents’ rights to have contact […]

  • Biden Pledges Better Nursing Home Care, but He Likely Won’t Fast-Track It

    President Joe Biden’s top Medicare official suggested Wednesday that forthcoming rules to bolster nursing home staffing won’t be issued under a4 mechanism, known as interim final rules, that would allow regulations to take effect more or less immediately. “While we want to move swiftly, we want to get comments from stakeholders,” Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator of […]

  • Biden’s Promise of Better Nursing Home Care Will Require Many More Workers

    The Biden administration has identified core impediments to better nursing home care in its proposed overhaul of the industry, but turning aspirations into reality will require a complex task: mandating adequate staffing levels for all homes without bankrupting those that can’t afford far higher labor costs. President Joe Biden’s proposals for the nation’s 15,000 skilled […]

  • Readers and Tweeters Have Mental Health Care on Their Minds

    Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names. Therapists Aren’t Psychic Your article on the No Surprises Act offered clarity into some difficulties faced by therapists and their patients in determining financial parameters of treatment (“Mental Health Therapists Seek […]

  • Watch: Seniors Share How They’ve Made It Through the Pandemic

    Too often the voices of older people are not heard. Judith Graham, KHN’s Navigating Aging columnist, invited nine seniors from across the country to talk candidly about their highs and lows as they enter Year 3 of the pandemic, with lives reordered by risk and restriction.  How have people handled persistent stress? How have their […]

  • As Covid Slogs On, Seniors Find Fortitude Waning and Malaise Growing

    Late one night in January, Jonathan Coffino, 78, turned to his wife as they sat in bed. “I don’t know how much longer I can do this,” he said, glumly. Coffino was referring to the caution that’s come to define his life during the covid-19 pandemic. After two years of mostly staying at home and […]

  • Inside the Tactical Tug of War Over the Controversial Alzheimer’s Drug

    The drug industry, patient advocates, and congressional Republicans have all attacked federal officials’ decision to decline routine Medicare coverage for a controversial Alzheimer’s drug. They’ve gone as far as to accuse them of tacit racism, ageism, and discrimination against the disabled — and hinted at a lawsuit — over the decision to pay only for […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: FDA Takes Center Stage

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The FDA is still lacking a Senate-confirmed leader, but the agency is at the center of several major policy battles. Lawmakers this year must renew the bill […]

  • Unity Bio slashes headcount in half to save cash ahead of eye drug readouts

    Unity Biotechnology’s corporate restructuring is a cash-saving move that allows the company to focus resources on its lead program, a drug in Phase 2 testing for diabetic macular edema and wet age-related macular degeneration. Unity previously restructured in 2020 following the Phase 2 failure of its osteoarthritis drug.

  • In California Nursing Homes, Omicron Is Bad, but So Is the Isolation

    Dina Halperin had been cooped up alone for three weeks in her nursing home room after her two unvaccinated roommates were moved out at the onset of the omicron surge. “I’m frustrated,” she said, “and so many of the nursing staff are burned out or just plain tired.” The situation wasn’t terrifying, as it was […]

  • Medicare Patients Win the Right to Appeal Gap in Nursing Home Coverage

    A three-judge federal appeals court panel in Connecticut has likely ended an 11-year fight against a frustrating and confusing rule that left hundreds of thousands of Medicare beneficiaries without coverage for nursing home care, and no way to challenge a denial. The Jan. 25 ruling, which came in response to a 2011 class-action lawsuit eventually […]

  • Readers and Tweeters: Give Nurse Practitioners Their Due

    Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names. The latest installment in: Hospital Billing is Totally Ridiculous. See also: High Deductibles are Bad — Rachel Patterson (@racheljpat) January 24, 2022 — Rachel Patterson, Washington, D.C. In Respect to Nurse […]

  • ¿Por qué Medicare no paga por las pruebas caseras para COVID?

    ¿Qué grupo es especialmente vulnerable a los estragos de covid, incluso si está vacunado por completo y con sus refuerzos? Los adultos mayores. Sin embargo, ¿quién tendrá más dificultades para obtener pruebas caseras gratuitas para covid según el plan de la administración Biden? Sí, los adultos mayores. Desde el 15 de enero, las personas con […]

  • Why Medicare Doesn’t Pay for Rapid At-Home Covid Tests

    What group is especially vulnerable to the ravages of covid-19 even if fully vaccinated and boosted? Seniors. And who will have an especially tough time getting free at-home covid tests under the Biden administration’s plan? Yes, seniors. As of Jan. 15, private insurers will cover the cost of eight at-home rapid covid tests each month […]

  • Families Complain as States Require Covid Testing for Nursing Home Visits

    As covid-19 cases rise again in nursing homes, a few states have begun requiring visitors to present proof that they’re not infected before entering facilities, stoking frustration and dismay among family members. Officials in California, New York, and Rhode Island say new covid testing requirements are necessary to protect residents — an enormously vulnerable population […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Dealing With Drug Prices

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Medicare officials have preliminarily decided to restrict reimbursement for Aduhelm, the controversial Alzheimer’s drug, to only patients participating in approved clinical trials. The FDA approved the drug […]

  • Black-Owned Hospice Seeks to Bring Greater Ease in Dying to Black Families

    This time, it didn’t take much persuading for Mary Murphy to embrace home hospice. When her mother was dying from Alzheimer’s disease in 2020, she had been reluctant until she saw what a help it was. So when her husband, Willie, neared the end of his life, she embraced hospice again. The Murphys’ house in […]

  • A New Paradigm Is Needed: Top Experts Question the Value of Advance Care Planning

    For decades, Americans have been urged to fill out documents specifying their end-of-life wishes before becoming terminally ill — living wills, do-not-resuscitate orders, and other written materials expressing treatment preferences. Now, a group of prominent experts is saying those efforts should stop because they haven’t improved end-of-life care. “Decades of research demonstrate advance care planning […]

  • Nursing Homes Bleed Staff as Amazon Lures Low-Wage Workers With Prime Packages

    ERLANGER, Ky. — The sleek corporate offices of one of Amazon’s air freight contractors looms over Villaspring of Erlanger, a stately nursing home perched on a hillside in this Cincinnati suburb. Amazon Prime Air cargo planes departing from a recently opened Amazon Air Hub roar overhead. Its Prime semi-trucks speed along the highway, rumbling the […]

  • After ‘Truly Appalling’ Death Toll in Nursing Homes, California Rethinks Their Funding

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — About 1 in 8 Californians who have died of covid lived in a nursing home. They were among the state’s most frail residents: nearly 9,400 mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles whom Californians entrusted to a nursing home’s care. An additional 56,275 confirmed covid cases among nursing home residents weren’t fatal. “The […]

  • Wartime Trauma Hits Close to Home for Scholar of Dementia

    Oanh Meyer was a postdoctoral fellow studying the experiences of caregivers for those with dementia in 2012 when her research took a very personal turn. That year, her mother, a Vietnamese immigrant, began to show signs of dementia and paranoia that seemed to be linked to the trauma she had suffered during the long war […]

  • New California Law Eases Aid-in-Dying Process

    During her three-year battle with breast cancer, my wife, Leslie, graciously endured multiple rounds of horrifically toxic treatment to eke out more time with our two young children. But after 18 cancer-free months, the disease returned with a vengeance in June 2003. It fractured her bones and invaded her spinal canal, bathing her brain in […]

  • For Older Adults, Smelling the Roses May Be More Difficult

    The reports from covid-19 patients are disconcerting. Only a few hours before, they were enjoying a cup of pungent coffee or the fragrance of flowers in a garden. Then, as if a switch had been flipped, those smells disappeared. Young and old alike are affected — more than 80% to 90% of those diagnosed with […]

  • When the Eye on Older Patients Is a Camera

    In the middle of a rainy Michigan night, 88-year-old Dian Wurdock walked out the front door of her son’s home in Grand Rapids, barefoot and coatless. Her destination was unknown even to herself. Wurdock was several years into a dementia diagnosis that turned out to be Alzheimer’s disease. By luck, her son woke up and […]

  • Researcher: Medicare Advantage Plans Costing Billions More Than They Should

    Switching seniors to Medicare Advantage plans has cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars more than keeping them in original Medicare, a cost that has exploded since 2018 and is likely to rise even higher, new research has found. Richard Kronick, a former federal health policy researcher and a professor at the University of California-San […]

  • ‘Covid Hit Us Over the Head With a Two-by-Four’: Addressing Ageism With Urgency

    Earlier this year, the World Health Organization announced a global campaign to combat ageism — discrimination against older adults that is pervasive and harmful but often unrecognized. “We must change the narrative around age and ageing” and “adopt strategies to counter” ageist attitudes and behaviors, WHO concluded in a major report accompanying the campaign. Several […]

  • Democrats Plan to Expand Medicare Hearing Benefits. What Can Consumers Expect?

    President Joe Biden’s mammoth domestic spending bill would add hearing benefits to the traditional Medicare program — one of three major new benefits Democrats had sought. The Biden administration appears to have fallen short of its ambition to expand dental and vision along with hearing benefits. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and other progressives have long […]

  • Few Acute Care Hospitals Escaped Readmissions Penalties

    Preventable rehospitalization of the nation’s older adults has proved a persistent health and financial challenge for the U.S., costing Medicare hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Various analyses have found many readmissions within a month of discharge might have been avoided through better care and more attention paid to the patients after they left […]

  • Nursing Home Residents Overlooked in Scramble for Covid Antibody Treatments

    Of the dozens of patients Dr. Jim Yates has treated for covid-19 at his long-term care center in rural Alabama, this one made him especially nervous. The 60-year-old man, who had been fully vaccinated, was diagnosed with a breakthrough infection in late September. Almost immediately, he required supplemental oxygen, and lung exams showed ominous signs […]

  • Democrats’ Plans to Expand Medicare Benefits Put Pinch on Advantage Plans’ Funding

    “Did you think we wouldn’t notice?” an older woman says, speaking into the camera. “You thought you could sneak this through?” an older man later adds. Others warn that Washington is “messing with” their Medicare Advantage health coverage and trying to raise their premiums. But the television ad, paid for by Better Medicare Alliance, a […]

  • ‘They Treat Me Like I’m Old and Stupid’: Seniors Decry Health Providers’ Age Bias

    Joanne Whitney, 84, a retired associate clinical professor of pharmacy at the University of California-San Francisco, often feels devalued when interacting with health care providers. There was the time several years ago when she told an emergency room doctor that the antibiotic he wanted to prescribe wouldn’t counteract the kind of urinary tract infection she […]

  • The Public Backs Medicare Rx Price Negotiation Even After Hearing Both Sides’ Views

    As Congress debates cutting prescription drug costs, a poll released Tuesday found the vast majority of adults — regardless of their political party or age — support letting the federal government negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries and those in private health insurance plans. The argument that pharmaceutical companies need to charge high prices to […]

  • Organ Centers to Transplant Patients: Get a Covid Shot or Move Down on Waitlist

    A Colorado kidney transplant candidate who was bumped to inactive status for failing to get a covid-19 vaccine has become the most public example of an argument roiling the nation’s more than 250 organ transplant centers. Across the country, growing numbers of transplant programs have chosen to either bar patients who refuse to take the […]

  • California Vaccine Mandate Extends to Aides for People With Disabilities

    Workers in adult and senior care facilities and in-home aides have been added to the list of California health workers who must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Those who work directly with people with disabilities — such as employees paid through the state’s regional center network, aides contracted by agencies, and in-home support service […]

  • Alzheimer’s Drug Targets People With Mild Cognitive Impairment. What Does That Mean?

    The approval of a controversial new drug for Alzheimer’s disease, Aduhelm, is shining a spotlight on mild cognitive impairment — problems with memory, attention, language or other cognitive tasks that exceed changes expected with normal aging. After initially indicating that Aduhelm could be prescribed to anyone with dementia, the Food and Drug Administration now specifies […]

  • An Ad’s Charge That Price Haggling Would ‘Swipe $500 Billion From Medicare’ Is Incorrect

    “These guys [insurance companies and Washington bureaucrats] are working together to swipe $500 billion from Medicare to pay for Pelosi and Schumer’s out-of-control spending spree.” Video advertisement from the 60 Plus American Association of Senior Citizens The advertisement opens with a doctor sitting across from his patient and holding a prescription drug pill bottle. “You […]

  • The Checkup Is in the Mail? Soliciting Letter Carriers to Help Deliver Health Care

    Two of America’s toughest problems can be tempered with one solution. The baby boom generation is graying, creating an ever-larger population of older people, many isolated, whose needs the nation is ill equipped to meet or even monitor. Meanwhile, the U.S. Postal Service has gone $160 billion into debt, in part as digital communications have […]

  • Readers and Tweeters Ponder Vaccines and Points of Fairness

    Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names. Higher Insurance Rates for the Unvaccinated? Snuff Out That Idea This is about Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal’s comments on “All In With Chris Hayes” (“Analysis: Don’t Want a Vaccine? Be Prepared to […]

  • After Pandemic Ravaged Nursing Homes, New State Laws Protect Residents

    When the coronavirus hit Martha Leland’s Connecticut nursing home last year, she and dozens of other residents contracted the disease while the facility was on lockdown. Twenty-eight residents died, including her roommate. “The impact of not having friends and family come in and see us for a year was totally devastating,” she said. “And then, […]

  • Biden’s No-Jab-No-Job Order Creates Quandary for Nursing Homes

    President Joe Biden’s edict that nursing homes must ensure their workers are vaccinated against covid-19 presents a challenge for an industry struggling to entice its lowest-paid workers to get shots without driving them to seek employment elsewhere. Although 83% of residents in the average nursing facility are vaccinated, only 61% of a home’s workers are […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Booster Time

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. As covid-19 cases in the U.S. continue to rise, the Biden administration is countering with new strategies. The latest efforts include preparing for vaccine boosters starting this […]

  • Why Doesn’t Medicare Cover Services So Many Seniors Need?

    Sorry, Joe Namath. Despite what you keep saying in those TV ads, under Medicare, seniors are not “entitled to eliminate copays and get dental care, dentures, eyeglasses, prescription drug coverage, in-home aides, unlimited transportation and home-delivered meals, all at no additional cost.” But if Democratic lawmakers in Congress have their say, seniors could soon be […]

  • ‘Wisdom and Fear’ Lead 90% of U.S. Seniors to Covid Vaccines

    Amid the latest surge in covid-19 cases and hospitalizations, the United States on Tuesday hit a milestone that some thought was unattainable: 90% of people 65 and older are at least partly vaccinated against the disease. That’s more than 49 million seniors vaccinated. Overall, 70% of adults have been inoculated, at least partly, and nearly […]

  • Pfizer Court Fight Could Legalize Medicare Copays and Unleash ‘Gold Rush’ in Sales

    Three years ago, pharma giant Pfizer paid $24 million to settle federal allegations that it was paying kickbacks and inflating sales by reimbursing Medicare patients for out-of-pocket medication costs. By making prohibitively expensive medicine essentially free for patients, the company induced them to use Pfizer drugs even as the price of one of those medicines, […]

  • A Chilling Cure: Facing Killer Heat, ERs Use Body Bags to Save Lives

    As a deadly heat wave scorched the Pacific Northwest last month, overwhelming hospital emergency rooms in a region unaccustomed to triple-digit temperatures, doctors resorted to a grim but practical tool to save lives: human body bags filled with ice and water. Officials at hospitals in Seattle and Renton, Washington, said that as more people arrived […]

  • AI-driven ‘clock’ predicts aging-related illness and mortality

    Scientists in the US have developed an artificial intelligence-powered ‘clock’ that can estimate a person’s chance of developing an illness or dying based on the pattern of cytokines in their blood. The “inflammatory age” or iAge clock – described in the journal Nature Aging – uses a snapshot of the level of chronic inflammation in […]

  • Teen Volunteers Get a Foot in the Door for Nursing Home Careers

    Jasmine De Moya, 17, has dreamed for years of working in the medical field, and she yearned to spend time with older people, missing her grandparents, who live in the Dominican Republic. A program sponsored by the New Jewish Home health system in New York City that combines volunteering and free training for entry-level health […]

  • Why We May Never Know Whether the $56,000-a-Year Alzheimer’s Drug Actually Works

    The Food and Drug Administration’s approval in June of a drug purporting to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease was widely celebrated, but it also touched off alarms. There were worries in the scientific community about the drug’s mixed results in studies — the FDA’s own expert advisory panel was nearly unanimous in opposing its […]

  • Doctors Weigh Pros and Cons of Prescribing Hot-Button Alzheimer’s Drug

    As physicians and health policy experts debate the merits of Aduhelm, the first new drug for Alzheimer’s disease approved in 18 years, patients want to know: “Will this medication help me — and how much?” Doctors explaining the pros and cons of Aduhelm won’t have a definitive answer. “On an individual basis, it will be […]

  • Paying Billions for Controversial Alzheimer’s Drug? How About Funding This Instead?

    If you could invest $56 billion each year in improving health care for older adults, how would you spend it? On a hugely expensive medication with questionable efficacy — or something else? This isn’t an abstract question. Aduhelm, a new Alzheimer’s drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration last month, could be prescribed to […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Un-Trumping the ACA

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Biden administration this week proposed a series of changes aimed at boosting insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, undoing changes made by the Trump administration […]

  • Desperate for Home Care, Seniors Often Wait Months With Workers in Short Supply

    CASTINE, Maine — For years, Louise Shackett has had trouble walking or standing for long periods, making it difficult for her to clean her house in southeastern Maine or do laundry. Shackett, 80, no longer drives, which makes it hard to get to the grocery store or doctor. Her low income, though, qualifies her for […]

  • The Hard Realities of a ‘No Jab, No Job’ Mandate for Health Care Workers

    Christopher Richmond keeps a running tab on how many workers at the ManorCare skilled nursing facility he manages in western Pennsylvania have rolled up their sleeves for a covid-19 vaccine. Although residents were eager for the shots this year, he’s counted only about 3 in 4 workers vaccinated at any one time. The excuses, among […]

  • Unvaccinated, Homebound and Now Hospitalized With Covid in New York City

    Dr. Leora Horwitz treats fewer and fewer covid patients at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. Still, she thinks there are too many. And they almost all have something in common. “I’ve only had one patient who was vaccinated, and he was being treated for cancer with chemotherapy,” she said, reflecting recent research […]

  • Violent Colorado Arrest Puts Spotlight on How Police Treat Disabled People

    Nearly a year after police officers in Loveland, Colorado, injured an elderly woman with dementia and then laughed at footage of her arrest, two of those officers are facing criminal charges while the rest of the department undergoes additional training. The fallout has drawn national attention to a problem that experts say is widespread across […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Our 200th Episode!

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Food and Drug Administration found itself in the hot seat this week when it approved a controversial new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease with scant evidence […]

  • Expanding Insurance Coverage Is Top Priority for New Medicare-Medicaid Chief

    The new head of the federal agency that oversees health benefits for nearly 150 million Americans and $1 trillion in federal spending said in one of her first interviews that her top priorities will be broadening insurance coverage and ensuring health equity. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. “We’ve seen through the […]

  • Readers and Tweeters React to Racism, Inequities in Health Care

    Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names. A Harrowing Tale of Racism I liked the article “The Making of Reluctant Activists: A Police Shooting in a Hospital Forces One Family to Rethink American Justice” (May 10). As a […]

  • Caring for an Aging Nation

    USE OUR CONTENT This story can republished for free. Please contact [email protected] for embed codes. Table of Contents A Variety of Services Booming Number of Seniors The Cost of Long-Term Care Services The Physical – and Financial – Burden The $61 Billion Price Tag Health care for the nation’s seniors looms large as the baby-boom […]

  • Is Your Living Room the Future of Hospital Care?

    Major hospital systems are betting big money that the future of hospital care looks a lot like the inside of patients’ homes. This story also ran on Fortune. It can be republished for free. Hospital-level care at home — some of it provided over the internet — is poised to grow after more than a […]

  • Biden Boasts About Equitable Senior Vaccination Rate by Race Without Data to Back It Up

    “There’s virtually no difference between white, Black, Hispanic, Asian American,” referring to vaccination rates among Americans 65 and up. President Joe Biden, May 3 During May 3 remarks on the American Families Plan, President Joe Biden boasted that there was not much disparity in the vaccination rates for white Americans and Americans of color who […]

  • Trouble Managing Money May Be an Early Sign of Dementia

    After Maria Turner’s minivan was totaled in an accident a dozen years ago, she grew impatient waiting for the insurance company to process the claim. One night, she saw a red pickup truck on eBay for $20,000. She thought it was just what she needed. She clicked “buy it now” and went to bed. The […]

  • The Vulnerable Homebound Are Left Behind on Vaccination

    It was April, more than three months into the vaccination campaign against covid-19, and Jim Freeman, 83, still had not gotten his first dose. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. Freeman had been eligible for months as part of the 75-and-older target group deemed most vulnerable to death and serious illness in […]

  • Covid Forces Cohousing Communities to Examine Shared Values and Relationships

    Tensions were running high at PDX Commons, a cohousing community for adults 55 and older in Portland, Oregon. Several people wanted to keep visitors off-site until all 35 residents were vaccinated. Others wanted to open to family and friends for the first time in a year. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. […]

  • Biden Seeks $400 Billion to Buttress Long-Term Care. A Look at What’s at Stake.

    There’s widespread agreement that it’s important to help older adults and people with disabilities remain independent as long as possible. But are we prepared to do what’s necessary, as a nation, to make this possible? This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. That’s the challenge President Joe Biden has put […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Health Care as Infrastructure

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. Health care makes some surprising appearances in President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan, even though more health proposals are expected in a second proposal later this month. The bill that would help rebuild roads, bridges and broadband capabilities also includes $400 billion to help […]

  • Helpful Foods to Support People with Autism

    The sulforaphane found in five cents’ worth of broccoli sprouts has been shown to benefit autism in a way no drug ever has in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. You may remember my series of videos, which includes Prevent Cancer from Going on TOR, about target of rapamycin (TOR), the engine-of-aging enzyme. Kids with autism […]

  • Covid Cases Plummet 83% Among Nursing Home Staffers Despite Vaccine Hesitancy

    Joan Phillips, a certified nursing assistant in a Florida nursing home, loved her job but dreaded the danger of going to work in the pandemic. When vaccines became available in December, she jumped at the chance to get one. Months later, it appears that danger has faded. After the rollout of covid vaccines, the number […]

  • Texas Winter Storm Exposes Gaps in Senior Living Oversight

    HOUSTON — When the big, red and extremely loud fire alarm went off in Maria Skladzien’s apartment, the 74-year-old ventured into the hallway with fellow residents of her Houston-area senior living community. The brutal winter storm that swept through Texas had knocked out power, which, in turn, disrupted water to the four-story building. The blaring […]

  • Behind The Byline: Reporting Road Trip

    KHN has never been busier ― and health coverage has never been more vital. The Behind The Byline series on YouTube and Instagram TV offers an insider’s view. Journalists and producers from across KHN’s newsrooms take you behind the scenes in these bite-size videos to show the ways they are following the story, connecting with […]

  • Connecticut Is Doling Out Vaccines Based Strictly on Age. It’s Simpler, but Is it Fair?

    With covid vaccines expected to remain scarce into early spring, Connecticut has scrapped its complicated plans to prioritize immunizations for people under 65 with certain chronic conditions and front-line workers. Instead, the state will primarily base eligibility on age. Gov. Ned Lamont pointed to statistics showing the risk of death and hospitalization from covid-19 rises […]

  • Journalists Weigh In on Biden’s HHS Pick

    KHN senior correspondent Noam Levey discussed Xavier Becerra’s nomination to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with KQED’s “Forum” on Tuesday. Click here to hear Levey on KQED Read “‘It’s a Minefield’: Biden Health Pick Must Tread Carefully on Abortion and Family Planning” by Levey and California Healthline correspondent Rachel Bluth KHN […]

  • Countless Homebound Patients Still Wait for Covid Vaccine Despite Seniors’ Priority

    This story also ran on CNN. It can be republished for free. Opening another front in the nation’s response to the pandemic, medical centers and other health organizations have begun sending doctors and nurses to apartment buildings and private homes to vaccinate homebound seniors. Boston Medical Center, which runs the oldest in-home medical service in […]

  • Medicare Cuts Payment to 774 Hospitals Over Patient Complications

    Use Our Content It can be republished for free. The federal government has penalized 774 hospitals for having the highest rates of patient infections or other potentially avoidable medical complications. Those hospitals, which include some of the nation’s marquee medical centers, will lose 1% of their Medicare payments over 12 months. The penalties, based on […]

  • Companies Pan for Marketing Gold in Vaccines

    This story also ran on NBC News. It can be republished for free. For a decade, Jennifer Crow has taken care of her elderly parents, who have multiple sclerosis. After her father had a stroke in December, the family got serious in its conversations with a retirement community — and learned that one service it […]

  • California Aims to Address the ‘Urgent’ Needs of Older Residents. But Will Its Plan Work?

    USE OUR CONTENT It can be republished for free. Even as the pandemic derailed some of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s biggest health care proposals, such as lowering prescription drug costs, it crystallized another: the pressing need to address California’s rapidly aging population. Already nine months into their work when Newsom issued the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home […]

  • ‘Cruel’ Digital Race For Vaccines Leaves Many Seniors Behind

    With millions of older Americans eligible for covid-19 vaccines and limited supplies, many continue to describe a frantic and frustrating search to secure a shot, beset by uncertainty and difficulty.  This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. The efforts to vaccinate people 65 and older have strained under the enormous […]

  • Adultos mayores sin familia o amigos quedan atrás en la carrera por vacunarse

    Adultos mayores hispanos quedan rezagados en la carrera por vacunarse contra covid Está surgiendo una brecha entre los que tienen recursos y los que no, a medida que los adultos mayores de todo el país luchan por recibir la vacuna contra covid-19. Las personas mayores con familiares o amigos que los ayudan están consiguiendo citas […]

  • Older Adults Without Family or Friends Lag in Race to Get Vaccines

    A divide between “haves” and “have-nots” is emerging as older adults across the country struggle to get covid-19 vaccines. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. Seniors with family members or friends to help them are getting vaccine appointments, even if it takes days to secure them. Those without reliable social supports are […]

  • At Colorado’s Rural Edges, Vaccines Help Assisted Living Homes Crack Open the Doors

    Bingo is back in the dining room. In-person visits have returned, too, though with masks and plexiglass. The Haven Assisted Living Facility’s residents are even planning a field trip for a private movie screening once they’ve all gotten their second round of covid-19 vaccines. Such changes are small but meaningful to residents in the Hayden, […]

  • If I Have Cancer, Dementia or MS, Should I Get the Covid Vaccine?

    As public demand grows for limited supplies of covid-19 vaccines, questions remain about the vaccines’ appropriateness for older adults with various illnesses. Among them are cancer patients receiving active treatment, dementia patients near the end of their lives and people with autoimmune conditions. Recently, a number of readers have asked me whether older relatives with […]

  • What we’re expecting in 2021, and beyond…

    From telehealth to digital trials, customer engagement to healthcare data, Healthware Group outlines the key trends that are expected to shake up digital health this year. Well, it goes without saying, COVID-19 has resulted in a rapid adoption of digital technologies across all industries, most notably in healthcare. There are several important aspects to these […]

  • Covid Vaccine Rollout Leaves Most Older Adults Confused Where to Get Shots

    Use Our Content It can be republished for free. Over a month into a massive vaccination program, most older Americans report they don’t know where or when they can get inoculated for covid-19, according to a poll released Friday. Nearly 6 in 10 people 65 and older who have not yet gotten a shot said […]

  • Vaccination Disarray Leaves Seniors Confused About When They Can Get a Shot

    Use Our Content It can be republished for free. For weeks, doctors’ phones have been ringing off the hook with anxious older patients on the other end of the line. “When can I get a covid-19 vaccine?” these patients want to know. “And where?” Frustration and confusion are rampant as states and counties begin to […]

  • Are You Old Enough to Get Vaccinated? In Tennessee, They’re Using the Honor System

    In December, all states began vaccinating only health care workers and residents and staffers of nursing homes in the “phase 1A” priority group. But, since the new year began, some states have also started giving shots to — or booking appointments for — other categories of seniors and essential workers. As states widen eligibility requirements […]

  • What Seniors Can Expect When COVID Vaccines Begin to Roll Out

    Vaccines that protect against COVID-19 are on the way. What should older adults expect? The first candidates, from Pfizer and Moderna, could arrive before Christmas, according to Alex Azar, who heads the Department of Health and Human Services. Both vaccines are notably effective in preventing illness due to the coronavirus, according to information released by […]

  • Medicare Open Enrollment Is Complicated. Here’s How to Get Good Advice.

    If you’ve been watching TV lately, you may have seen actor Danny Glover or Joe Namath, the 77-year-old NFL legend, urging you to call an 800 number to get fabulous extra benefits from Medicare. There are plenty of other Medicare ads, too, many set against a red-white-and-blue background meant to suggest officialdom — though if […]

  • These Front-Line Workers Could Have Retired. They Risked Their Lives Instead.

    Sonia Brown’s husband died on June 10. Two weeks later, the 65-year-old registered nurse was back at work. Her husband’s medical bills and a car payment loomed over her head. “She wanted to make sure all those things were taken care of before she retired,” her son David said. David and his sister begged her […]

  • Long-Term Care Workers, Grieving and Under Siege, Brace for COVID’s Next Round

    In the middle of the night, Stefania Silvestri lies in bed remembering her elderly patients’ cries. “Help me.” “Please don’t leave me.” “I need my family.” Months of caring for older adults in a Rhode Island nursing home ravaged by COVID-19 have taken a steep toll on Silvestri, 37, a registered nurse. She can’t sleep, […]

  • Prayers and Grief Counseling After COVID: Trying to Aid Healing in Long-Term Care

    A tidal wave of grief and loss has rolled through long-term care facilities as the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 91,000 residents and staffers — nearly 40% of recorded COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. And it’s not over: Facilities are bracing for further shocks as coronavirus cases rise across the country. Workers are already […]

  • Nursing Homes Still See Dangerously Long Waits for COVID Test Results

    This story also ran on CNN. It can be republished for free. Nursing homes are still taking days to get back COVID-19 test results as many shun the Trump administration’s central strategy to limit the spread of the virus among old and sick Americans. In late summer, federal officials began distributing to nursing homes millions […]

  • Seniors Form COVID Pods to Ward Off Isolation This Winter

    Over the past month, Dr. Richard Besdine and his wife have been discussing whether to see family and friends indoors this fall and winter. He thinks they should, so long as people have been taking strict precautions during the coronavirus pandemic. She’s not convinced it’s safe, given the heightened risk of viral transmission in indoor […]

  • They Work in Several Nursing Homes to Eke Out a Living, Possibly Spreading the Virus

    To make ends meet, Martha Tapia works 64 hours a week at two Orange County, California, nursing homes. She is one of thousands of certified nursing assistants who perform the intimate and physical work of bathing, dressing and feeding the nation’s fragile elderly. “We do everything for them. Everything you do for yourself, you have […]

  • Despite COVID Concerns, Teams Venture Into Nursing Homes to Get Out the Vote

    RALEIGH, N.C. — Each time Beverly Tucker visited a nursing home or long-term care facility this fall, she brought along a rolling tote bag packed with supplies from the Durham County Board of Elections. Boxes of face masks and face shields. Latex gloves and cleaning wipes. Hand sanitizer from Mystic Farm & Distillery, a local […]

  • Older COVID Patients Battle ‘Brain Fog,’ Weakness and Emotional Turmoil

    “Lord, give me back my memory.” For months, as Marilyn Walters has struggled to recover from COVID-19, she has repeated this prayer day and night. Like other older adults who’ve become critically ill from the coronavirus, Walters, 65, describes what she calls “brain fog” — difficulty putting thoughts together, problems with concentration, the inability to […]

  • Pandemic Erects Barriers for Prized Bloc of Voters in Nursing Homes, Senior Facilities

    The convergence of the coronavirus pandemic and election season has complicated this year’s voting for residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other long-term care centers. Many seniors who need help to get or fill out their ballots may be stymied by shifting rules about family visits. Voting procedures — whether in person or […]

  • How to Treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) with Diet

    Given the role that oxidant free radicals are thought to play in aging and disease, one reason fruits and vegetables may be so good for us is that they contain antioxidant compounds. As you can see at 0:20 in my video Benefits of Marjoram for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), different vegetables and herbs have different […]

  • Lifetime Experiences Help Older Adults Build Resilience to Pandemic Trauma

    Older adults are especially vulnerable physically during the coronavirus pandemic. But they’re also notably resilient psychologically, calling upon a lifetime of experience and perspective to help them through difficult times. New research calls attention to this little-remarked-upon resilience as well as significant challenges for older adults as the pandemic stretches on. It shows that many […]

  • Topical Lemon Balm Lotion for Alzheimer’s

    Improving cognitive performance with aromatherapy in young, healthy volunteers is one thing, but how about where it really matters? As I discuss in my video Best Aromatherapy Herb for Alzheimer’s, a group of Japanese researchers had a pie-in-the-sky notion that certain smells could lead to “nerve rebirth” in Alzheimer’s patients. Twenty years ago, even simply […]

  • Is Cuomo Directive to Blame for Nursing Home COVID Deaths, as US Official Claims?

    On the first night of the Democratic National Convention, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was among the first in a weeklong parade of speakers to issue scathing critiques of the Trump administration’s coronavirus response. Cuomo’s criticisms drew a quick reply in a tweet from Michael Caputo, an assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department […]

  • Trump Is Sending Fast, Cheap COVID Tests to Nursing Homes — But There’s a Hitch

    The Trump administration’s latest effort to use COVID-19 rapid tests — touted by one senior official as a “turning point” in arresting the coronavirus’s spread within nursing homes — is running into roadblocks likely to limit how widely they’ll be used. Federal officials are distributing point-of-care antigen tests — which are cheaper and faster than […]

  • We Put Off Planning, Until My Father-in-Law’s Medical Crisis Took Us by Surprise

    Earlier this month, my husband picked up the phone and learned his 92-year-old father had been taken to the hospital that morning, feeling sick and short of breath. We were nearly 2,000 miles away, on a vacation in the mountains of southern Colorado. No, it wasn’t COVID-19. My father-in-law, Mel, who has diabetes, high blood […]

  • Isolation, Disruption and Confusion: Coping With Dementia During a Pandemic

    GARDENA, Calif. — Daisy Conant, 91, thrives off routine. One of her favorites is reading the newspaper with her morning coffee. But, lately, the news surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has been more agitating than pleasurable. “We’re dropping like flies,” she said one recent morning, throwing her hands up. “She gets fearful,” explained her grandson Erik […]

  • Bereaved Families Are ‘the Secondary Victims of COVID-19’

    Every day, the nation is reminded of COVID-19’s ongoing impact as new death counts are published. What is not well documented is the toll on family members. New research suggests the damage is enormous. For every person who dies of COVID-19, nine close family members are affected, researchers estimate based on complex demographic calculations and […]

  • Pandemic Hampers Reopening of Joint Replacement Gold Mine

    Dr. Ira Weintraub, a recently retired orthopedic surgeon who now works at a medical billing consultancy, saw a hip replacement bill for over $400,000 earlier this year. “The patient stayed in the hospital 17 days, which is only 17 times normal. The bill got paid,” mused Weintraub, chief medical officer of Portland, Oregon-based WellRithms, which […]

  • What Seniors Can Expect as Their New Normal in a Post-Vaccine World

    Imagine this scenario, perhaps a year or two in the future: An effective COVID-19 vaccine is routinely available and the world is moving forward. Life, however, will likely never be the same — particularly for people over 60. That is the conclusion of geriatric medical doctors, aging experts, futurists and industry specialists. Experts say that […]

  • Technology Divide Between Senior ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-Nots’ Roils Pandemic Response

    Family gatherings on Zoom and FaceTime. Online orders from grocery stores and pharmacies. Telehealth appointments with physicians. These have been lifesavers for many older adults staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic. But an unprecedented shift to virtual interactions has a downside: Large numbers of seniors are unable to participate. Among them are older adults […]

  • Decreasing Inflammation and Oxidation After Meals

    Within hours of eating an unhealthy meal, we can get a spike in inflammation, crippling our artery function, thickening our blood, and causing a fight-or-flight nerve response. Thankfully, there are foods we can eat at every meal to counter this reaction. Standard American meals rich in processed junk and meat and dairy lead to exaggerated […]

  • High Blood Pressure May Lead to Low Brain Volume

    Having hypertension in midlife (ages 40 through 60) is associated with elevated risk of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s dementia later in life, even more so than having the so-called Alzheimer’s gene. “It is clear that cerebral vascular disease”—that is, hardening of the arteries inside our brain—“and cognitive decline travel hand in hand,” something I’ve addressed […]

  • A Half Teaspoon of Dried Rosemary May Improve Cognitive Function

    In Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5, Ophelia notes that rosemary is for remembrance, an idea that goes back at least a few thousand years to the ancient Greeks, who claimed that rosemary “comforts the brain…sharpens understanding, restores lost memory, awakens the mind…” After all, “plants can be considered as chemical factories that manufacture all sorts of […]

  • Vitamin D Supplements for Increasing Aging Muscle Strength

    We have known for more than 400 years that muscle weakness is a common presenting symptom of vitamin D deficiency. Bones aren’t the only organs that respond to vitamin D—muscles do, too. However, as we age, our muscles lose vitamin D receptors, perhaps helping to explain the loss in muscle strength as we age. Indeed, […]