Quote of the Month
“I would also like to enter into dialogue with the many elderly persons who are a storehouse of wisdom forged by experience, and who seek in many ways, especially through volunteer work, to share their stories and their insights. I know that many of them are retired, but still active; they keep working to build up this land.” – Pope Francis’ remarks to Congress
Prevent Service Cuts in Consumer-Directed Programs
Last month, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a Department of Labor regulation governing home care services for people with disabilities and seniors that requires most home care workers to receive minimum wage and overtime pay. The Department of Labor has a website with resource information. The home care rule is expected to become effective in mid-October. This new rule may impact Medicaid “consumer-directed” programs in states that allow the person receiving services to hire his or her own worker and can direct the care the worker provides. Advocacy is needed to ensure each state implements this rule in a way that helps consumers and avoids adverse outcomes such as cuts to services or dismantling these programs.
The American Association of People with Disabilities, the Association of University Centers on Disability, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Justice in Aging, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, the National Council on Independent Living, and the National Disability Rights Network has issued Action Steps for Consumers and Advocates Regarding the Home Care Rule and an accompanying summary, Home Care Rule Advocacy Fact Sheet, to help with advocacy efforts.
Medicare Open Enrollment is Here!
Medicare open enrollment starts every year on Oct. 15, and it runs through Dec. 7. Medicare beneficiaries should review their coverage during this time. Since Medicare Advantage and Part D plans make changes to coverage and costs each year, staying with the same plan as most people tend to do may not be the best option. Plan information for 2016 should be available starting on October 1. Choices that consumers make during this open enrollment period will take effect on January 1 and will cover all of 2016 unless the beneficiary is eligible for a special enrollment period such as those who are also eligible for Medicaid. It’s important to consider the total costs of care including out-of-pocket costs like co-pays rather than simply looking at the monthly premium cost. For example, some Medicare Advantage plans with higher premiums may have lower deductibles and co-pays, resulting in lower costs for the year.
Medicare.gov has useful comparison tools to help in comparing plans. CARIE and other SHIP programs (known as APPRISE in PA) are a helpful free resource to help understand all options. Before contacting CARIE or another SHIP program, it’s best to have a list of all medications, including dosage information, as well as any providers that are important to be able to continue to use so the counselor can identify the best options. Open enrollment is always a very busy time of year so another helpful tip is to avoid waiting until the end of open enrollment, i.e., the first week of December to make initial contact. U.S. News and World Report posted an article, Choosing the Right Medicare Plan, which provides basic information. NCOA has updated itsMedicare Open Enrollment Guide to Mailings & Key Events for the 2016 Open Enrollment Period that is an excellent resource for professionals.
On June 1st, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) made a major announcement about a new initiative to pursue Managed Long-Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) in Pennsylvania. (Please see CARIE Connection archives, the June, August, and September editions for more background information.) Since this proposal will lead to a major system change in a short period of time, CARIE created a MLTSS fact sheet to help educate older adults about some of the changes and how they can participate in the planning process. Please help us educate consumers and their caregivers by distributing this flyer.
Pennsylvania released its Concept Paper for the Community HealthChoices (CHC) program on September 16, 2015 that briefly describes Governor Wolf’s proposed design for PA’s new MLTSS system and is soliciting comments through October 16. (Click here for the Concept Paper PowerPoint presentation slides.) The state plans to release an RFP in November 2015 with the first phase of implementation set to begin on January 1, 2017 in Southwestern PA. For more information, see Penn’s RegBlog article, Pennsylvania Seeks New Approach to Long-Term Medicaid Services.
To help advocates understand the proposal and prepare comments, CARIE is sponsoring a follow-up webinar with Eric Carlson, Directing Attorney for Justice in Aging, who will review the recently released Community HealthChoices Program Concept Paper. Registration is required and limited to the first 150 registrants. CARIE is not charging a fee for the webinar and you can listen for free through your computer’s speakers or a headset. However, if you need to call-in for the audio, please be aware that this is a toll call and you will incur any related charges on your phone bill. (You may also view the first webinar,Pennsylvania’s MLTSS Proposal: Key Considerations for Advocates, held on June 30, 2015. Click here for all of the webinar slides.) The proposed plan is on a fast track so it’s vital that advocates provide input to DHS about the proposal and timetable for implementation.
DHS has convened a Managed Long Term Services and Supports Subcommittee. If you’re interested in receiving MLTSS Subcommittee email communications distributed by DHS, visit the ListServ Archives page to update or register your email address. (You can choose to subscribe to whichever listserves you want to be on.)
Webinars and Videos
Under the auspices of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), an ad hoc committee will conduct a two-day workshop, Meeting the Dietary Needs of Older Adults: A Workshop, on October 28 and 29, in Washington, DC, about factors in the physical, social, and cultural environment that impact the ability of older adults to meet their daily dietary needs. The event will also be webcast.
MedPage Today posted Time to Get it Right at the End of Life: Differences between DNRs, ADs, and POLSTs illustrated in video parody. (Scroll down page for original video.)
The Fine Art of Balancing Protection with Self Determination is now archived and well worth listening to. Very useful information was presented including a new “PRACTICAL” model to avoid guardianship being released by the ABA at a conference later this year.
Just the Links
Consumer Reports posted an article, Lies, Secrets, and Scams: How to Prevent Elder Abuse.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Resources You Can Use webinar slides have been posted. This is a good resource for new or seasoned professionals.
The Bipartisan Policy Center – Health and Housing Task Force released report, America’s Growing Senior Population: Assessing the Dimensions of the Demographic Challenge.
ARCH released a new fact sheet, Fact Sheet 63. Respite for Caregivers of Veterans.
The Kaiser Family Foundation posted an issue brief, Serving Low-Income Seniors Where They Live: Medicaid’s Role in Providing Community-Based Long-Term Services and Supports.
The Kaiser Family Foundation created a new tool, Preventive Services Tracker. There are separate trackers for each condition including chronic conditions. The charts also provide links for each required service to explain more details. For more information, see their article on Preventive Services Covered by Private Health Plans Under the Affordable Care Act and the accompanying fact sheet.
Health Affairs issued a health policy brief, Rebalancing Medicaid Long-Term Services And Supports.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) documents that more than half of the global population aged 65 and above, representing 300 million people, is excluded from urgently needed long-term care in its report, LTC protection for older persons: A review of coverage deficits in 46 countries.
The Health Care Cost Institute released data that measure the economic performance of health care markets across the country.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) released its 2015 NHPCO’s Facts & Figures on Hospice Care in the U.S.
CMS created a new website that includes information and resources for employers to help Medicare-eligible employees and retirees understand Medicare.
The University of Pittsburgh’s Health Policy Institute (HPI) launched the Stern Center for Evidence-Based Policy and released of the Center’s first report, Addressing the Health Needs of an Aging America. Click here for the Executive Summary.
PCA is once again hosting the Regional Conference on Aging from Oct. 19 – 21. Click here for more information and to register.
Just for Fun
Pixabay has over 470,000 free photos, videos, vectors and art illustrations that can be used for free without attribution in most instances. “Finding free images of high quality is a tedious task – due to copyright issues, attribution requirements, or simply the lack of quality. This inspired us to create Pixabay – a repository for stunning public domain pictures. Your source for royalty free stock photos and copyright free vector graphics. You can use any Pixabay image without attribution in digital and printed form, even for commercial applications.”
For Philadelphia area folks – this is the last chance to get the 2015 Philly Fun Guide’s Funsavers Memberships and Subscriptions at 35-50% off. The sale ends on Friday, 10/2.
CARIE wants to express our thanks to the residents, donors, and volunteers who helped make this year’s Golden Games a successful event!
CARIE Connection Archives
Are looking for a past issue of CARIE Connection? Click here to access past newsletters.
Public Policy Meeting Announcement
The next Dorothy S. Washburn Legislative Committee meeting will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at CARIE’s office at Two Penn Center – Suite 1500. Here is the agenda. All are welcome. Hope you can join us. The remaining meeting dates for 2015 are November 5 and December 3.
As always, please contact me if you have any questions.
267-546-3438 or 1-800-356-3606, ext. 3438