Many Medicare Advantage plans send caregivers to the homes of seniors periodically to help with housework and provide companionship. But the workers may also prod seniors into activities that boost the plans’ Medicare ratings and federal reimbursements.
Home health and hospice agencies are experiencing extreme worker shortages, which means they can’t provide services to all the patients seeking care.
Like almost everything else associated with the covid-19 pandemic, partisans are taking sides over whether vaccines should be mandated. Meanwhile, Democrats on Capitol Hill are still struggling to find compromise in their effort to expand health insurance and other social programs. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Jen Haberkorn of the Los Angeles Times and Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews best-selling author Beth Macy about her book “Dopesick,” and the new Hulu miniseries based on it.
Even though they perform the same intimate tasks as nursing home and hospital workers, in-home health aides initially were left out of California’s vaccine mandate. They must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 30.
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The plan from high-wire negotiations would affect five key areas of health, but there will be further tense negotiations among Democratic lawmakers about specifics of the $3.5 trillion in funding. And all Senate Democrats will need to be behind the plan, because Republicans oppose it.
The covid pandemic and President Joe Biden’s agenda — a planned $400 billion infusion of support — have focused national attention on the need to expand home- and community-based long-term care services designed to keep people out of nursing homes. But the need far outpaces the staffing.
Across the country, doctors report that those hospitalized with covid now are largely unvaccinated. New York City lags the rest of the nation in vaccinating people 65 and older, and its efforts to reach the homebound and disabled have been late in coming and disorganized.
The number of Americans 65 and older is expected to nearly double in the next 40 years. Finding a way to provide and pay for the long-term health services they need won’t be easy.
In the latest sign that in-home acute care is catching on, two big players — Kaiser Permanente and the Mayo Clinic — announced plans to collectively invest $100 million into the company Medically Home to help scale up their programs.