ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 40

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 40 September 25, 2014 MOST COMMON symptom of heart attack is pain or discomfort in the center of the chest.  The pain can be mild or severe, continuous or intermittent.  Shortness of breath, discomfort in arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach can also be signs of heart attack.  (Inland Empire Heart and Vascular Institute, undated article.) COPIES OF ADVANCE HEALTH Directives should be carried in your car’s glove compartment as well as giving copies of them to your agents and doctor(s). DOMESTIC VIOLENCE is receiving renewed emphasis as each week seems accompanied by news that an NFL player abused his partner or child.  Calls for the resignation of Commissioner Goodell are increasing.  (The WEEK, September 26, 2014.) 30,000 Californians are experiencing enrollment delays and/or dropped coverage from Covered California.  (Los Angeles Times, September 22, 2014.) THE PERCENTAGE of uninsured 18 – 65 year olds has dropped from 18.5% in the second quarter of 2013 to 13.9% this year.  But if we want health care consumers to act more like purchasers we need to make prices more transparent.  (The Economist, September 20, 2014.) THE LOS ANGELES City Council has voted to investigate upgrading the 911 system to accept text messages.  (City News Service, September 22, 2014.) AT LEAST 82% of California is in a state of “exceptional” or “extreme” drought.  California is also the producer of 82% of the world’s almonds, each one of which requires 1.1 gallons of water.  (The WEEK, September 26, 2014.) THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE in New York demonstrated for action on climate change.  (New York Times, September 21, 2014.)  Concurrently, scientists report that global...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 39

    ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 39 September 18, 2014   MEDICARE revises proposed rule so that Medicare Part D will continue to pay for drugs unrelated to the terminal illness.  (AARP Bulletin, September, 2014), One friend related to me that her friend’s mother continued to receive cholesterol medication even though she was in hospice. POST-DEATH MEDI-CAL RECOVERY claims law enables California to recover costs advanced for the care of deceased Medi-Cal beneficiaries in certain cases.  Certain exemptions, as for surviving spouses and disabled children, may apply.  (H.E.L.P., 2014.)  If you face this claim you should retain the services of an attorney whose practice regularly includes Medi-Cal Recovery. H.E.L.P. also reminds you the Medicare Open Enrollment period for 2015 is from October 15, 2014, to December 7, 2014. KEN BURNS’ special series on the Roosevelts started September 14, 2014, on PBS.  (AARP Bulletin, September, 2014.) OBSERVATIONAL CARE is covered by Medicare, but does not count towards the 3 day hospital stay necessary for Medicare to pay for any subsequent skilled nursing facility care.  (AARP Bulletin, September, 2014.) THINGS MUST BE TOUGH as the Wall Street Journal reports that a family of 4 can have a hard time just getting by in Chicago on just $400,000 a year.  (Huffington Post, September 11, 2014.)  Necessary expenditures for this family apparently include $25,000 for vacations and $22,000 for eating out. AS OF 2010, 11% of “preretiree” (working or wanting to work??) families had educational debt, with an average balance of $28,000.  (New York Times, September 12, 2014.)  Good thing they don’t live in Chicago. YOUNG HOUSEHOLDS are better educated than ever before and have...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 38

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 38 September 11, 2014   END OF LIFE DISCUSSIONS between doctors and their patients may be paid for by Medicare as early as next year.  This became controversial when such discussions were attacked as “death panels” while the Affordable Care Act was being discussed.  (The New York Times, August 30, 2014.) 321,451 VETERANS currently receive tax free bonuses of up to $3,000 per month because they are “unemployable”.  56% of these veterans are over 65.  11% are over 80.  $17 billion could be saved if this benefit ended at full retirement age for social security benefits.  (Los Angeles Times, September 7, 2014.)  Yet the VA hasn’t enough money to hire doctors to care for the truly sick. COVERED CALIFORNIA (OBAMACARE) plans usually provide physicals and other preventive services at no or low costs.  (Los Angeles Times, September 7, 2014.) CALIFORNIA RESTAURANTS will soon be able to accommodate (wo)man’s best friend so long as the restaurant has an outdoor eating area, the dog stays on a leash, and local regulation approves.  (The Economist, August 30, 2014.) TEENS NEED 8,5 to 9.5 hours of sleep nightly, and up to 87% of teens are sleep deprived.  (The WEEK, September 12, 2014.)  Contrary to rumor, one cannot make up a sleep deficit by sleeping in on the weekends. MYSTERIOUS METHANE plumes along the east coast may increase water temperature and global warming.  Methane traps more heat than carbon dioxide, a primary culprit in global warming.  (The WEEK, September 12, 2014.) AMERICAN officials believe the Ebola virus is “mushrooming out of control” across West Africa.  (The Economist, September 6, 2014.) PERSONAL HEALTH...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 37, September 4, 2014

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 37 September 4, 2014   DOMESTIC VIOLENCE against a spouse will be considered by the court when awarding custody of the children during a divorce.  The court will “presume” that awarding custody to a violent parent is against the child’s “best interest”.  (Valley Lawyer, September, 2014.) MEDICARE will settle bills for hundreds of thousands of short term hospital stays for 68% of the amount claimed by the providers.  (New York Times, August 29, 2014.) NOVARTIS seeks approval of new drug combination it claims reduces the risk of dying from heart disease.  Known as LCZ696, the drug is a combination of two drugs. One is valsartan, the blockbuster heart drug that Novartis sells as Diovan. The other component inhibits the enzyme neprilysin, a new mechanism of action for a heart failure drug.  (New York Times, August 30, 2014.) FEDERAL GOVERNMENT agrees to change its manuals to show that beneficiaries’ eligibility for continued services depends not on the beneficiary’s “improvement” but whether the services are “reasonable and necessary” (such as, for example, to prevent further deterioration).  (National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys News, September 2014.) AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF RETIRED PEOPLE (AARP), has published “How to Maximize Your Social Security Benefits”, which can be found at www.aarp.org.  (Los Angeles Times, August 31, 2014.) MEDICARE 5-STAR rating system is overrated, with many facilities receiving more stars than they deserve.  (New York Times, August 25, 2014.) MAYOR GARCETTI is floating a plan to raise the minimum wage to $13.25 over three years, followed by annual boosts tied to inflation.  (Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2014.) IN 2010, authors Friedman (author of “The...