ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 86

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 86 AUGUST 26, 2015 STATE Assembly to revisit “aid in dying” legislation in special session, over Governor Brown’s objection that it should be delayed until the regular session.  (Los Angeles Times, August 19, 2015.) HEALTH Access reports AB 533,which would protect patients from “surprise” bills from out-of-network doctors when they did the right thing by going to an in-network hospital, imaging center, or other facility, passed out of the California State Assembly with only 1 dissenting vote. The California Medical Association and other physician groups continue to oppose the bill in print because of concerns over physician reimbursement.  (Health Access, August 17, 2015.) COMING soon…President Obama will sign legislation requiring hospitals to notify patients whether they are admitted or only under observation.  Only “admitted” patients can transfer to a nursing home after 3 days of hospitalization.  Meanwhile, hospitals are pressured by Medicare to observe rather than admit patients to reduce unnecessary hospitizations.  (The Kiplinger Letter, August 14, 2015.) “PINK pill” (“Viagra for women), approved by FDA amidst lauding by some women’s groups and lamenting by others.  Unlike Viagra, which is taken as needed (so to speak), “Addyi” will be taken daily.  Side effects could include sleepiness and fatigue, (Los Angeles Times, August 19, 2015), so don’t be surprised if, like ambien, Addyi users have auto accidents, although initially the evidence will be anecdotal. MAYOR Garcetti is pushing for Los Angeles to host the Olympics at a cost of $4.1 B.  The City Council must vote on this and the Mayor’s office only states they will have all papers “before” the vote.  No mention of the public having...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 85

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 85 AUGUST 19, 2015 PRESIDENT “JIMMY” CARTER, who put solar panels on the White House during his term (1976-1980), has liver cancer which has metastasized.  (KPCC radio, August 12, 2015.)  In recent years he has worked with Habitat for Humanity and The Carter Center he founded has monitored elections in various developing countries. 40 years ago he encouraged us to conserve energy; partly for that he was limited to 1 term.  His successor in office, Ronald Reagan, said “you’ve seen 1 redwood, you’ve seen ‘em all”.  He got 2 terms. MEDICARE will pay for Blincyto treatments, a new drug to treat aggressive leukemia, and which costs, $178,000 per course of treatment.  (New York Times, August 9, 2015.) How many school lunches is that?  How many doctor visits is that for the poor and elderly?  How many teachers?  With limited resources that must be fairly and properly allocated, can society afford Blincyto and its cohort of expensive drugs to perhaps extend a Medicare beneficiary’s life by 10 or 20 years?  What is the criteria for saying “that’s just too much”?  Medicare is not allowed to negotiate drug prices due to a law passed during the last Bush administration, but is pressured to buy expensive biotechnology drugs, whose price and cost to produce are unrelated. SENATORS Feinstein and Boxer propose to move homeless veterans in the region to housing at the VA complex in West L.A.  (Los Angeles Times, August 6, 2015.) EL NINO coming to California?  (AOL, August 13, 2015.)  Climatologists predict there may be a decade or more of wetter than usual weather  (KPCC, August 13, 2015.) NEW...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 84

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 84. AUGUST 12, 2015   BLUE Shield to pay $82.8 M to consumers and small employers on Obamacare because Blue Shield allegedly failed to spend 80% or more of customer premiums to provide health coverage for the insureds, instead of administrative expenses.  (Los Angeles Times, August 5, 2015.) FEDERAL law requires nursing homes to allow visits at any time by “immediate family or other relatives”, if the patient consents to the visit.  (Kiplinger’s Retirement Report, August, 2015.) The best way to ensure your loved ones get good nursing home care is to show up at different hours, even if you go every day.  For additional information, contact the National Senior Citizens Law Center or Bet Tzedek Legal Services, or your state’s long-term care ombudsman. REPORT from Public Policy Institute of California predicts by 2030 1 in 5 women over 75 will be childless, up from 12% in 2012.  Measures must be taken to keep these seniors in their homes as long as possible, partly because nursing homes are so expensive.  The senior population will also become more diverse as Latinos (up 170%), Asians (up 118%), and African-American (up 96%) populations increase faster than whites (up 53%). (KPPC.org, August 7, 2015.) In an earlier issue The Economist claimed that “caregiving” is going to be 1 of the 5 fastest occupations (along with 3 other low-skilled occupations and registered nurses).  Further, there will be more need for transport services, and computer aided medical services via Skype, Facetime, and other programs by which one can see and hear the other person in the conversation.  Computer coordinated devices that people can...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 83

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 83 AUGUST 5, 2015   FORREST BIRD, inventor of the Bird Respirator which has saved the lives of so many asthmatics, elderly and premature babies, died last Sunday at the age of 94.  (Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2015.) THE first Republican debate is on Fox News August 6th. MAYOR Garcetti is pursuing an Olympic bid for Los Angeles.  (Perhaps the public should be polled to see if they want to pay for this?) CONTROVERSY won’t go away for Hillary Clinton as Inspectors General for the intelligence communities allege “hundreds” of emails sent by Clinton on her personal computer contained classified material.  Clinton insists the material was not classified at the time.  (The WEEK, August 7, 2015.)  Although new rules were put into effect after Clinton left, NBC news reports that Vice-President Biden is giving more consideration to running.  Even if Clinton has done nothing wrong, by skimming so close to the edge of the law, she gives the appearance of maybe having done something wrong. 900,000 Americans get pneumonia – a lung infection –every year.  The bacteria that causes pneumococcal disease is spread by direct, person-to-person contact. The best way to prevent pneumonia is by getting the pneumococcal shot. Medicare Part B covers the shot and a second one 11 months after you got the first shot for anyone with Part B. You may be at a higher risk for these infections if you: -Are 65 or older -Have a chronic illness (like asthma, diabetes, or lung, heart, liver, or kidney disease) -Have a condition that weakens your immune system (like HIV, AIDS, or cancer) -Live in a...