The American Medical Association is criticizing "a Senate plan for avoiding a proposed 21 percent cut in government payments to physicians who treat the elderly, calling the proposal a 'Band-Aid' measure, " Bloomberg/BusinessWeek reports. "The plan, part of an $80 billion job-creation proposal announced yesterday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, would block the Medicare payment cuts from taking place as scheduled March 1." But the AMA "urged a permanent repeal of Medicare's payment formula, which has led the government to propose annual fee cuts. While Congress has overridden the payment reductions each year so doctors would continue to treat elderly patients, the Chicago-based group backed a permanent fix in companion legislation to a proposed revamp of the U.S. health-care system, which now is stalled" (Thomas, 2/10). NPR's Shots health blog: "The problem stems from a glitch in the pay formula Congress created back in the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. For four years, doctors got larger increases than they probably should have.
Ms Mary Harney, T.D., Minister for Health and Children, published the Review of the Elder Abuse Service. The Minister welcomed the Report which found that "progress was most evident and pronounced in the health sector". The HSE Elder Abuse Service is comprised of a dedicated staffing structure throughout the country, unified data collection, national and regional oversight mechanisms, a research facility and awareness and training programmes. "While there is more work to be done in this area, we have a good foundation in place, and work has started on implementing the recommendations in the Report" the Minister noted. Ms Г ine Brady, T.D., Minister for Older People and Health Promotion stated that "over 1, 800 allegations of elder abuse were referred to the HSE in 2008, compared to over 900 in 2007". Paradoxically any increase in numbers is a good thing as this shows that the structures are in place and working. She re-iterated the Governments' commitment to tackle all instances of elder abuse.
The New York Times reports that "after spending 2009 emphasizing that a health care overhaul was his top domestic priority, Mr. Obama gave it much less prominence in his [State of the Union] address. He did not mention it until more than half an hour in - a sign of how imperiled the bill has become." "'If anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors and stop insurance company abuses, let me know, ' Mr. Obama said. ... Hearing that invitation, the House Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, raised his left hand high." Obama's speech did not chart a specific way forward (Pear and Herszenhorn, 1/28). The Hill notes Obama, however, "issued a clear defense of the comprehensive healthcare reform bills pending in Congress, vowing to keep pushing the legislation and asking lawmakers not to abandon the effort. ... 'Here's what I ask of Congress, ' Obama said.
In the first large-scale epidemiological study of elevator-related injuries in older adults in the United States, researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine and an Ohio State University colleague report in the January 2010 issue of The Journal of Trauma Injury, Infection, and Critical Care on the frequency, nature and opportunities for prevention of these injuries. Nearly 120 billion riders enter an estimated 750, 000 elevators annually in the U.S. Older adults are more likely to use elevators than stairs or escalators. While elevators are one of the safest forms of transportation, they can pose a real danger for the aging population. According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission data, approximately 44, 870 (about 2, 640 annually) elevator-related injuries, severe enough to require a visit to a hospital emergency department, occurred in individuals 65 years and older from 1990 to 2006. Hip fracture was the most common diagnosis for the 14 percent admitted to the hospital.
Geriatric Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation is a new bimonthly journal being launched in September 2010 by SAGE, the world's leading independent academic and professional publisher. Geriatric Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation will address a broad range of musculoskeletal disorders in the aging patient through peer-reviewed research reports and reviews, technical perspectives, case studies, and other evidence-based articles. "The fastest growing portion of our population is the segment over 65 years old. Most older individuals will experience an orthopaedic problem as they age, " said Stephen Kates, MD, the journal's founding Editor. Geriatric Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation will fill an important void in the medical literature and serve as home to scientific articles concerning older orthopaedic patients." Contributors and readers will include orthopaedic surgeons, geriatricians, physiatrists, anesthesiologists, and other physicians specializing in care of the older adult.
Accidental falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injury among Americans of all ages according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS). And among Americans age 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries. Among older adults, traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes nearly 50 percent of fall-related fatalities. In children ages 4 and younger, TBI is the primary cause of fall-related death and severe injury. In 2008, nearly 8.6 million Americans suffered accidental falls according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics indicate that an estimated 1.5 million people are treated for head injuries and nearly 12, 000 are treated for neck fractures every year at U.S. hospital emergency rooms. "Many head injuries occur at one's residence - whether it is a home or a nursing facility - and involve falling and bumping one's head, resulting in mild concussions to severe and even fatal TBIs, said Gail L.
Scientists have announced that they have identified for the first time definitive variants associated with biological ageing in humans. The team analyzed more than 500, 000 genetic variations across the entire human genome to identify the variants which are located near a gene called TERC. The study in Nature Genetics published today by researchers from the University of Leicester and King's College London, working with University of Groningen in the Netherlands, was funded by The Wellcome Trust and the British Heart Foundation. British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiology at the University of Leicester Professor Nilesh Samani, of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, who co-led the project explained that there are two forms of ageing - chronological ageing i.e. how old you are in years and biological ageing whereby the cells of some individuals are older (or younger) than suggested by their actual age. He said: "There is accumulating evidence that the risk of age-associated diseases including heart disease and some types of cancers are more closely related to biological rather than chronological age.
News outlets across the country report on state health policy developments. The Los Angeles Times : "At a time when nearly 7 million Californians are uninsured, state regulators are trying to rein in discount health and dental plans that officials say frequently overstate benefits, offer little if any savings and promise access to doctors who aren't part of the system. Some of the discounters fraudulently market themselves as insurance, while preying on the poor, the elderly and others who urgently need care, officials say. ... Plan executives bristle at such criticism. They say a few bad apples have tarnished an industry that offers reliable -- and relatively inexpensive -- services. Consumers, however, have lodged complaints against more than 150 unlicensed discount health and dental plans over the last four years, prompting the California Department of Managed Health Care to seek new licensing regulations" (Helfand, 2/8). WZZM, an ABC station in Michigan: "Health care experts say Michigan's expected nursing shortage may not be as bad as once thought.
In an article for Kaiser Health News and The Washington Post, Howard Gleckman writes about elder villages. "Nearly three years ago, Harry Rosenberg and his wife, Barbara Filner, met with nine of their neighbors about starting an aging-in-place "village" in the Burning Tree community of Bethesda, Maryland. The idea: If neighbors could help one another with basic services such as transportation and simple home maintenance and with friendly visits, people could stay in their homes longer as they aged" (Gleckman, 2/9). Read entire article. This information was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with kind permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery at kaiserhealthnews.org. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
A novel finding, described Feb. 4 on the Science Express Web site by teams from the National Cancer Institute, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the University of Toronto, offers a clue as to how genes can have what you might call multiple personalities. Genes are long strings of DNA letters, but they can be cut and spliced to make different proteins, something like the word "Saskatchewan" can have its middle cut out to leave the word "Swan, " its front, middle and end deleted to leave the word "skate, " or its front and back chopped off to make the word "chew." Thi's discovery reveals that the protein MRG15, which previously had been known to affect cell growth and aging, also directs the gene-splicing machinery. Olivia Pereira-Smith, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology and the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, has studied the function of MRG15 for more than 10 years.