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IN THE NEWS

Harrowing Blame Game Over COVID-19 in Nursing Homes

By | IN THE NEWS, Long Term Care, Medicaid, Newsroom, Nursing Homes

Associated Press: Harrowing Blame Game Over COVID-19 in Nursing Homes (June 15, 2020)

The Trump administration has been pointing to a segment of the industry — facilities with low federal ratings for infection control — and to some Democratic governors who required nursing homes to take recovering coronavirus patients. Advocates for older people say the federal government hasn’t provided needed virus testing and sufficient protective gear to allow nursing homes to operate safely. A White House directive to test all residents and staff has been met with an uneven response. “The lack of federal coordination certainly has impeded facilities’ ability to identify infected persons and to provide care,” Eric Carlson, a long-term care expert with the advocacy group Justice in Aging, told lawmakers.

California Sets New Rules for Rationing Medical Equipment if Hospitals Run Out During Pandemic

By | Health Disparities, Health Equity, IN THE NEWS

Sacramento Bee: California Sets New Rules for Rationing Medical Equipment if Hospitals Run Out During Pandemic (June 12, 2020)

The California Department of Public Health has a new plan for that worst-case scenario. On June 9, the CDPH released new pandemic crisis care guidelines, after more than 60 community and advocacy organizations representing millions of Californians objected to the first set of guidelines the department released in April. “We are pleased that California rejected ageist, ableist, and racist approaches for triaging care that have emerged from other states during this crisis,” said Kevin Prindiville, executive director of Justice in Aging. “Instead, California has taken an approach that values the lives and rights of older adults and people with disabilities from diverse backgrounds.”

Aging and Older Adults in the Time of COVID-19

By | Health Care Defense, Health Disparities, Health Equity, IN THE NEWS, Medicaid, Nursing Homes, SENIOR POVERTY

Peace and Social Justice Radio Show: Aging and Older Adults in the Time of COVID-19 (June 5, 2020)

Justice in Aging Senior Staff Attorney Claire Ramsey was a featured guest on the show. She spoke about COVID-19 and older adults in California, particularly the impact on older adults of color. She also talked about how devastating the proposed budget cuts to programs low-income older adults rely on to stay safe during a pandemic. Claire’s segment starts at the 1 hour mark.

A National Disgrace: 40,600 Deaths Tied to US Nursing Homes

By | IN THE NEWS, Long Term Care, Medicaid, Nursing Homes

USA Today: A National Disgrace: 40,600 Deaths Tied to US Nursing Homes (June 1, 2020)

Over the last three months, more than 40,600 long-term care residents and workers have died of COVID-19 – about 40% of the nation’s death toll attributed to the coronavirus, according to an analysis of state data gathered by USA TODAY. That number eclipses a count released Monday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal government’s first attempt at a comprehensive tally. CMS said 25,923 residents had died, but its number only includes federally regulated nursing homes, not assisted living facilities. And this, even as families are not allowed to visit loved ones. “Without an end in sight, home operators need to do more to connect residents with their loved ones outside,” said Eric Carlson, a directing attorney at Justice in Aging.

Nursing Homes Fought Federal Emergency Plan Requirements for Years. Now, They’re Coronavirus Hot Spots

By | IN THE NEWS, Medicaid, Nursing Homes

Pro Publica: Nursing Homes Fought Federal Emergency Plan Requirements for Years. Now, They’re Coronavirus Hot Spots (May 29, 2020)

The long-term care industry resisted a federal mandate to plan for disasters including pandemics. About 43% of nursing homes have been caught violating the requirement, including facilities that have now had deadly COVID-19 outbreaks. The lack of pandemic plans helps explain why nursing homes have been caught unprepared for the new coronavirus, patient advocates and industry observers said. Since inspectors are tasked with identifying immediate hazards, they may be less focused on scrutinizing emergency plans, said Eric Carlson, directing attorney of Justice in Aging.

Some Nursing Homes Escaped COVID-19-Here’s What they Did Right

By | Health Care, Health Equity, Home & Community Based Services, IN THE NEWS, Medicaid, Medicare, Nursing Homes, Person-Centered Care Planning

Wired: Some Nursing Homes Escaped COVID-19-Here’s What they Did Right (May 29, 2020)

Cmiel’s staff stocked up on personal protective equipment and masks for workers and residents; screened everyone who walked in the door for symptoms; hired more staff to clean bathrooms and common areas; and started educating everyone on best practices for containing the virus. And while nursing homes account for nearly half of California’s coronavirus fatalities, at the SFCJL not a single resident has tested positive for the virus. Not all facilities were so lucky. A better approach to keep older people safe from Covid-19 would be to care for them in their homes, keeping them out of long-term residential settings. “There should be a continuum of care, and institutional care should really be reserved for people who need it, who can’t be successful and safe in their own homes,” said Claire Ramsey, Senior Staff Attorney at Justice in Aging.

Rethinking How America Cares for its Elderly

By | Health Disparities, Health Equity, Home & Community Based Services, IN THE NEWS, Medicaid, Medicare

Street Roots: Rethinking How America Cares for its Elderly (May 26, 2020)

Before COVID-19 sent the United States hurdling toward a devastating economic recession, 37 million adults aged 50 and older were already living in poverty — with another 10 million on the brink. Like it has with so many other social issues in the U.S., the coronavirus pandemic has illuminated the economic hardship and isolation facing many of our nation’s senior citizens, and the lack of value placed on the people who care for them. Executive Director Kevin Prindiville was interviewed for this article. “We’ve underinvested in our Medicaid programs and long-term care programs that help people stay home and in their community, which leaves many families with the only option to move an older family member into an institution,” Prindiville said.

Op-Ed: Revised Budget Puts Older Californians, Communities at Risk

By | Health Disparities, Health Equity, IN THE NEWS, Medicare

Cal Matters: Op-Ed: Revised Budget Puts Older Californians, Communities at Risk (May 26, 2020)

During a public health crisis like this, few things are more important than making sure people can access health care. But somehow in the budget revision, it’s health care that gets the biggest cut; and not just health care for anyone – it cuts health programs that older adults with low incomes rely on. Older Californians are not expendable. They are vital members of our families and communities who built a state strong enough to weather this storm. The governor and the Legislature need to come up with a final budget that respects and protects them. This op-ed was co-authored by Claire Ramsey, Senior Staff Attorney at Justice in Aging, and Linda Nguy, Health Policy Advocate at Western Center on Law & Poverty

California Seniors are Worried About These Cuts in Gavin Newsom’s New Budget. Here’s Why

By | Health Disparities, Health Equity, IN THE NEWS, Medicaid, Newsroom

Sacramento Bee: California Seniors are Worried About These Cuts in Gavin Newsom’s New Budget. Here’s Why (May 26, 2020)

Newsom’s revised budget plan, announced earlier this month, seeks to close a projected $54.3 billion budget deficit brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. It includes about $646 million in proposed cuts that worry seniors and their advocates because they would reduce health care options and access to programs that allow elderly residents to stay at home and out of nursing homes, which have been hotbeds for COVID-19 outbreaks. Claire Ramsey, senior staff attorney at Justice in Aging, said the May budget plan in all “proposes severe and devastating cuts to the very programs that keep older adults and people with disabilities living safely in their home.”

“Just” Old People Are Dying: Ageism and the Coronavirus Response

By | Health Equity, IN THE NEWS, Long Term Care, Medicaid, Newsroom, Uncategorized

KQED Forum: “Just” Old People Are Dying: Ageism and the Coronavirus Response (May 21, 2020)

Nearly 80% of those who have died from COVID-19 in California were over the age of 65, yet health care for seniors was slashed in the Governor’s proposed state budget. Advocates for the elderly say its just another example of ageism, which has been exacerbated during the pandemic. From suggestions that old peoples lives be sacrificed for the sake of the economy to the struggle to get PPE and tests in nursing homes, guests on the show discussed the role ageism is playing in the coronavirus response. Justice in Aging Executive Director, Kevin Prindiville was a guest on the show.