IN THE NEWS

The US Communities Hit Hardest by COVID-19 are also the most Ignored

By | IN THE NEWS, Uncategorized

Quartz: The US Communities Hit Hardest by COVID-19 are also the most Ignored (May 21, 2020)

People who aren’t proficient in English—particularly those who are older, and may not be tech-savvy enough to find the resources they need online—have largely been left out of the conversation around Covid-19, and their care has fallen through the cracks. Justice in Aging attorney, Denny Chan, was interviewed for this piece and talks about one problem being that intersectional data isn’t being collected. “Not everyone is collecting or reporting intersectional data deaths broken down by age. That means aid organizations have to go by the anecdotes they hear. What we know is true on the ground is that older adults and older people of color are more likely to have severe complications.”

 

California Budget Analysis

By | Economic Security, Health Care, IN THE NEWS

Major Cuts to the Programs that Serve Older Adults Must Be Rejected

On May 14, 2020, Governor Newsom released the May Revision of the 2020-21 budget. Despite the increased need for services and supports for older adults during the COVID-19 crisis, the May Revision contains numerous and devastating cuts to the programs that older adults need and use to stay safe and healthy in their communities. Older Californians of color are at most risk of serious disease and death due to COVID-19 and these cuts will only act to widen already unacceptable disparities in access to care and health outcomes.

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How Newsom Budget Yanks Back Medi-Cal Health Care Gains for Low-Income Residents

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

Cal Matters: How Newsom Budget Yanks Back Medi-Cal Health Care Gains for Low-Income Residents (May 18, 2020)

The state’s revised budget released last week shows that the Golden State’s new economic reality will almost certainly hit the Medi-Cal program with cuts in services and provider rates, as well as rescinded expansions. The list of proposed changes is sweeping, from canceling coverage expansion to more older Californians – including undocumented seniors – to cuts in some adult dental services.

“I think there will be a huge effort within the next few weeks to see whether we can push back on this,” Ramsey said. “If we don’t get to go forward now, it will likely take years.”

As COVID-19 lurks, California families are locked out of nursing homes. Is it safe inside?

By | IN THE NEWS, Nursing Homes, Person-Centered Care Planning

East Bay Times: As COVID-19 lurks, California families are locked out of nursing homes. Is it safe inside? (May 10, 2020)

This article discusses the difficulties families face in knowing whether their loved ones residing in nursing homes are doing alright and receiving proper care during the COVID-19 pandemic and shelter in place orders, and offers advocacy tips for families. One of the tips is to ask for a care plan meeting. “Whenever there’s a change in someone’s condition, there’s a requirement that a care plan meeting be convened, and that remains in effect,” said Justice in Aging attorney, Eric Carlson, who was interviewed for the article.

As coronavirus killed, spot inspections at nursing homes uncovered alleged violations

By | IN THE NEWS, Nursing Homes

ABC News: As coronavirus killed, spot inspections at nursing homes uncovered alleged violations, (May 8, 2020)

This story talks about how the lack of proper infection controls is leading to a huge number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing facilities across the country and is based on a report of spot inspections conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Advocacy. Justice in Aging attorney, Eric Carlson said, “The general public knows hand hygiene is crucial in preventing infections – nursing home staff must know that as well.” And, “There’s no excuse at this point for nursing home staff members who don’t scrupulously use gloves and wash hands. The failure to carry out these simple tasks is a matter of life and death when COVID-19 is present.”

Medicare Applications Raise Anxiety for Seniors in Pandemic

By | IN THE NEWS, Medicare, Newsroom, Social Security

Associated Press: Medicare Applications Raise Anxiety for Seniors in Pandemic, (April 29, 2020)

This article discusses how difficult it is for seniors to apply for Medicare during the COVID-19 pandemic because Social Security determines eligibility for Part B, and Social Security offices are closed and working at diminished capacity. Additionally, people over 65 who were still working and had health insurance through work and are now getting laid off, face significant barriers in getting through the Medicare application process. Advocates would like seniors to be held harmless from penalties for failing to apply on time. The reporter interviewed Justice in Aging attorney, Natalie Kean, for the piece who said, “Going through the normal channels is just going to be slow, and it’s not responsive to the increased need right now.”

The Nursing Home Coronavirus Pandemic

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

Tarbell: The Nursing Home Coronavirus Pandemic, (April 28, 2020)

This article discusses how the political power of the nursing home industry has led the industry to prioritize profits over patient care and that has all led to what amounts to a “massacre” of older adults living in nursing facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. “In ordinary times, nursing homes have a bad infection control record, so the fact that they are having major problems with the coronavirus is sadly predictable,” said Justice in Aging Attorney, Eric Carlson.

Seniors are sick with coronavirus and need special care. But hospitals and nursing homes are in conflict about who takes on the less-critical patients

By | IN THE NEWS, Newsroom, Nursing Homes

South Florida Sun Sentinel: Seniors are Sick with Coronavirus and Need Special Care. but Hospitals and Nursing Homes are in Conflict about who Takes on the Less Critical of Patients (April 15, 2020)

With nearly 1,400 cases of COVID-19 now reported in long-term care facilities in Florida, hospitals are discharging some patients who have improved back into nursing homes. Hospitals officials say they need to clear out patients who no longer need acute care. But nursing homes don’t want to take the patients discharged from hospitals for fear they’ll bring the coronavirus with them and spread it.Justice in Aging attorney Eric Carlson is concerned. “If you are admitting someone who you know has the virus, that cuts against all the tremendous focus that has been placed on not allowing the virus inside the four walls of the nursing facility,” he said. “Infection prevention and adequate staffing in nursing homes have been sore points even in better days.”

New Jersey’s Nursing Home Deaths Reveal Our Problem With Elder Discrimination

By | IN THE NEWS, Newsroom, Nursing Homes

Refinery 29: New Jersey’s Nursing Home Deaths Reveal our Problem with Elder Discrimination, (April 16, 2020)

This article about the high number of deaths in nursing facilities from COVID-19 shines a light on the systemic ageism that devalues seniors’ lives in health care settings. The article goes on to talk about states, such as Massachusetts, that have issued discriminatory policies that prioritize ventilators and life-saving procedures for younger patients. The article mentions our letter to the state’s governor and quotes from it, saying, the state’s policy, “violates the antidiscrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act” related to age discrimination. The guidance includes a framework requiring assessments for life-saving resources be made to prioritize “maximizing life years saved” by taking a patient’s long-term prognosis into consideration, as well as “life-cycle considerations,” which prioritize younger patients.

For Millions of People, Relief From the COVID-19 Stimulus Package Remains Out of Reach

By | Economic Security, IN THE NEWS

Time: For Millions of People, Relief From the COVID-19 Stimulus Package Remains Out of Reach, (April 8, 2020)

This article talks about the difficulty millions of newly unemployed people are having getting the help they need and goes on to talk about the one-time federal stimulus payments, about which Justice in Aging attorney Tracey Gronniger, was interviewed. The $1,200 stimulus payment from the federal government leaves out an estimated 8 million undocumented immigrants working in the U.S. and it  remains unclear how millions of individuals dependent on Supplemental Security Income, many of whom do not file taxes due to their meager incomes, will receive funds. “It’s really placing a burden on very low-income people who are already having difficulty making ends meet,” said Tracey.