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The Week’s Aging News: Medicare, Adult Protective, Caregiver Depression and More

by Derrick

It’s been a busy week in the world of aging news. See the highlights below.

CMS Seeks Input on New Payment System that May Offer Improved Health Care Access, Quality, and Outcomes for People with Disabilities

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) is looking at different ways to pay healthcare providers.  They are asking for input through a Request for Information (RFI) on implementing a Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).  This new system was enacted as part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

As part of the MIPS, CMS is considering offering additional reimbursement to providers for improving quality, accessibility, and health care outcomes for people with disabilities or chronic conditions, dual eligible (people who have Medicare and Medicaid), as well as other groups which face barriers to care. Other proposed changes promote partnerships with community-based organizations.

Administration for Community Living Announces New Federal Grants to Bolster State Adult Protective Services Systems

“The abuse of elders and people with disabilities is a moral outrage that our country simply cannot ignore,” said ACL Administrator Kathy Greenlee. “State and local Adult Protective Services offices play a critical role in addressing this abuse. The grants we announce today are a much-needed next step in supporting victims of abuse by bolstering state and local efforts.”

These grants, which total up to $2.8 million for up to two years, are being awarded to Alabama, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

Medicare Part B Premiums to Rise 52% for 7 Million Enrollees

For seven in 10 Medicare beneficiaries 2016 will be much like 2015. They will pay $104.90 per month for their Medicare Part B premium just as they did in 2015.

But 2016 might not be anything like 2015 for some 30% of Medicare beneficiaries — roughly 7 million or so Americans. That’s because premiums for individuals could increase a jaw-dropping 52% to $159.30 per month ($318.60 for married couples). And for individuals whose incomes exceed certain thresholds, premiums could rise to anywhere from $223.00 per month up to $509.80 (or $446 to $1,019.60 for married couples), depending on their incomes.

What gives? Blame the “hold harmless” provision in the law that addresses cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for Social Security benefits.

Higher-Volume Rehab Centers Better for Hip Fracture Recovery: Study

Seniors who break a hip receive the best care in skilled nursing facilities with the most experience handling such fractures, a new study suggests.

Twenty-five cases a year was the magic number, according to lead author Pedro Gozalo, associate professor of health services, policy and practice at the School of Public Health at Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues.

Depression Adds to Burden of Alzheimer’s Caregivers, Study Finds

Depression increases the mental strain on people caring for loved ones recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a new study finds.

The study included spouses and other family caregivers of 236 people in Finland who were diagnosed with very mild or mild Alzheimer’s disease. The caregivers were followed for three years after their loved ones were diagnosed.

The highest levels of mental stress occurred in caregivers who had depression when their loved one was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the investigators found.

Enjoy your weekend.

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