In The News

Biden Administration Releases $1.4B for HCBS, Senior Health Programs      

Home Health Care News
By Joyce Famakinwa | May 5, 2021
The Biden administration is releasing $1.4 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan for Older Americans Act programs. Distributed by the Administration for Community Living, a chunk of the funds will go toward home- and community-based services.
President Joe Biden originally signed the American Rescue Plan, a COVID-19 relief package, into law on March 11.
The Older Americans Act programs will fund efforts related to vaccine outreach and coordination. It will also support programs targeting social isolation, family caregivers and senior nutrition.
The Older Americans Act programs have already drawn support from Washington, D.C.-based aging services nonprofit LeadingAge and home health trade group the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC).
“We support further, long-term investment in aging services as the infrastructure proposal takes shape,” Brendan Flinn, director of Medicaid and home- and community-based services at LeadingAge, told Home Health Care News in an email.

Of the $1.4 billion being released, $460 million will be set aside for home- and community-based services (HCBS), including household chores, grocery shopping, transportation and case management. These funds will also be used to vaccinate senior...

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Poll: Americans Want Help to Age in Place

From the National Association for Home Care & Hospice May 4, 2021

Overwhelmingly, Americans want to age in place in their own homes and communities, but want help to do so, citing assistance from Medicare as a key priority, according to a big new survey from the AP-NORC Center and The SCAN Foundation. The findings are consistent with polls done by these groups since 2013.

The “vast majority of Americans (88%) want to stay in their own home or the home of a loved one in the event they need ongoing living assistance as they age,” according to the survey. “Receiving care at their own home is the preferred option for 76%, and 11% would prefer a friend or family member’s home. Just 10% would prefer a senior community, and 2% a nursing home… The desire to age in their own home is consistent across race and ethnicity, as well as urban, suburban, and rural environments.”

The top concern for poll respondents is losing their independence.

According to the survey...

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Congress Mulls Long-Term Care Reform

Modern Healthcare/Jessie Hellmann

The crisis facing long-term care is getting the attention of the president and members of Congress, raising hopes among stakeholders that reform might be on the way.
Demand for long-term care has increased in recent years as the aging population grows, and a wave of baby boomers retire in coming decades.
But as of now, the long-term care system is failing to meet the needs of the current population. It's fragmented, expensive and often inaccessible for low-and-middle income aging adults and people with disabilities. While most people are cared for at home by unpaid caregivers, lawmakers have looked to expand access to home and community services covered by Medicaid, the largest payer of long-term care in the U.S. ...

Legislation being worked on by Rep. Dingell, Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) would make coverage of HCBS mandatory under Medicaid, in an effort to eliminate the institutional bias that experts say the current structure supports.
Under a draft version of the HCBS Access Act, coverage of integrated day services, personal care attendants, direct support professionals, home health aids, private duty nursing, homemakers, chore assistance, companionship services, support for caregivers and many other services that help aging adults and people with disabilities stay in their homes would all be mandatory under Medicaid. States would receive a 100 % FMAP to cover those services...

A draft bill by Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.) would create a federal long-term care insurance program, funded by payroll taxes.
"We have no system in this country to pay for long-term care right now," said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, which represents thousands of nonprofit organizations providing services for aging adults, including adult day centers, assisted living, home care and nursing homes.
"Right now, most care is paid for by family members who deplete their savings, or older adults themselves, they deplete their savings, become impoverished, and go on Medicaid."
A public financing system, like one proposed by Suozzi could "help people pay for the services they need in the setting that makes sense for them," she said.

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Tell CMS and Hospice Leaders What You Think About Recent Changes and Proposals

  • Proposals related to the Election Statement Addendum and CoP Changes. Survey available HERE.
  • Proposals that will impact Hospice Quality Measures and the Hospice Quality Reporting Program.  Survey available HERE.
  • Request for input on Hospice Utilization Trends and Change to the Labor Shares of the hospice payment rates.  Survey available HERE

COVID-19 Updates

Pfizer Says FDA Will Soon Authorize COVID-19 Vaccine For 12-15 Age Group 

Pfizer has indicated that their COVID-19 vaccine could be approved by the FDA for emergency approval in the 12-15 year old demographic as early as next week! Additionally, it could be approved for use in those who are 2+ year-old by this Fall. 

Read NPR Article

22% of New U.S. COVID Cases are in Children. Why?

One year ago, child COVID-19 cases made up only around 3% of the U.S. total. Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported that  children represented 22.4% of new cases reported in the past week (71,649 out of 319,601 cases).

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2 in 5 American adults fully vaccinated as daily average of new Covid cases falls below 50,000

About 2 in 5 American adults are now fully vaccinated for Covid-19, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows, as the rate of new coronavirus infections continues to decline.

The U.S. is averaging 2.4 million reported vaccinations per day over the past week, down from a high point of 3.4 million daily shots on April 13.

The rate of new infections is also declining. The country is reporting an average of 49,000 cases per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, down from more than 70,000 just a few weeks ago.

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Reaching ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Unlikely in the U.S.

The New York Times reports, “Now, more than half of adults in the United States have been inoculated with at least one dose of a vaccine. But daily vaccination rates are slipping, and there is widespread consensus among scientists and public health experts that the herd immunity threshold is not attainable — at least not in the foreseeable future, and perhaps not ever. Instead, they are coming to the conclusion that rather than making a long-promised exit, the virus will most likely become a manageable threat that will continue to circulate in the United States for years to come, still causing hospitalizations and deaths but in much smaller numbers.”   

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