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Seniors Support Medicare Coverage Expansion On Tuesday, The Senior Citizens League released new data that shows nearly 80 percent of older Americans believe Medicare should cover dental, vision, and hearing services. Under current law, the Medicare program is prohibited from covering these critical services, and many older Americans living on fixed incomes cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket for costly care and assistive technologies like eyeglasses or hearing aids. When asked how Congress should address the lack of coverage, 79 percent of poll respondents said Medicare

coverage should be expanded, while 14 percent said private Medicare Advantage plans that sometimes cover more of these services should be better promoted. Only 7 percent of respondents said Medicare’s coverage of dental, vision, and hearing services should remain unchanged. A growing volume of research is linking problems with eyes, ears, and teeth to health problems elsewhere in the body. Links have been found to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, respiratory illness, cancer, sleep apnea, dementia, and many

other serious health conditions. Better care has been found to improve overall health in patients. Mary Johnson – a policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League – said this week, “Adding cover age may help both patients and Medicare save money on other costs.” The poll results released this week show clearly that older voters want Congress to improve coverage of these essential services. The Senior Citizens League has endorsed legislation called the Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act (H.R. 508), a bipartisan bill

introduced by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and 130 cosponsors in the House of Representatives. If adopted, it would expand Medicare coverage to include vision, dental, and hearing services. In the weeks ahead, The Senior Citizens League will continue to advocate for the passage of H.R. 508, and we hope to see it signed into law by the end of the 115th Congress. For more information about the Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website.

House Adjourns for Five-Week Summer Recess On Friday, lawmakers in the Medicare program and much higher prices for their  Social Security House returned to their home cut Social Security prescriptions. What are you beneficiaries districts for a five-week recess. benefits by adopting the doing to correct this unfair received a 2% costThey are expected to return to “chained” CPI, policy? of-living adjustment Washington on Tuesday, eliminating the COLA  Medicare is currently (COLA) this year, September 4th, following the for some seniors, and raising but most have seen their prohibited from covering Labor Day holiday. In the the eligibility age. Did you benefit increases completely most hearing, vision, and meantime, many Members of support this budget blueprint, offset by higher Medicare dental services, even though Congress will be attending local and if so, why? Part B premiums. Do you millions of seniors are events and hosting town hall support legislation that  The federal government afflicted with age-related meetings in their home states would give older Americans negotiates prescription drug hearing loss, low vision, and and districts. The Senior a more fair and adequate prices for Medicaid and for poor oral health. When left Citizens League encourages its Social Security COLA? veterans, but it is barred from untreated, these conditions supporters to attend these events  In April, lawmakers on the negotiating lower prices for often result in serious injuries and to ask important questions Medicare beneficiaries. As a and complications. What do Republican Study Committee of their elected officials, like the result, senior citizens you feel should be done proposed a budget blueprint following four... enrolled in Part D often pay about this? that would have reformed the

1,400 Nursing Homes Get Lower Medicare Ratings Because Of Staffing Concerns Medicare has lowered its star ratings for staffing levels in 1 in 11 of the nation’s nursing homes — almost 1,400 of them — because they either had inadequate numbers of registered nurses or failed to provide payroll data that proved they had the required nursing coverage, federal records released last week show. Medicare only recently began collecting and publishing payroll data on the staffing of nursing homes as required by the Affordable Care Act of 2010, rather than relying as it had

before on the nursing homes’ own unverified reports. The payroll records revealed lower overall staffing levels than homes had disclosed, particularly among registered nurses. Those are the highesttrained caregivers required to be in a nursing home, and they supervise other nurses and aides. Medicare mandates that every facility have a registered nurse working at least eight hours every day. “It’s a real positive that they actually are taking the payrollbased system seriously, that

they’re using it to punish those nursing homes that either aren’t reporting staffing or those that are below the federal limit,” said David Grabowski, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School. “Could they do more? Sure, but I think it’s a really good start.” Nursing home industry officials have acknowledged that some facilities are struggling to meet the new payroll reporting requirements. Katie Smith Sloan, president of LeadingAge, an association of nonprofit providers of aging services

including nearly 2,000 nursing homes, said the lowered star ratings were disappointing and attributed them largely to a workforce shortage. “Our members are battling on multiple fronts to recruit and retain all types of qualified staff, and nurses in particular,” she said in a statement….Read More

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August 5, 2018 RI ARA E-Newsletter  

August 5, 2018 RI ARA E-Newsletter  

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