Thursday, July 31, 2008

Not elder law: Secrets of the world's oldest calculator are revealed

TCalche secrets of the worlds oldest calculating machine are revealed today, showing that it had dials to mark the timing of eclipses and the Olympic games.  Ever since the spectacular bronze device was salvaged from a shipwreck after its discovery in 1900 many have speculated about the uses of the mechanical calculator which was constructed long before the birth of Christ and was one of the wonders of the ancient world.  The dictionary sized crumbly lump containing corroded fragments of what is now known to be a marvellous hand cranked machine is known as the 'Antikythera Mechanism' because it was discovered near the tiny island of Antikythera, between Crete and mainland Greece.

Source/more:  The Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/portal/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/earth/2008/07/30/scicalc130.xml

July 31, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Scottish researchers claim benefits from new Alzheimer's drug

Alzheimer's researchers from Scotland announced on Tuesday that for the first time they have developed a drug that can halt cognitive decline in patients with mild and moderate Alzheimer's disease.  In the largest Phase II clinical trial of its kind, study author Claude Wischik, professor at the University of Aberdeen in the U.K. and executive chairman of TauRx Therapeutics, said that TauRx's drug methylthioninium chloride (MTC) was successful at halting the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease over a 50-week period. He presented his findings at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease meeting in Chicago.  Previous research has shown that a buildup of abnormal nerve fibers in the brain, made up of a protein called tau, is linked to memory loss in Alzheimer's disease. Rember, the brand name of the drug, had been successful at melting tau tangles in lab tests and in animal studies, but this is the first time an anti-tau drug has demonstrated benefits in people with Alzheimer's disease.

In Wischik's study, 321 people with either mild or moderate Alzheimer's disease were given a placebo or one of three doses — 30, 60 or 100 milligrams — of MTC three times a day for up to 84 weeks. Imaging scans were taken at the beginning of the study and again at 24 weeks. Patients' cognitive abilities were measured at 24, 50 and 84 weeks.

July 31, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Canada: Pill pack limitation criticized

An Ontario health ministry decision to severely limit pharmacists from dispensing so-called pill packs will push independent seniors into long-term care facilities, according to critics.

Effective Friday, the Ontario government will pay for only two pill packs per month under its drug plan. The packs, which include medication for a day or week, allow pharmacists to divide dosages for patients who take several prescriptions.

"Cutting payments to pharmacists will put people in grave danger," says Ron Marzel, lawyer for a coalition (dispensingwithcare.ca) that has fought restricting the $3 billion-a-year Ontario Drug Benefits Plan (ODB) from covering pill packs.

Added Marzel: "At the heart of the issue are senior citizens who will no longer be able to live at home and who will be pushed into nursing homes."

Several citizens' groups, including the 350,000-member CARP (Canada's Association for the 50-plus), have opposed Ontario's plan to cut payments. Susan Eng, the association's vice-president for advocacy, said recently: "CARP believes that continued and better access to compliance packs will assist people to remain independent and safe in their homes by reducing the threat of medication error."

Source/more: http://www.thestar.com/News/Ontario/article/469587

July 31, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

KFF report analyzes Medicare Advantage plans

Medicare Advantage plans enrolled a record 9.8 million beneficiaries, more than one in five of the nation’s 44 million people on Medicare as of April 2008. That represents an increase of more than 800,000 beneficiaries in just four months, continuing a period of unprecedented growth for private plans in Medicare since 2003.

This issue brief, prepared for the Kaiser Family Foundation by Marsha Gold of Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., analyzes recent developments in the Medicare Advantage marketplace, including plan choices available to beneficiaries and enrollment trends by plan type and geography.

The brief also examines market share for the companies offering Medicare Advantage plans and the role Medicare Advantage plans play in providing employer-sponsored retiree health benefits.

Issue Brief Icon Issue Brief (.pdf)

July 31, 2008 in Medicare | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Call for nominations: National Aging & Law Award

Call for Nominations

The 2008 National Aging and Law Conference (NALC) will take place December4-6, 2008.  A highlight of the NALC is the presentation of the National Aging & Law Award at an Awards Dinner Thursday evening, December 4th.

We invite you to submit a nomination for the 2008 National Aging & Law Award.  The 2008 Award will recognize ­Outstanding Achievements, at a National Level, in the broad arena of Law, Aging, and Social Policy.  We hope you will assist in focusing public appreciation on notable, national-level efforts to advance law, aging and social policy.

Below, please find
(1)   a page with additional information about the 2008 award including background, instructions for submitting nominations, and contact information for questions; and
(2)   a nomination form with selection criteria (Note: you may generate your own form so long as the requisite information is provided).

Thank you,

The Sponsors of the National Aging and Law Conference

AARP Foundation, ABA Commission on Law & Aging, National Senior Citizens Law Center, Center for Medicare Advocacy, The Center for Social Gerontology, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, National Consumer Law Center, National Association of State Units on Aging.  Note: In 2009, the National Aging & Law Award will recognize Outstanding Contributions at the State and/or Local Level.

Background, Instructions and Selection Criteria

Background

The National Aging and Law Award, given in the spirit of the previous Arthur S. Flemming Award (national advocacy) and Paul Lichterman Award (state/local advocacy), honors individuals who have made significant contributions to justice for older persons.  The award rotates between recognizing outstanding achievement ­
*  in Law, Aging, and Social Policy at the National Level, and
*  in Legal Services and Elder Rights Advocacy at the State and Local
Levels.

The 2008 Award will be for:  Outstanding Achievements, at a National Level, in the broad arena of Law, Aging, and Social Policy.  An Awards Committee representing the National Aging & Law Conference (NALC) co-sponsors, will review nominations and select the awardee.

Instructions for Submitting Nominations

Deadline for receipt of nominations is Friday, September 26, 2008.

The Nomination Packet may not exceed 15 pages, and should include one copy
of:
* A completed Nomination Form/Narrative explaining how the candidate meets each of the four selection criteria (5 pages maximum);
* Letters of support (minimum of three and maximum of five support letters, with a 2-page maximum per letter.)

Eligible Candidates:  Nominees may not be ­
*   current employees or Board members of any of the NALC co-sponsor organizations;
*  former employees or Board members of NALC co-sponsors who have been gone less than two years from the time of the nomination; or
*  past recipient of Flemming, Lichterman, or National Aging & Law Award.

Selection Criteria:  Candidates will be judged on the basis of their national contribution in championing the rights of older Americans. They will be reviewed in terms of four specific criteria listed on the Nomination Form/Narrative (can be downloaded at http://www.tcsg.org/NominationForm.doc.)

To Submit a Nomination: Go to http://www.tcsg.org/NominationForm.doc and download the Nomination Form/Narrative. (Or you may generate your own document so long as you provide all the information called for on the Form.)
Then submit your completed Nomination Form (maximum of five (5) pages) along with 3-5 support letters as indicated below.

Where / How to Send.  Our preferred method of submission is via email, however you may also send one copy of your completed nomination packet to:

Brooke McCreary, Program Assistant
The Center for Social Gerontology
2307 Shelby Ave., Ann Arbor, MI  48103
email:  bmccreary@tcsg.org
(Our preferred method of submission is to this email address)
fax: (734) 665-2071

July 28, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Canada: Reform Urged for Enduring Power of Attorney laws

Uniform Improvements Recommended for Enduring Powers of Attorney in the Four Western Provinces

Many people rely on enduring powers of attorney (EPAs) to authorize an attorney to handle their financial affairs while they are mentally incapable. In its report, Enduring Powers of Attorney: Areas for Reform, Western Canada Law Reform Agencies (WCLRA) recommends improvements in the EPA statutes of all four western provinces to address common issues. These recommendations are designed to make it easier to use EPAs in cross-border situations, to promote wider understanding and knowledge of attorney duties, and to provide some additional safeguards against attorney misuse of an EPA.

To make it easier to use EPAs in cross-border situations, WCLRA proposes:

·      standard formal requirements for making EPAs;

·      uniform legislative changes to promote recognition of EPAs made
in other provinces;

·      a standard form EPA, for those who wish to use it.

WCLRA recommends that each province adopt and publicize a uniform statutory list of attorney duties. If everyone knows how an attorney is supposed to act, there is less chance that an attorney will misuse the power of an EPA through ignorance.

To safeguard against misuse, it is important to bring an attorney’s conduct out into the open where others can notice if something seems wrong. Proposed safeguards in this area include:

·      an attorney must give a formal notice to certain people when
the attorney starts to act under the EPA;

·      persons who suspect misuse can contact a public official, who
would have the discretion to investigate;

·      the public official would have the power to freeze accounts,
obtain information from financial institutions, examine records and
obtain warrants for search and seizure;

·      financial institutions who suspect misuse would also be
empowered to temporarily freeze accounts while reporting their
suspicions.

WCLRA consists of the British Columbia Law Institute, the Alberta Law Reform Institute, the Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan and the Manitoba Law Reform Commission.

Copies of this Report may be obtained at no charge by contacting The British Columbia Law Institute or by downloading it from the Internet
at: www.law.ualberta.ca/alri.

July 28, 2008 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

AARP Foundation will offer scholarships to attend NALC conference

In 2005, the AARP Foundation created a scholarship program in honor of Jerry E. Florence, former Director of the AARP Foundation who passed away suddenly during his tenure. Mr. Florence was a visionary leader who was respected and admired by all who worked with him.

In remembrance of Jerry, the AARP Foundation will award ten scholarships of $1,000 to first time attendees of the National Aging and Law Conference (NALC) to be held in December of 2008. Scholarships cover the cost of registration and travel, and also go toward lodging for the Conference. Scholarships are awarded to individuals who provide free or low-cost legal services to older persons that have limited income and resources; show commitment to the ethical representation of older persons; and demonstrate financial need to attend. Non-legal advocates such as adult protective services staff, law enforcement staff and others that work on behalf of older persons are also encouraged to apply.

The deadline for submission of scholarship applications is August 15.

To learn more and to apply, please visit aarp.org/nltp and click on the NALC scholarship link located on the left hand column.


July 28, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Upcoming conference--elder abuse and related topics

August 26 - 29, 2008
The 19th Annual National Adult Protective Services Association Conference
Adult Protective Services: Advocating, Protecting and Serving Vulnerable Adults
Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers
Chicago, Illinois
Email: Anne.Kincaid@APSNETWORK.ORG
Telephone: 720-565-0906
Website:  http://www.apsnetwork.org/Training/conference.htm 

September 10 – 11, 2008
5th Annual Making the Case for Justice Conference: Investigation and Prevention of Crimes Against Elder and Vulnerable Adults
Meydenbauer Center
Bellevue, Washington
http://www.meydenbauer.com/cgi-bin/cmr.cgi?event=40
Email: cyndee.cavanah@kingcounty.gov
Telephone: 206-296-8797

September 16, 2008 - September 19, 2008
Elder Abuse Instructor Training Program
Dallas, TX
Email: stateandlocaltraining@dhs.gov
Telephone: 800-743-5382
Website: http://www.fletc.gov/training/programs/state-local/training-opportunities/elder-abuse-instructor-training-program-eaitp/

September 23-25, 2008
Prosecuting Elder Abuse Cases
National College of District Attorneys – America’s School for Prosecutors
National Advocacy Center
Columbia, South Carolina
Email: erin.gaddy@ndaa.org
Telephone:  (803) 705-5093
Website: http://www.ndaa.org/education/ndaa/special_issues_training_schedule.html

December 3 – 6, 2008
8th Annual National Aging and Law Conference
Double Tree Hotel
Arlington, Virginia
Email: mgouge@aarp.org
Telephone: 202-434-2197
Website: http://aarpnltp.grovesite.com/page.asp?o=aarpnltp&s=NLTP&p=257256

July 24, 2008 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Loyola-Chicago announces 4th Summer Institute on Aging

LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO
The Fourth Annual Summer Institute on Aging

Dates        August 11-August 14, 2008,  9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Location    Loyola Law Center, 25 E. Pearson Street, Chicago, Illinois 60611

Aging and Financial Exploitation
The Summer Institute on Aging is a four-day, interdisciplinary course co-sponsored by Loyola’s School of Law and School of Social Work that is open to social workers, attorneys, nurses, physicians, counselors, and geriatric care managers. This highly interactive course will explore the psychosocial, ethical, policy and legal issues related to financial exploitation and consumer fraud among older adults.  Issues related to race, gender, ethnic and income differences among the elderly will be discussed. The course will feature faculty and guest speakers from a variety of disciplines.  Through simulations and group work, the course provides an excellent opportunity for true interdisciplinary collaboration.

Faculty:    Marguerite Angelari, J.D., Goedert Elder Law Professor & Director  Elder Law Initiative of The Institute of Health Law, Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Marcia Kornfeld Spira, PhD., LCSW, BCD, Associate Professor and Director, Institute on Intergenerational Study and Practice, Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work

Speakers:   
Steve Baker, Director Midwest Region, Federal Trade Commission
Dan Belko, Office of the Public Guardian
Diego Flores, Sergeant, Vice Control, Unit, Chicago Police Department
Dr. Steven C. Fox DO., Private Practice, Geriatric and Disability Medicine
Illinois Attorney General's Office   
Madelyn (Micki) Iris, PhD., Research Director, Council for Jewish Elderly
Heather Jones, LCSW, Private Practice
Jerome Lamet J.D., DCSD
Daniel P. Lindsey, J.D., Legal Assistance Foundation
Jill Morrison PLOWS, Council on Aging
The Hon. Patrick Murphy, Domestic Relations Div., Circuit Court of Cook County
Valencia Myton, PLOWS, Council on Aging
Kerry Peck, J.D., Peck, Bloom, Austriaco & Koeni g LLC
The Hon. Aurelia Pucinski, Domestic Relations Div., Circuit Court of Cook County
Peter Schmiedel J.D. Fishel & Kahn Ltd.
Sandy Stavropolis, J.D., Cook County State's Attorney's Office
Tom Wendt, J.D., Chief Legal Officer Center for Disability and Elder Law
Illinois Department on Aging

For more information contract the Elder Law Initiative at:
p(312) 915-6775    f(312) 915-7115    elderlaw@luc.edu

July 23, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Borchard Center RFP: Academic Research grants

The Borchard Foundation Center on Law & Aging
Requests Proposals for 2009 Academic Research Grants

The Borchard Fellowship in Law & Aging awards up to 4 grants of $20,000 each year.  This Request for Proposals is open to all interested and qualified legal, health sciences, social sciences, and gerontology scholars and professionals. Organizations per se, whether profit or non-profit are not eligible to apply, although they may administer the grant.  However, two or more individuals in the same institution or different institutions may submit a collaborative proposal. 

The objectives of the grants are to further research and scholarship about new or improved public policies, laws, and/or programs that will enhance the quality of life for the elderly, including those who are poor or otherwise isolated by lack of education, language, culture, disability, or other barriers.

The Center expects grantees to meet the objectives of the grant program through individual or collaborative research projects that analyze and recommend changes in one or more important existing public policies, laws, and/or programs relating to the elderly; or, anticipate the need for and recommend new public policies, laws, and/or programs for the elderly necessitated by changes in the number and demographics of the country’s and the world’s elderly populations by advances in science and technology, by changes in the health care system, or by other developments.  It is expected that the research product will be publishable in a first-rate journal.

The Center makes no more than four annual grants up to $20,000 each.  Larger budgets using outside matching funds are encouraged but not required.  Favorable weight is given to proposals that indicate, where appropriate, that active attempts will be made to solicit required additional funds for the project (including a list of sources to be approached).  Grant funds may be used for the approved budget purposes, which may include reasonable compensation for the principal investigator(s), consultant(s), and research assistant(s), print and computer-based research materials, and other necessary expenses.   Ordinarily, summer salary support will not be approved where the applicant is eligible for significant support from his or her university or other institutions.  Grant funds may not be used for university overhead or administrative charges, and the Center will not otherwise pay any such costs.

Applicants must submit seven copies of the application form (available on the Center’s Web site), seven copies of a Research Grant Proposal (limit five pages, double spaced, not including appendices and any letters of support), and seven copies of each applicant’s curriculum vita to:

The Borchard Foundation Center on Law & Aging
Attn:  Mary Jane Ciccarello, Assistant Director
335 4th Avenue
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

The Research Grant Proposal should include a description of the research project, a detailed budget (including matching support), a discussion of how the research meets the objectives of the Center’s grant program, why the project is otherwise important, and a description of the intended written research product and the publication(s) to which the work product will be submitted for publication.

All materials must be postmarked by September 30, 2008.  No faxed applications or materials are accepted.  Proposals will be reviewed and grants awarded by a committee composed of the Center’s academic advisory board members, executive director, assistant director, and fellows.  Selections will be made on or about December 15, 2008.

Upon completion of the research project, but not later than December 31 of the year following the award (unless the committee, for good cause, extends the completion date), grantees must submit seven copies of a final written report that includes a description and chronology of the research and results, an accounting for grant funds, and copies of any publications or products developed.   In addition, a short written progress and status report must be submitted not later than June 30 of the year the award is granted.  Upon publication of the research product, seven reprints must be given to the Center.

For further description of the Academic Research Grant Program, the Request for Proposals, and the application form, please see the Center’s Web site at http://www.borchardcenter.org/argp.html.  For any further information, please contact Mary Jane Ciccarello, Assistant Director, at 801-532-3626, mjcr@xmission.com.

July 23, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Penn State Elder Law clinic newsletter now on-line

Here is a link to the most recent issue (Summer '08) of Penn State's Elder Law and Consumer Protection Clinic newsletter:

http://www.dsl.psu.edu/faculty/pearson/AdventuresSummer08.pdf

Thanks to Katherine Pearson.
 

July 22, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Ed McMahon sues for elder abuse

Ed McMahon sued a hospital, two doctors and an investment tycoon Friday over a neck injury he has said has left him unable to work, a circumstance he has blamed for his recent money woes.  The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount, claiming negligence, battery, elder abuse and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, two doctors, and the owner of a home where he says he fell in March 2007.  The former "The Tonight Show" sidekick claims that Cedars-Sinai and its doctors originally discharged him with a broken neck and didn't adequately conduct two surgeries. McMahon's suit states his cardiologist later discovered that his neck was broken.

Cedars-Sinai has not been served with the lawsuit and could not comment on the allegations, said Simi Singer, a hospital spokeswoman.  Also named in the lawsuit is Robert Day, who owns an investment firm and has been on Forbes' list of richest Americans in previous years, and his wife. McMahon claims a ramp-like staircase where he attended a dinner party was "unsafe" because it was poorly lit and lacked handrails. 

Source/more:  AP, http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hnRDS41TT3Iy0z4ISL2-0fOVA8pQD920K1B00

Thanks to Josh Ard for bringing to my attention.

July 22, 2008 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Century Foundation report disputes Social Security "crisis"

Scare Tactics: Why Social Security Is Not in Crisis

Opponents of Social Security have been striving to convince American workers, especially young adults, that Social Security will no longer exist by the time they retire. Phrases such as "imminent crisis" and "unmanageable costs" lace this rhetoric. To a large extent, this alarmism is voiced by those who are hostile to government and therefore favor replacing all or part of one of this nation’s most successful and essential programs with private investment accounts. Bernard Wasow demonstrates why the "crisis" in Social Security is actually quite manageable. Originally published in 2004, this document was updated in July 2008.

Get it here.

July 18, 2008 in Social Security | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

National Health Law Program announces two job opportunities

* NHeLP Job Announcement:  Director of Communications (July '08) www.healthlaw.org/library/item.201504

* NHeLP Job Announcement: Reproductive Health and Justice Staff Attorney (May ' 08) http://www.healthlaw.org/library/item.147714

July 18, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Triple A Foundation publishes update on senior traffic fatalities

The document compiles traffic fatality data on seniors for all fifty states:

Senior Passenger‐Vehicle‐Driver Fatalities by State, Year, and Age Group (2002 ‐ 2006, Ages 65+)

July 18, 2008 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New AARP report discusses state LTC reform

Summary:  This AARP Public Policy Institute research paper examines the extent to which states have balanced the delivery of Medicaid-funded long-term care (LTC) services and supports to people in their homes (or in more home-like settings in their communities) and in institutions. What is unique about this report is its primary focus on older people and adults with physical disabilities separate from other LTC populations, such as people with developmental disabilities. The paper explores what states have been able to accomplish under current Medicaid law and addresses the impact that federal policies have on the states’ ability to balance service delivery. 

This report is designed to stimulate LTC reform that will improve and increase options for older adults and people with disabilities. The ability of some states to accomplish substantial reforms for older people and adults with physical disabilities—as well as successes in the mental retardation/developmental disabilities movement, which have led to increased home and community-based services options for many—demonstrates that obstacles to change can be overcome.

Get the report:  http://www.aarp.org/research/longtermcare/programfunding/2008_10_ltc.html

July 18, 2008 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

SSA OIG publishes report on bank fees charged for illegal garnishments against SS funds

The SSA's Office of the Inspector General has published a report on financial institutions that have been charging service fees for garnishing accounts holding Social Security funds.  Federal law prohibits involuntary alienation of SS funds on deposit except in very limited circumstances.  Here's a summary of the report:

"The objective of our review was to determine whether financial institutions (FI) were
deducting service fees and garnishments from beneficiaries’ direct deposit, personal
accounts. This report contains information related to the 12 largest FIs and a sample of
13 small-, medium- and large-sized FIs that received electronic deposit of payments to
Social Security beneficiaries in the United States from September 1, 2006 through
August 31, 2007. Specifically, this report contains information on

• the number of FIs that allowed the garnishment of Old-Age, Survivors and Disability
Insurance (OASDI)1 and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)2 payments;
• the number of accounts upon which garnishment-related fees were imposed and the
total dollar amount of fees charged to these accounts as a result of the garnishment;
and
• the types of fees these FIs charged beneficiaries."

Read the report here:  http://www.ssa.gov/oig/ADOBEPDF/A-15-08-28031.pdf

July 17, 2008 in Social Security | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Not elder law: Astronomers challenge historians re: dates of Julian invasion of Britain

Julius Caesar's invasion of Britain in 55 BC could not have occurred on the dates stated in most history books, a team of astronomers has claimed. The traditional view is that Caesar landed in Britain on 26-27 August, but researchers from Texas State University say this cannot be right.

Dr Donald Olson, an expert on tides, says that the English Channel was flowing the wrong way on these dates.  An invasion of the south coast at Deal on August 22-23 is favoured instead.  The claims appear in the latest issue of Sky & Telescope magazine.

Caesar came to Britain with 100 warships and two legions comprising 10,000 men. But as he approached Dover's white cliffs, spear-wielding Celtic warriors lined up along the ridge, prompting the Roman leader to look for a better landing spot.

He ordered his fleet to move along the coast, and after travelling about seven miles they came to "an open and flat shore".

What has been a matter of some debate is whether Caesar sailed left or right and when exactly his armada landed.

Source:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7483566.stm

July 17, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Predicted costs of retirement are creeping higher

With medical care and other costs soaring, the portion of their pre-retirement pay that Americans will need in retirement to keep the same standard of living is rising, financial planners say.  For years, a common projection was that workers needed to replace 70 percent to 90 percent of their pre-retirement pay to maintain the same living standard in retirement. But now, as medical costs grow, life spans lengthen and fewer retirees receive pensions, financial planners say you'll need more. Hewitt Associates is more pessimistic than most. New research released by the consulting company projects that workers will need to replace, on average, 126 percent of their final pay in retirement.  The study, based on 1.8 million employees with 401(k) plans that Hewitt administers, says only 19 percent of participants are on track to meet their retirement needs. About 67 percent of workers are expected to have less than 80 percent of their projected needs.  Sheryl Garrett, founder of the Garrett Planning Network, agrees that typical retirement replacement guidelines "just don't go far enough when you factor in the huge health-care responsibility that is shifting from the employer's shoulders to ours at retirement.

Source/more:  Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080713/BUSINESS/807130330

July 16, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Medicare patients who bring a family member or other companion are more satisfied with care

More than one-third of Medicare beneficiaries appear to be accompanied by family members or companions during medical encounters, according to a report in the July 14 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Such medical visit companions may be associated with improved patient satisfaction, especially among beneficiaries in poor health.  Families are increasingly understood to be relevant to patient care, according to background information in the article. However, little is known about which specific attributes of their involvement are most helpful to patients or result in the greatest improvements in quality of care.

Jennifer L. Wolff, Ph.D., and Debra L. Roter, Dr. P.H., M.P.H., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, and colleagues studied a sample of 12,018 Medicare beneficiaries 65 years or older who participated in a 2004 survey. These older adults were representative of approximately 30 million Medicare beneficiaries living in the community.

The researchers found that:

  • 38.6 percent of participants reported regularly being accompanied to medical visits
  • Companions included spouses (53.3 percent); adult children (31.9 percent); other relatives (6.8 percent); roommates, friends or neighbors (5.2 percent); non-relatives (2.8 percent); or nurses, nurse aides or legal or financial officers (less than 1 percent)
  • 63.8 percent of companions helped with communication, including 44.1 percent who recorded physician comments and instructions, 41.5 percent who communicated information about the patient's medical condition to the physician, 41 percent who asked questions, 29.7 percent who explained physician's instructions and 3.3 percent who translated the English language
  • 28.4 percent of companions were reported to be present for company and moral support, 52.3 percent to assist with transportation, 16.6 percent to help schedule appointments and 8.4 percent to provide physical assistance

Beneficiaries with regular companions were more highly satisfied with their physician's technical skills, information-giving and interpersonal skills. Those whose companions more actively helped with communication rated their physicians' information-giving and interpersonal skills more favorably. This relationship was stronger among patients who reported themselves to be in worse health.

Source:  Reuters Health,
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-07/jaaj-oaw071008.php

Read journal article: http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/168/13/1409

July 16, 2008 in Medicare | Permalink | TrackBack (0)