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Two recent studies found work requirements did not improve employment or earnings, and at the same time cut people who could have qualified from accessing food benefits.

Hundreds of thousands of low-income Americans from ages 50 to 55 could face higher barriers to food assistance under the U.S. House Republican plan to cut spending while temporarily lifting the debt limit. Read more»

Los partidarios de los proyectos de ley para combatir la demencia hablaron de la necesidad de un esfuerzo estatal para luchar contra la enfermedad en una conferencia de prensa en el Capitolio estatal. Un proyecto de ley requeriría que el Departamento de Servicios de Salud de Arizona realice un plan de políticas y programas para combatir el Alzheimer y otras formas de demencia, según los activistas.

Los legisladores están impulsando un proyecto de ley para crear un plan estatal para la demencia y destinar hasta $500,000 para nuevos trabajos enfocados en la enfermedad de Alzheimer, un tipo común de demencia que está aumentando especialmente rápido en Arizona. Read more»

Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have long struggled to maintain adequate staff.

The U.S. is facing a growing crisis of unfilled job openings and high staff turnover in a tight labor market that puts the safety of older, frail residents at risk, and though experts say opening pathways for care workers to immigrate would help, policymakers haven’t moved. Read more»

Separating a nursing home operation and its building into two corporations - often with the same owners - is a common practice around the country.

Nearly 9,000 for-profit nursing homes outsource crucial services such as nursing staff, management, medical supplies and even building ownership to affiliated corporations, known as “related parties,” that their owners own, invest in, or control - while patient care declined. Read more»

Medicare reimburses Medicare Advantage plans using a complex formula called a risk score that computes higher rates for sicker patients and lower ones for healthier people - but federal officials rarely demand documentation to verify that patients have these conditions.

A review of 90 government audits reveals that health insurers that issue Medicare Advantage plans have repeatedly tried to sidestep regulations requiring them to document medical conditions the government paid them to treat. Read more»

Some hospices boost profits by signing people up regardless of whether they are dying.

The current design of the Medicare hospice program enables some profit-seeking providers to exploit seniors with few consequences, but this guide can help you research your hospice provider and spot common signs of hospice fraud. Read more»

Because the nation’s roughly 28,900 assisted living communities are regulated by states and there are no federal standards, practices vary widely and generally there are fewer protections for residents than are found in nursing homes.

Assisted living communities too often fail to meet the needs of older adults and should focus more on residents’ medical and mental health concerns - changes inspired by the altered profile of the population that assisted living now serves. Read more»

State Sen. Raquel Terán, D-Phoenix, speaks with Dora Vasquez, the Executive Director of the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans at a roundtable with community members about the Inflation Reduction Act in downtown Phoenix on Aug. 29, 2022. Deanna Mireau, 72, (left) and Joanne Romero, 74, (right) are listening in the foreground.

Retirees in Arizona struggle to divide monthly social security payments of $1,667 between rent, food and healthcare bills. Provisions in the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act seek to ease some of that budget strain by introducing caps on rapidly rising Medicare costs. Read more»

Federal laws and regulations prohibit homes from requiring a resident’s relatives or friends to financially guarantee the resident’s bills. Facilities cannot even request such guarantees.

The nursing home industry has quietly developed what consumer attorneys and patient advocates say is a pernicious strategy of pursuing family and friends of patients despite federal law that was enacted to protect them from debt collection. Read more»

'There’s a myth that Social Security and Medicare miraculously take care of all of people’s needs in older age,' said Ramsey Alwin, president and chief executive of the National Council on Aging.

Nationally and in every state, the minimum cost of living for older adults far exceeds federal poverty thresholds, yet eligibility for Medicaid, food stamps and other safety net programs do not account for variations in cost of living or medical expenses incurred by older adults. Read more»

The Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona issued a "urgent summer appeal," asking for donations of essential hygiene supplies, such as child and senior diapers, pads and tampons, due to a shortage as the price of basic needs continues to rise. Read more»

Maricopa County ballots from the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors hired by the Arizona Senate in an 'audit' at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix on May 24, 2021.

12 states have enacted 35 new criminal penalties targeting election officials since 2020, and of the 35 new penalties, 31 were enacted in Republican-controlled states - part of a larger effort to criminalize people involved in the election process. Read more»

The new laws not only criminalize actions typically described by Republicans as voter fraud (like altering a ballot, electioneering, or voting more than once), but also criminalize the activities of people trying to assist voters or attempting to make an election run smoothly.

Across the country, states have passed new laws that give the green light to prosecutors to treat like criminals all kinds of people involved in the election process, whether they are voters, election officials or third parties that assist voters. Read more»

Congress should crack down on Medicare Advantage health plans for seniors that sometimes deny patients vital medical care while overcharging the government billions of dollars every year, government watchdogs told a House panel. Read more»

The latest data from the CDC suggests that up to 2.5 million older adults may have been affected by long COVID, but in many seniors, it is difficult to recognize.

Long COVID refers to ongoing or new health problems that occur at least four weeks after a COVID infection, and much about the condition is baffling - but only now is the impact on older adults beginning to be documented. Read more»

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