HHS Secretary: ‘We Want to Go Further’ with Medicare Advantage In-Home Benefits

By Bailey Bryant: For More Info, Go Here…

Medicare Advantage plans could get even more flexibility to address social determinants of health for beneficiaries if Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has his way.

In turn, that could mean even more opportunities for home care providers to offer and be reimbursed for services such as companion care, bathing, transportation and more.

“Our system can often be penny-wise and pound-foolish, spending generously on health care without considering how health could be improved by addressing non-health needs,” Azar said Tuesday during the Medicare Advantage (MA) Summit hosted by the Better Medicare Alliance in Washington, D.C.

“You’ve already seen one effort to address [social determinants] through new supplemental benefits in Medicare Advantage, like home-delivered meals, transportation and home modifications,” he told summit attendees. “We want to go further, and we look forward to working with all of you to think about how best to do that.”

Currently, Medicare Advantage plans can offer supplemental benefitsthat compensate for physical impairments, lessen the impact of injuries or health conditions or reduce avoidable hospital admissions.

In 2020, they’ll have the flexibility to offer beneficiaries with chronic conditions any supplemental benefit that has a “reasonable expectation” to improve or maintain patient health.

Top 10 evidence-based supplements for anxiety

By Jennifer Berry: For More Info, Go Here…

Research has suggested that various supplements — including vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and herbal remedies — may help relieve the symptoms of anxiety. We list the best 10, as well the evidence supporting them, here.

(T)he following supplements do show promise in easing the symptoms of anxiety. They also have a good record of safety, as backed up by scientific evidence.

1. Vitamin D

2. Vitamin B complex

3. Magnesium

4. L-theanine

5. Multivitamin and mineral supplements

6. Omega-3 fatty acids

7. Valerian root

8. Chamomile

9. Lavender

10. Lemon balm

How States Are Changing the Face of Emergency Management

From FEMA: For More Info, Go Here…

How is your state changing emergency management? By pulling together these responses, our hope is to show the progress we are making and the change in focus across the nation on emergency preparedness. Not only looking at what went right in an emergency, but what we are doing before the next one to prepare our communities. Whether it’s unique websites, school curriculum programs, or a focus on exercises and training (to name a few), every day new things are being done to help prepare for tomorrow’s emergency. One disaster can affect a community forever, and our job has never been more important, but we continue to make strides in how well we can respond. Our communities, families, and nation depend on it.

Capt. Emmitt McGowan
Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and Commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division

“The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) is continually looking for opportunities to engage with our residents and encourage emergency preparedness.

One of the most successful campaigns is our implementation of the Student Tools for Emergency Planning (STEP) program. Created by FEMA, the program teaches fifth-grade students strategies to employ at home to prepare for emergencies. Each year, 10,000 Michigan fifth-grade students participate in the program and, in an effort to offer the program to more students, the MSP/EMHSD has created a STEP sponsorship packet to provide information to potential sponsors.

MSP/EMHSD also recognizes the need for preparedness of first responders and their families. During Hurricane Katrina, it was learned that some responders were reluctant to leave their families during the response. To address this concern, we created the Ready Responder program to educate personnel of any response agency of the importance of personal preparedness at home. The Ready Responder kit, which includes educational videos, emergency plan templates and other materials, encourages responders to work with their families to create a family preparedness plan. Ready Responder kits have been sent to every fire, police, and EMS agency in the state of Michigan.”


By Beth Loy: For More Info, Go Here…

Imagine hearing certain everyday sounds that seriously upset you, even make you angry. Understand that these sounds are very common. The sounds of chewing, breathing, yawning, tapping, and keyboard typing are considered ‘normal’ and are often ignored by most people as background noises in everyday listening. However, for some people, these sounds are not only a distraction, but also evoke strong feelings of anger or disgust accompanied by an urge to escape the environment from which the sounds originate.

Misophonia (hatred of sounds) is the name given to the condition marked by sensitivity to a select group of sounds. According to the International OCD Foundation and the NCBI(National Center for Biotechnical Information), misophonia is not a diagnosis found in the DSM-5, but it might be closely related to obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, and specific phobias. Since the sounds that act as triggers in this condition are quite common at home, in the workplace, and in social gatherings, misophonia can have devastating effects on employment, and the social, family, and personal lives of those affected by it.

JAN receives inquiries as to what can be done to assist employees with misophonia in the workplace. So what can an employer do about the trigger sounds at work, considering that they are highly common ones? There may only be so much one can do to escape the workplace and its sounds, right? How can an individual handle the triggers when working with many others in large open spaces or with just a few coworkers in a smaller space?

Consider the following accommodation ideas on how to reduce or eliminate the incidence of particular sounds that cause the workplace issues, or alleviate the reactions to the sounds to help the employee better manage her emotions.

Stimulation of the ear can help manage Parkinson’s symptoms

From Neuroscience News: For More Info, Go Here…

Summary: A headset that stimulates the ear canal improves both motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The effects of the stimulation appear to have a lasting effect following treatment.

The randomized, controlled study, led by the University of Kent, UK, showed that twice-daily stimulation for two months was associated with a significant reduction in both motor and non-motor features of Parkinson’s disease.

Participants reported greater movement and mobility, and also showed improvements in decision-making, attention, memory, mood, and sleep. Participants also said that by the end of the study they found it easier to perform every day activities by themselves.

Most of the therapeutic gains were greatest five weeks after the end of treatment suggesting that the treatment may have long-lasting effects.

The stimulation therapy was performed at home using a portable headset produced exclusively for clinical investigations by Scion Neurostim, a US-based device company. Participants continued to take their regular dopamine replacement therapy while using the ‘easy to use’ device.

What is the link between sleep apnea and depression?

By Ana Sandoiu: For More Info, Go Here…

New research has explored the link between sleep apnea and depression and suggests that the former may be one reason that depression treatments fail.

Around 20–30% of people with depression and other mood disorders do not get the help they need from existing therapies.

Depression is the “leading cause of disabilityworldwide.”

For this reason, coming up with effective therapies is paramount.

New research points to obstructive sleep apnea(OSA) as a potential culprit for treatment resistant depression and suggests that screening for and treating the sleep condition may alleviate symptoms of depression.

A Disability That Does Not Count

By Ronan J. O’Shea: For More Info, Go Here…

Dyspraxia is hard to diagnose, more common than people realize, and affects every aspect of my life.

Conversation was flowing when I noticed that my hands had turned blue, the dye from my new jeans having run on to them. I showed her what had happened, and, through fitfully antipodean laughter, she said: “Ronan, you are the most awkward man I have ever met.”

She was correct.

My attempt to buy ethically sourced (and runny-dye) jeans had backfired, sure, but the overall awkwardness was not atypical for me.

I am dyspraxic. I’m clumsy, I stumble over words as much as curbsides, bump into table edges as often as I do familiar faces at my local pub. Like many dyspraxics, I have trouble with handwriting, coordination, and sequencing, all typical symptoms of a condition which, in the U.K. at least (and I’d bet in the United States, too) is largely considered a joke.

Most people are clueless what it means when I say I’m dyspraxic, comparing my handwriting to “a doctor’s,” my inability to remember recently seen information to bone idleness, my mistakes to a lack of professionalism. Generally, they’re wrong — though my handwriting is that bad.

For most people, the left-hand side of the brain controls what the right-hand side of the body does. For dyspraxics, that criss-cross functions more like a tangled jump rope. Dyspraxia manifests itself in numerous ways: from near-illegible handwriting to severe difficulties with physical movement. Like any learning difficulty, it varies in severity.

When’s the best time to take a warm bath for better sleep?

By Ana Sandoiu: For More Info, Go Here…

Taking a warm shower or bath before bedtime is a known way to improve sleep, but when’s the perfect time to do it? A new study has the answer.

Bathe 1–2 hours before bed for best sleep

The results of the analysis revealed that the best time for taking a shower or a bath is 1–2 hours before going to bed. The duration of the shower or bath does not need to be longer than 10 minutes for a person to reap the benefits.

This cools the body down by improving the blood circulation from the core of the body to its periphery — that is, to the hands and feet.

Taking a warm shower or bath at this time improves the “temperature circadian rhythm,” helping people fall asleep more quickly and improving sleep quality, explain the study authors.

3 Practical strategies to support choice and control for all people

From Assistware: For More Info, Go Here…

All people who struggle with communication can be supported to make their own decisions. There are many tools and strategies that can help with this.

This article describes simple tools and strategies to support every person to understand, compare and express their preferences as they make decisions. These strategies apply even if they are still learning to use words or AAC to fully express themselves.

What does supported decision-making include?

In ‘Real choices, real control: support for decision-making when you cannot speak’ we explain the process of supported decision-making. It aims to help AAC users to discover:

  • Who they are as an individual and what makes them unique;
  • What is important to them, what is not negotiable and what they prioritize in their life above all else;
  • Who they want help from to make decisions;
  • What communication partners need to know about how the person communicates so that they can respond in a way that is respectful and acted upon;
  • What support is needed so they fully understand the information and choices given to them;
  • What decisions they can make for themselves, and which decisions they need support with;
  • When they need this support, e.g. regularly and daily, or occasional?
  • sounds and vocalizations, like a happy squeal for joy or a groan for discomfort
  • gestures, such as reaching for what they want or pushing away what they don’t
  • facial expressions, such as a smile or grimace
  • body movements, such as turning towards/away from what interests/disinterests them, or walking away from an unpleasant environment.

Three steps

‘This Close’: Sundance TV’s Dramedy Returns to Explore Nuances of Life Within the Deaf Community

By Libby Hill: For More Info, Go Here…

The series will delve even further into how complicated issues, including mental illness that impact the hard of hearing.

Entering its second season, Sundance TV’s groundbreaking dramedy “This Close” is closing ranks, focusing more intently than ever on pressing issues within the Deaf community.

“I think it’s really important to talk about these issues, particularly in our community. We have so little representation on the screen,” co-creator and co-star Josh Feldman said Thursday at a panel for the series the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.

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