‘End this scam’: Calls erupt to ban private Medicare plans as scandals mount

By Brett Wilkins: For Complete Post, Click Here…

As yet another scandal involving Medicare Advantage made headlines this week, progressive U.S. lawmakers and advocates renewed calls to abolish the private health insurance program that a recent Senate report said is “running amok” with “fraudsters and scam artists.”

In a new Nationarticle written with health insurance reform advocate Wendell Potter, Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) contend that one of the most confusing things facing elders while choosing their Medicare plans “is a scheme by private insurance companies to prey on seniors and profit off of the Medicare brand, all in the name of padding their corporate profits and shareholder returns.”

“The scheme is called Medicare Advantage. But in reality, so-called ‘Medicare Advantage’ is neither Medicare nor an advantage,” wrote the lawmakers, who earlier this year introduced legislation that, if passed, would ban private insurance plans from using the Medicare name.

“It’s actually just private insurance that uses the trusted Medicare name to trick seniors and people with disabilities into enrolling, then profits by denying coverage for necessary medical care,” Khanna and Pocan added. “It is long past time for Congress to end this scam and ensure that consumers get accurate information about their healthcare options.”

Designing for people with dyscalculia and low numeracy

By Jane McFayde: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Dyscalculia (Dis – Cal – Coo – Lia) is a specific and persistent difficulty in understanding numbers.

It makes it hard for someone to read, understand and work with numbers. It impacts the ability to handle money, like counting change, telling and managing time, estimating how long things take, understanding percentages, and remembering number facts.

Dyscalculia also affects someone’s working memory. It impacts everyday things like remembering items on a shopping list, following instructions, phone numbers, PINs or game scores.

It means people miss trains, withdraw the wrong amount of money from cash machines, get locked out of their accounts, and sign contracts they don’t understand.  

People can be unaware they have dyscalculia but know they struggle with numbers.

Internet treatment for anger works

From Karolinska Institute: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The study, which the researchers have chosen to call the “anger study”, is the first to compare different internet-mediated emotion regulation strategies against anger. The results are expected to be important for understanding emotion regulation and for the dissemination of evidence-based methods.

Easy to recruit participants

“It is usually very difficult to recruit participants for treatment studies. For the anger study, however, it was very easy, and we had to close the recruitment site after a few weeks due to the high number of applicants. This suggests that there is a pent-up need for the psychological treatment of anger. Many people who have problems with anger feel ashamed, and we think the internet format suits this group particularly well because they don’t have to wait in a reception room or sit face-to-face with a therapist and talk about their anger,” says Johan Bjureberg, assistant professor at the Centre for Psychiatry Research at Karolinska Institutet and researcher responsible for the study, which was carried out in collaboration with researchers at Örebro University in Sweden.

The anger study has evaluated the effect of two emotion regulation strategies: mindful emotion awareness; and cognitive reappraisal. Mindful emotion awareness focuses on the ability to notice and accept one’s feelings and thoughts without judging or acting on them. Cognitive reappraisal, on the other hand, focuses on the ability to reinterpret thoughts and situations and identify alternative thoughts that do not trigger difficult feelings.

The 234 participants, all with significant anger problems, were randomly assigned to four weeks of either mindful emotion awareness, cognitive reappraisal, or a combination of these two strategies. All treatments were of approximately the same length and were associated with decreased self-reported anger and aggressiveness at the end of the treatment.

Combination therapy most effective

The combined treatment resulted in significantly lower levels of outward anger expression, aggression, and anger rumination, but not anger suppression, compared to mindful emotion awareness or cognitive reappraisal alone. The combination was particularly effective for participants who were experiencing very high levels of anger at the start of the study. The results strengthen research and theories suggesting that difficulties in regulating emotions and interpreting events and situations can be a major contributing factor to problems in managing anger.

“Our results suggest that a very short treatment of only four weeks administered over the internet with minimal therapist support is effective in reducing anger problems. Our hope is that follow-up studies support this finding and that the treatment can be offered broadly within regular care,” explains Johan Bjureberg.

Pride Mobility’s New Travel Power Wheelchair Weighs 43 Pounds and Folds to Fit in a Car

By Michael Franz: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Pride Mobility has released the Jazzy Carbon, a lightweight portable power wheelchair designed with travelers in mind. It’s made with a carbon fiber and aluminum frame that weighs in at 39.4 pounds or 43.6 pounds with the battery attached. The frame folds quickly for easy storage in a car or on an airplane. 

The Jazzy Carbon is equipped with an FAA-compliant removable lithium battery with a maximum range of 9.3 miles per charge. It also features a removable joystick with an integrated USB charger, a removable cushion, a padded backrest with storage and under-seat storage. The Jazzy Carbon has a top speed of 3.7 mph, a front suspension system for a smooth ride and a freewheel mode so it can be pushed by a caregiver. 

“By expanding our retail lineup with more travel products, our providers can meet the needs of additional customers who want to travel but require a power chair to do so,” said Jeff Distasio, vice president of Pride Sales. “The Jazzy Carbon takes it one step further with fantastic selling features, like the standard lithium battery, storage and a removable joystick.” 

The Jazzy Carbon is available from a variety of vendors starting around $2,499. For more information, please visit the opens in a new windowJazzy Carbon website. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment Seen as Substandard for Most Patients

by John Gever: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Study highlights ways to boost RA care quality.

Clinicians could improve outcomes in their patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by paying attention to certain markers of care quality, such as early referral to certified rheumatologists and prescribing standard drugs for RA, new research suggested.

Tellingly, the analysis of insurance claims data covering more than half a million RA patients found that fewer than half had been referred to a rheumatologist within 1 year of initial diagnosis, according to Kevin C. Chung, MD, MS, of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues — and other quality markers were met even less often.

In fact, management in fully 31.3% met none of six care quality markers examined in the study, reported in JAMA Network Openopens in a new tab or window. The six were derived from Arthritis Foundation recommendationsopens in a new tab or window and included:

  • Rheumatologist referral
  • Prescription of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) coupled with hepatitis B screening
  • Hand x-rays in first year after diagnosis
  • Annual physical exam
  • Annual lab testing
  • Referral for occupational or physical therapy or hand surgery

The 6 Best Smartphone Apps for Children With Autism

BY ALEX MUJICA: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The Google Play Store is flooded with apps for children to enjoy, but many are designed for entertainment and early learning. There is an underserved population of children, though, that has another set of needs: children with autism.

For the parents of these children (and I am one of them), it can be a struggle finding digital resources to help your children learn about the complex world around them. So we’ve selected some of the best Android or iPhone apps you can use below.

Apps for Communication (AAC)

Apps for Fine Motor Skills

Apps for Social-Emotional Learning

Know your rights: Caregivers and nursing home debt

From Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Helping someone you love to move into a nursing home can be stressful enough. Nursing homes should not try to make you personally responsible for a loved one’s bill as a condition of admission.

Advocates for Mentally Ill New Yorkers Ask Court to Halt Removal Plan

By Andy Newman: For Complete Post, Click Here…

New York City’s new plan to take more mentally ill homeless people to hospitals against their will if they are deemed a danger to themselves met its first legal challenge on Thursday.

In a federal court motion filed in an existing lawsuit, a civil rights law firm argued that the new policy “lowers the standard for involuntary detentions and hospitalization” to such a degree that people could end up being forcibly hospitalized “solely because an N.Y.P.D. officer perceives them to have a mental disability and nothing more.”

The motion said the policy violates constitutional rights to due process and to protection from improper search and seizure. It calls for a temporary restraining order to block the plan from taking effect.Police officers, the filing says, have “little to no expertise” in handling people with mental disabilities who could be “forcefully — often violently — detained.”

Active Hands Company: Products for reduced hand function

Active Hands make gripping aids that gently, yet firmly hold your hand into a gripping shape enabling you to hold tightly onto objects from hammers to garden tools; gym equipment to drumsticks; ski-outriggers to boat tillers; adaptive bike handles to musical instruments; and many more. Our gripping aids are designed so that the user can put them on independently. Our Small Item gripping aid is great for holding smaller items such as make-up brushes, personal care items, cutlery, pens and paintbrushes.

Our gripping aids are ideal for tetraplegic/quadriplegics, those with Cerebral Palsy, stroke recovery or any disability that affects hand function. Some of our products are also suitable for those with limb difference.

Active Hands can give you more freedom – take a look at our How to section to give you more ideas on how you can increase your independence using our gripping products.

Blind Americans Pay in Time and Money for Inaccessible Bills

By Lauren Weber and Hannah Recht: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Health-care systems across the nation are sending inaccessible medical bills and notices to blind Americans, and breaking disability rights laws by doing so. So far, the patients are the ones being punished through lost time and money.

A Missouri man who is deaf and blind said a medical bill he didn’t know existed was sent to debt collections, triggering an 11 percent rise in his home insurance premiums.

An insurer has suspended a blind woman’s coverage every year since 2010 after mailing printed “verification of benefits” forms to her California home that she cannot read, she said. The issues continued even after she got a lawyer involved.

And another insurer kept sending a visually impaired Indiana woman bills she said she could not read, even after her complaint to the Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights led to corrective actions.