Quotes 2022

Visit the Quotes 2021 page for older quotes.

December 19, 2022

“A lot of people think of long covid as associated with long-term illness. This shows it can be a cause of death.”

Farida Ahmad, a health scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Long covid can be deadly, CDC study finds, Washington Post (free access), December 14, 2022

“A big part of the message is changing the paradigm of long-term care from a reactive approach—you end up in a nursing home, we’ll support you when you run out of money—to putting the investment up front, create bridges that will support you when you need the support so you can live at home for as long as you need to, in the hands of trained caregivers that will care for you.”

Will Healthcare Be Able to Handle the Silver Tsunami in 2030?, healthleaders, December 7, 2022

(T)he United States Census Bureau stated that, for the first time ever, there will be more older adults (over the age of 65) than children. By 2034, there will be 77 million people 65 years and older compared to 76.5 million under the age of 18.

Will Healthcare Be Able to Handle the Silver Tsunami in 2030?, healthleaders, December 7, 2022

While reputable and well-run care facilities can provide security and support for patients, such safety is typically accomplished by providing diligent supervision and significant restrictions to the personal freedom of residents. In such environments, the comforts and familiarity of home are also often left behind.

An Elevated Approach to Alzheimer’s Care: Inside the European Facilities Prioritizing Autonomy, Nicenews.com, December 9, 2022

With updated COVID-19 vaccines, at-home tests, and effective oral antiviral treatments widely available, the [Biden] Administration encourages every individual American to have a plan for how to prevent and respond to COVID-19 this winter. CDC has launched a COVID-19 Personal Action Plan, an easy-to-use guide for individuals, caregivers, and clinicians that helps guide individuals through making a plan for where to access free tests, the location of their closest Test to Treat site, and what to ask their provider on treatments if they test positive.

Biden Administration Announces COVID-⁠19 Winter Preparedness Plan, The White House, December 15, 2022

“I never imagined that I would get the reaction that I got. ‘Oh, absolutely no, we cannot send you a power plug,’ he recalled them telling him. “‘You’re not qualified to work on our pressure-driven transport ventilator. You haven’t attended our service school.’”

Scot Mackeil, a senior biomedical engineering technologist based in Quincy, Massachusetts, ‘Right to repair’ movement gains momentum in the tightly controlled world of medical devices, *STAT+ , December 14, 2022

“We’re still being incredibly myopic about our viewpoint of what long Covid is. And so, we’re not studying all of the ways that it is causing loss of life. It’s very, very clear that the majority of these cases were related to individuals who had severe acute disease and were struggling to recover from severe acute disease. The truth is, there are many, many more — orders of magnitude more — folks who initially did not have severe acute disease but went on to develop these highly debilitating symptoms.”

David Putrino, director of rehabilitation innovation at Mount Sinai Health System who started one of the first long Covid clinics in the U.S., Death certificate records of long Covid are a ‘floor of an estimate,’ experts say, STAT News, December 14, 2022

Amid a weakening macroeconomic environment and ongoing pressure by private and public payers to reduce healthcare costs, a growing number of healthcare companies are faced with credit rating downgrades and potential default.

Healthcare companies’ default risk steadily rising, with most owned by private equity: Moody’s, Fierce Healthcare, December 12, 2022

For-profit programs consistently excel on one measure: making money. The Medicare Payment Advisory Committee reported that for-profit hospices achieved a Medicare aggregate financial margin of 19.2% in 2019 compared to 6.0% for nonprofit programs. . .

The founder of hospice, Dame Cicely Saunders, once observed, “How people die remains in the memory of those who live on.” Her statement inspired a generation of hospice workers. It now reads as a warning about the hazards of commodified hospice care.

Dr. Ira Byock, emeritus professor of medicine and community and family medicine at the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine and a past president of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Hospice care needs saving, STAT News, December 14, 2022

“When a veteran who has given so much to the country can’t access services because of a problem like that, that shouldn’t just be a cause for concern but should be a call for action.”

Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), Blind and disabled veterans can’t access VA websites, report says, *Washington Post, December 14, 2022 (updated)

For the reasons stated above, we respectfully request this Court allow for direct appellate review of the Superior Court’s decision.


December 12, 2022

The United States is one of the few developed countries that does not have a national long-term care planning and financing strategy to respond to the needs of a growing aging population that wants to receive affordable care in their homes and communities.

A Focus on Health Care: Five Key Priorities for the Next Administration, Massachusetts Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, December 2022

For many stakeholders, the pandemic created or renewed a call to action to ensure that all Massachusetts residents who need LTSS can find and access that care quickly, safely, holistically, and affordably as part of a social right to overall health and well-being. Dignity Alliance Massachusetts, an advocacy group that organized during the pandemic as a direct result of the COVID-19 deaths in Massachusetts’ nursing and veteran’s homes, is “dedicated to transformative change to ensure the dignity of older adults, people with disabilities, and their caregivers” in both institutional and community LTSS settings.

A Focus on Health Care: Five Key Priorities for the Next Administration, Massachusetts Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, December 2022

“I’m concerned about the uptick in hospitalizations and deaths among seniors and concerned about the lack of urgency at my mother’s nursing home in getting the residents and staff vaccinated” with the latest booster.

Cissy Sanders of Austin, Texas, whose 73-year-old mother is a nursing home resident, Hospitalizations signal rising COVID-19 risk for US seniors, AP News, December 11, 2022

“It’s not going away. It’s here to stay. We’re going to get a new variant, and who knows how aggressive that variant is going to be? That keeps me up at night.”

Dr. Walid Michelen, chief medical officer for seven nonprofit nursing homes operated by the Archdiocese of New York, Hospitalizations signal rising COVID-19 risk for US seniors, AP News, December 11, 2022

“(O)n any given day, they have five to 10 patients waiting in the hospital for long-term care. Not all have dementia; some have serious psychiatric disorders or are impaired because of substance abuse or traumatic brain injury. Some may have been homeless, incarcerated, or violent.”

Kathleen Boyd, care management director, Rutland (VT) Regional Medical Center, Limited nursing home beds force hospitals to keep patients longer, NPR Morning Edition, December 7, 2022

December 5, 2022

Out of 15,428 nursing homes in the U.S., more than three-quarters – 11,757 – had fewer nurses and aides in 2021 than expected under Medicare’s payment formula. Regulators cited only 589 of them for short staffing. The failure to penalize facilities for understaffing persists across multiple federal benchmarks.

Dying for care: Many nursing homes are poorly staffed. How do they get away with it?, *USA Today, December 2, 2022 (updated)

How long will we have to wait for . . . change? For too many, it is already too late.

Richard Mollot, Executive Director, Long Term Care Community Connection,  nursinghome411.org

Somehow, somebody is making money off of this and it certainly isn’t the caregivers. I’m tired to my soul.

Barbara Decelles, registered nurse who worked for 38 years at senior care centers before quitting, Dying for care: Many nursing homes are poorly staffed. How do they get away with it?, *USA Today, December 2, 2022 (updated)

I couldn’t work there after a while because it was too heartbreaking. It’s not because the staff isn’t trying. It’s just because there’s not enough staffing.

Mary Anne Miller, a retired physical therapist who worked at Alden Lakeland in Illinois in 2018 and 2019, Dying for care: Many nursing homes are poorly staffed. How do they get away with it?, *USA Today, December 2, 2022 (updated)

“I’ve been advocating … for years now, for not just transparency and accountability with regard to nursing homes themselves, but also the resources that will bring about that transparency, accountability and better performance.”

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., Dying for care: Many nursing homes are poorly staffed. How do they get away with it?, *USA Today, December 2, 2022 (updated)

“We didn’t check our will, our dignity, our rights at the door when we checked into these nursing homes, and people keep forgetting that.”

Maurice, a nursing home resident in Maryland, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

“I can see a time when [I am not able to manage on my own]. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about it.”

Lynne Ingersoll, 77-year-old retired librarian, who never married or had children and has outlived her parents, three partners, her two closest friends, five dogs and eight cats, Who Will Care for ‘Kinless’ Seniors?, *New York Times, December 3, 2022

“Homelessness is driven by the gap between rents and income and the lack of affordable housing, and mental health challenges for both housed and unhoused people are driven by the lack of enough community-based mental health services.”

Steven Banks, the former New York City commissioner for social services, New York’s Plan to Address Crisis of Mentally Ill Faces High Hurdles, *New York Times, November 30, 2022

“If it’s done in a coordinated way, it could be really helpful to people’s ability to live healthy and fulfilling lives. If it’s done in a messy and uncoordinated way, we have real concerns.”

Jody Rudin, a former deputy commissioner of homeless services for New York City who is now C.E.O. of the Institute for Community Living, New York’s Plan to Address Crisis of Mentally Ill Faces High Hurdles, *New York Times, November 30, 2022

Experts say the best place to put someone with severe mental illness after they leave a hospital is usually in supportive housing, which comes with on-site social services, and has the best track record for keeping people stable over the long haul. But though the city and state are accelerating plans to create more supportive housing, it is in such short supply that four of five qualified applicants are turned away.

New York’s Plan to Address Crisis of Mentally Ill Faces High Hurdles, *New York Times, November 30, 2022

“Often the wrong responder & response is what creates a deadly situation, not the mental health crisis itself.”

New York City Councilwoman Tiffany Cabán, New York City to Involuntarily Remove Mentally Ill People from Streets*New York Times, November 29, 2022

Some epidemiologists and demographers predict the trend of older, sicker, and poorer people dying [due to Covid related conditions] at disproportionate rates will continue, raising hard questions about the trade-offs Americans are making in pursuit of normalcy — and at whose expense.

Covid becomes plague of elderly, reviving debate over ‘acceptable loss’, *Washington Post, November 30, 2022 (updated)

In 2020, persons reaching age 65 had an average life expectancy of an additional 18.5 years (19.8 years for women and 17.0 years for men). This is a decrease from 2019 when the average was 19.6 years. . . People aged 65 and older represented 17% of the population in the year 2020 but are expected to grow to be 22% of the population by 2040. . . The educational level of the older population is increasing. Between 1970 and 2021, the percentage of older persons who had completed high school rose from 28% to 89%. . . Consumers aged 65 and older averaged out-of-pocket health care expenditures of $6,668 in 2020, an increase of 38% since 2010 ($4,843). . . In 2021, 10.6 million (18.9%) Americans aged 65 and older were in the labor force (working or actively seeking work). . . In 2017-2018, 40.4 million family caregivers provided unpaid care to a family  or non-family member aged 65 and older.

2021 Profile of Older Americans, Administration on Community Living

November 28, 2022

It’s time for real transparency and full disclosure to justify any more taxpayer bailouts for an industry that older adults and others believe has failed them.

Former State Senator Richard T. Moore, Chair Dignity Alliance Massachusetts Legislative Workgroup, Are nursing homes really in tough shape?, CommonWealth Magazine, November 26, 2022

(Arlene) Germain, (Dignity Alliance Massachusetts Facilities Workgroup Chair,) said if nursing homes paid and managed their workforce better, there would be less turnover and fewer staffing emergencies.

“These people are taking care of lives, so they need to be paid for the type of work that they’re doing. If the state does impose one of these teams on a nursing home, it should go hand in hand that there would also be an admission freeze because the residents are obviously in jeopardy.”

25 Investigates: Nursing home staffing emergencies cost MA taxpayers $82 million, Boston 25 News, November 21, 2022

“People think everyone would have Alzheimer’s and other diseases at this age, and it’s not true. (‘SuperAgers’) have a history of aging very slowly and they greatly delay disability with the diseases they have.”

Dr. Thomas Perls, professor of medicine at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, and a co-investigator of the SuperAgers Family study, The secret to longer, healthier life? Ambitious new trial focuses on ‘super agers’ and seeks thousands of families. *Boston Globe, November 27, 2022

“It’s picking your grandparents well.”

Dr. Thomas Perls, professor of medicine at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, and a co-investigator of the SuperAgers Family study, indicating a primary factor in successful aging past 90 years old, The secret to longer, healthier life? Ambitious new trial focuses on ‘super agers’ and seeks thousands of families. *Boston Globe, November 27, 2022

“He was put in the bowels of hell.”

Dave Scott, describing the experience of his brother, John, who was born in 1955 with spina bifida and was institutionalized at the Metropolitan State Hospital in Waltham, ‘Bowels of hell’: Commission to probe history of Mass. state institutions, MassLive.com, November 25, 2022

“Let’s start telling a story about what it means to have ability, what it means to have disability in this country. That is the true and full and complete story of this country. [The MetFern cemetery] right here is symbolic of the erasure of that American story.”

Yoni Kadden, chair of the Gann Academy history department in Waltham, ‘Bowels of hell’: Commission to probe history of Mass. state institutions, MassLive.com, November 25, 2022

“If something happens to them [her support network consisting of grandparents and friends], I’m not certain what would happen to me, especially because I have difficulty with navigating things that require more red tape. I like being able to know what to expect, and thinking about the future is a bit terrifying to me.”

Courtney Johnson, a 25-year-old college student who has autism and multiple chronic illnesses, Impending Intergenerational Crisis’: Americans with Disabilities Lack Long-Term Care Plans, Kaiser Health News, November 11, 2022

“This is an impending intergenerational crisis. It’s a crisis for the aging parents, and it’s a crisis for their adult offspring with and without disabilities.”

Meghan Burke, an associate professor of special education at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, ‘Impending Intergenerational Crisis’: Americans with Disabilities Lack Long-Term Care Plans, Kaiser Health News, November 11, 2022

“No one will just sit down and tell me what is going to happen to my son. You know, what are his options, really? We’re trying to put that scaffolding in place, primarily to protect Rob’s ability to make his own decisions.”

Jeneva Stone whose 25-year-old son, Rob needs complex care due to dystonia, ‘Impending Intergenerational Crisis’: Americans with Disabilities Lack Long-Term Care Plans, Kaiser Health News, November 11, 2022

“As a parent, you will take care of your child as well as you can for as long as you can, but then nobody after you pass away will love them or care for them the way that you did.”

Philip Woody, whose 25-year-old son, Evan, has a traumatic brain injury, ‘Impending Intergenerational Crisis’: Americans with Disabilities Lack Long-Term Care Plans, Kaiser Health News, November 11, 2022

Nearly 2 in 5 (38%) state and federal prisoners had at least one disability in 2016. The most commonly reported type of disability among both state and federal prisoners was a cognitive disability (23%), followed by ambulatory (12%) and vision (11%) disabilities. Nearly a quarter of all prisoners reported participating in special education classes (24%).

Disabilities Reported by Prisoners: Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016, U. S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, March 2021

“We are at a critical point. People — and not just advocates, but our residents — need to start asking themselves, ‘If we don’t develop here, where will we do it? And if some kind of change to the way we view development doesn’t happen now, when? This isn’t about one apartment complex, it’s about the sustained economic vitality of our region.”

Paul Niedzwiecki, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, On a Cape Cod golf course, the region’s housing crisis comes to a head, *Boston Globe, November 27, 2022

“There’s this mentality that ‘this can’t go on,’ and I question the ethical soundness of that. Why can’t it? Especially when we consider the considerable resources expended on numerous non-ECMO patients with no chance of survival who may spend weeks or months in the I.C.U. at the insistence of their families.”

Dr. Kenneth Prager, the director of clinical ethics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, When the Treatment of Last Resort Sends a Life into Limbo, New York Times (free access), November 27, 2022

November 21, 2022

With a pileup of health spending requests packed into a post-election session, the [nursing home and home health care] industries will be vying with doctors, hospitals, and other provider groups for year-end gifts. “December is going to be a mess.”

Chris Meekins, Raymond James analyst, Home health, nursing homes look for year-end breaks in spending deal, Axios, October 4, 2022

As private equity continues to consolidate the home healthcare and hospice industries through acquisitions and add-on investments, it is increasingly important to ensure that private equity’s outsized profits do not come at the expense of patient care. Policymakers should implement laws that promote greater transparency and oversight over private equity transactions in the home healthcare and hospice industries to guard against excesses that could harm patients and employees alike.

Private Equity at Home: Wall Street’s Incursion into the Home Healthcare and Hospice Industries, Private Equity Stakeholder Project, March 2022

“This is not just an issue. This is a crisis. We are caring for patients in the hallways of our emergency departments. There is a huge capacity crisis, and it’s becoming more and more impossible to take care of patients correctly and provide the best care that we all need to be providing.”

Anne Klibanski, president and CEO of Mass General Brigham, RSV, covid and flu push hospitals to the brink — and it may get worse, *Washington Post, November 20, 2022

“It’s never too late (to follow your dream)”.

Angela Alvarez, 95-year-old Grammy winner, Grandmother wins her first Latin Grammy at the age of 95, Today – NBC, November 17, 2022

This idea that old age is associated with only declines is not true. There are studies that have been done all over the world which show that in people who keep active physically, socially, mentally, and cognitively there is increased connectivity among specific networks, and even new neurons and synapses can form in selected brain regions with older age.”

Dr. Dilip Jeste, a psychiatrist who has studied aging at the University of California, San Diego, President Biden Is Turning 80. Experts Say Age Is More Than a Number. New York Times (free access), November 19, 2022

“When people need long-term care, where are those beds going to be? If people need in-home care, which is in many ways preferable to being institutionalized, how are we going to pay for that? Right now, our health care systems are not well set up to support that kind of care.”

Michael Steinman, professor at the University of California, San Francisco’s Division of Geriatrics, Boomers’ caregiving crisis, Axios, November 19, 2022

“We need to grow home and community-based care options while reimagining what a nursing home might look like.”

David Grabowski, Harvard University health care policy professor, Home health, nursing homes look for year-end breaks in spending deal, Axios, October 4, 2022

“This is a crisis for seniors to get better access to care because it’s costing all of us a fortune.”

Carmine Petrone, managing director, Advent International, Private equity’s elder care race, Axios, November 19, 2022

The investment angle is huge. “When you’re talking about 50 million people and growing that are over the age of 65, that’s multiple segments with multiple needs.”

Meera Mani, Town Hall Ventures, Private equity’s elder care race, Axios, November 19, 2022

“The goal of this transition is to support and build a talented team that’s prepared to begin to deliver for people on day one.”

Kim Driscoll, Massachusetts Lt. Governor-Elect, Here are the Healey administration’s transition policy committees, Mass.live.com, November 18, 2022

The task may be herculean, but clean hands are needed to power wash the Augean stables.

Margaret Morganroth Gullette, Resident Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University and a member of Dignity Alliance Massachusetts, Next administration has tall order: dig into state’s nursing homes, *Boston Globe, November 18, 2022

The exponential growth in these private equity investments in recent years “has been associated with a host of trends that are negatively impacting the American people” — including an increase in nursing home mortality rates. [There is a] need to “better understand” the consequences of private equity’s involvement in health care and “the far-reaching impact” of “bankruptcies or closures following PE buyouts.”

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), who chairs the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, Private Equity Ownership of Nursing Homes Triggers Capitol Hill Questions — And a GAO Probe, Kaiser Health News, April 18, 2022

November 14, 2022

“Everyday ageism refers to those sorts of minor comments, interactions, exposures that suggest that aging is undesirable. It’s things like, you know, all the birthday cards making jokes about wrinkles and walkers. It’s interactions where someone assumes that an older adult can’t use their phone or other forms of technology. And it’s also when older adults tend to believe some of these assumptions and prejudices about older adults themselves.”

Julie Ober Allen, University of Oklahoma professor, Fighting back against ageism, CBS Sunday Morning, November 13, 2022

As private equity extends its reach into health care, evidence is mounting that the penetration has led to higher prices and diminished quality of care, a KHN investigation has found. KHN found that companies owned or managed by private equity firms have agreed to pay fines of more than $500 million since 2014 to settle at least 34 lawsuits filed under the False Claims Act, a federal law that punishes false billing submissions to the federal government with fines. Most of the time, the private equity owners have avoided liability.

KFF’s Kaiser Health News Investigates Private Equity’s Stealth Takeover of Health Care in the United States, Kaiser Family Foundation, November 14, 2022, new investigation by KFF’s Kaiser Health News

“The main way of making the bottom line look good is decreasing visits.”

Dr. Joan Teno, an adjunct professor at Brown University School of Public Health, Hospices Have Become Big Business for Private Equity Firms, Raising Concerns About End-of-Life Care, Kaiser Health News, July 19, 2022

“It is a little scary. There are people that have no business being in health care”

Steve Larkin, CEO of Charter Healthcare, a hospice chain owned by the private equity firm Pharos Capital Group, Hospices Have Become Big Business for Private Equity Firms, Raising Concerns About End-of-Life Care, Kaiser Health News, July 19, 2022

“You’ll find that individuals are often coming up short by about $1,000 a month in order to meet their true needs. As a result, many older people must make hard choices about whether to pay for daily needs such as food and medication or rent. Others simply can’t stretch their money and must leave their homes.”

Ramsey Alwin, president and CEO of the National Council on Aging, More older Americans become homeless as inflation rises and housing costs spike, WGBH, November 10, 2022

“Folks who live in manufactured housing are especially vulnerable to displacement via eviction, via unreasonable imposition of new rules, or new fees or rent hikes.”

Zachary Lamb, assistant professor of city and regional planning at UC Berkeley, WGBH, October 20, 2022, Fighting to keep mobile homes affordable,

“Neither the federal government nor the states can possibly investigate and remedy every violation of these rights that are given to people. Federal law speaks clearly that people have a right to go to court. Why shouldn’t we just respect our precedent?”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court skeptical of rejecting civil rights precedent, AP News, November 8, 2022

Accommodation is a nondisabled world that taps its toes and drums its fingers while it waits for the disabled to speak, or walk, or behave like everyone else. But that is not a world my daughter wants any part of, and frankly, neither do I.

Aimee Seiff Christian, You don’t have to be like everyone else,’ I tell my daughter. I hope she can believe me, WBUR Cognoscenti, November 8, 2022

“I think this is encouraging. We just need more people to get the darn booster.”

Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, commenting on promising results from Covid related studies, Pfizer, BioNTech report new Covid booster is more protective against recent Omicron variants than original vaccine, STAT News, November 6, 2022

November 7, 2022

The [Talevski] case could overturn over five decades of judicial precedent and undermine Congressional intent that individuals are able to use federal courts to enforce rights under federal programs.

What is at Stake for Medicaid in Supreme Court Case Health & Hospital Corp v. Talevski?, Kaiser Family Foundation, October 28, 2022

“All nursing facility residents should be able to enforce their right to be free from chemical restraints and illegal discharges. When nursing facilities violate these rights, the residents need to be able to seek the protection of the courts.”

Maame Gyamfi, senior attorney for the AARP Foundation, Why a Nursing Home Case Heard by SCOTUS Could Have Sweeping Implications, Skilled Nursing News, November 4, 2022

“The reach of an adverse decision [on the Talevski case] would be catastrophic. It would leave [Medicaid and programs that provide services for nutrition, housing and disabilities] really standing out there without a true enforcement mechanism.”

Jane Perkins, National Health Law Program attorney, A SCOTUS nursing home case could limit the rights of millions of patients, NPR Shots, November 6, 2022

. . . celebrities claim that seniors are missing out on benefits, including higher Social Security payments, in order to prompt seniors to call MA plan agent or broker hotlines.

Deceptive Marketing Practices Flourish in Medicare Advantage, Majority Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance

“The halls were lined with patients on stretchers and the nurses would say to you, ‘We are sorry, we have no beds.’ The lady across from me had a broken vertebrae in her neck, and there were people calling out for help. It was like a war zone.”

Janet Cook, who was waiting in the Emergency Room at Mass General with a bowel obstruction, Eight-hour waiting times. Patients leaving before being seen. Mass. hospital emergency departments are beyond the brink. *Boston Globe, November 5, 2022

More patients are opting for home health services over skilled nursing facilities.

In Post-Acute Care, Many Prefer to Go Home, Managed Healthcare Executive, April 14, 2022

Some groups of women are more vulnerable to intimate partner violence (IPV) due to particular risks and/or experiences: women with disabilities, elderly women, and immigrant women (DEI).

Cumulative Contexts of Vulnerability to Intimate Partner Violence Among Women With Disabilities, Elderly Women, and Immigrant Women: Prevalence, Risk Factors, Explanatory Theories, and Prevention, Sage Publications, May 26, 2020

“The system didn’t help her. I feel I helped her.”

Bill Hogan, an investigative journalist formerly of the Center for Public Integrity referencing his daughter who was adopted at age 3 from Russia who experienced multiple learning disabilities including dyslexia, Disabled kids fighting school placements ‘almost always lose,’ Va. suit says, *Washington Post, October 30, 2022

(T)he lack of standardized collection of patients’ disability status within EHRs (electronic health records) has limited progress toward addressing inequities for people with disabilities.

Health Care Equity Requires Standardized Disability Data in the HER, Health Affairs Forefront, October 27, 2022

COVID-19 hospitalizations increased slightly this week after nearly two months of decline, while omicron subvariants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 — dubbed ‘escape variants’ for their immune evasiveness — continued to gain prevalence nationwide.

US COVID-19 admissions tick up: 10 CDC finding, Becker’s Hospital Review, October 28, 2022

October 31, 2022

In New York City, about a third of residents over 65 live alone, at risk of becoming socially isolated — a condition that carries a health risk comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

The Mysterious Patient in Room 23: The Hermit Baroness, *New York Times, October 25, 2022 (updated)

From a health perspective, guardianship may indeed benefit her, by allowing her to move to a facility where she can regain some capacity to walk and swallow. Yet it is an involuntary measure that strips away her privacy and autonomy, two ideals she seems to have treasured above most others.

The Mysterious Patient in Room 23: The Hermit Baroness, *New York Times, October 25, 2022 (updated)

Social isolation was associated with about
a 50% increased risk of dementia and other
serious medical conditions.

Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“You use carrots, you use incentives, you use sticks, you use the bully pulpit.”

Attorney General Maura Healey, commenting on strategies to promote transit-oriented housing, NIMBYs bare their fangs at new Mass. housing law, *Boston Globe, October 26, 2022

“In the early days of the pandemic people were checking on each other. It’s absolutely more isolating now. It makes me feel kind of left behind and forgotten.”

Ariella Cohen Coleman, who adheres to Covid prevention guidelines, For those still trying to duck covid, the isolation is worse than ever, *Washington Post, October 26, 2022

In a time when society seems to prioritize youth and physical beauty and secretly manifests ageism in the job market, older adults are often rendered invisible. Yet, today, there are more than 46 million people who are 65 and older living in the U.S., a number that will grow to almost 90 million by 2050.

Marna Clarke: Time as We Know It, SF Camerawork

While it’s impossible to guess how bad the flu season will be, there is one thing that does look reasonable to assume. If the current levels of circulation of influenza and RSV virus continue or increase, there could be a lot of respiratory illness around Thanksgiving.

With hospitalizations ticking up, flu season appears off to an early start, STAT News, October 28, 2022

October 24, 2022

We know that a huge increase in the need for long-term care that is barreling our way will arrive in about 10 years. We can plan ahead and be prepared or wait for it to arrive and then deal with the crisis. Baby Boomers who will need the care should be urging state government to plan ahead. All of us who care about caregivers in Massachusetts should act now to improve their working conditions.

Care Work in Massachusetts: A Call for Racial and Economic Justice for a Neglected Sector, The Boston Foundation, September 2022

Nearly five million American seniors across the U.S. are living below or at the poverty line.  

The Price of Poverty: Seniors are feeling the squeeze,1A – NPR (Recorded report), October 19, 2022

“Physical health and moral virtue are not synonymous in Western culture, but they are closely related.”

Leonard Kriegel, in his essay included in “Falling into Life”, Leonard Kriegel, 89, Dies; Wrote Unflinchingly About His Disability, *New York Times, October 11, 2022

Residents must be informed of all their options and be offered acceptable opportunities for appropriate relocation. . . Experience with previous closures demonstrates that nursing home residents are able to live safely in homes in the community when resources are made available.

Paul Lanzikos, Coordinator, Dignity Alliance Massachusetts, Community options eyed as senior care homes close, consolidate, *Boston Globe, October 18, 2022

How we treat the vulnerable members of our society — homeless children, immigrants, people suffering from mental illness, people with disabilities, the elderly — is a reflection of our morality as a society.

Dr. Philip A. Lederer, Physicians for a National Health Program, Downsizing is appropriate, but rights of facilities’ residents should be respected, *Boston Globe, October 18, 2022

Each year more than 1 million Americans injure themselves on stairs — that’s an average of about 3,000 injuries per day, or one every 30 seconds — and the risk increases dramatically with age. . . as you get older changes in your coordination, strength and vision can make navigating a stairway more challenging.

8 Ways to Make the Stairs Safer at Home, AARP, October 8, 2022

“We’re getting more and more older people who lived through this experiment with do-it-yourself pensions, and they’re coming into this age group without the same kind of incomes that older people have. I don’t think it’s a blip.”

Teresa Ghilarducci,  economics professor at the New School who specializes in retirement policy, An Uptick in Elder Poverty: A Blip, or a Sign of Things to Come?, New York Times (free access), October 18, 2022

The CDC found that 24.3% of COVID deaths among adults 65 and older occurred in a nursing home or long-term care center, compared with 66.2% in a health care setting such as a hospital and 4.7% at home.

More older men than women died of COVID in 2020, Washington Times, October 8, 2022

“Homelessness is bad for your health.”

Thomas Byrne, social welfare policy professor at Boston University, Late baby boomers have long been vulnerable to homelessness. Now as they age, housing providers are struggling to keep up with their needs., *Boston Globe, October 22, 2022

October 17, 2022

“There’s at least 40,000 people with disabilities in the state who can trace much of their independence to Paul.”

Bill Henning, Executive Director, Boston Center for Independent Living, Disability community mourns the death of ‘fierce’ advocate Paul Spooner, GBH News, October 11, 2022

“I think everyone was in awe of Paul. He could simultaneously balance his incredible expertise on things that are, you know, public policy that’s very confusing and complex, with an incredible humanity and a real sort of forward-looking vision.”

Alex Green, public policy professor, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Disability community mourns the death of ‘fierce’ advocate Paul Spooner, GBH News, October 11, 2022

“I always say that he’s an advocate’s advocate. He’s the person you want to have by your side when you’re trying to get some legislation passed. He’s the one who’s going to push it more than anyone else.”

Joe Bellil, board president, MetroWest Center for Independent Living, Paul Spooner, advocate who expanded opportunities for the disabled, dies at 67, Boston Globe, October 15, 2022

“My parents never really treated me as having a disability that limited my abilities.”

Paul Spooner, Executive Director, MetroWest Center for Independent Living, Paul Spooner, advocate who expanded opportunities for the disabled, dies at 67, Boston Globe, October 15, 2022

“People believe disability is synonymous with negativity, and they don’t have a more expansive understanding of what disability is or an experience that’s more comprehensive. They don’t understand that you could be in need of care, a caregiver, and a community builder all at once. They see disability through the prism of a limitations lens only, and it has a much wider lens than that.”

Heather Watkins, a Boston disability rights activist and board member of the Disability Policy Consortium, Ableism is on the Ballot, Boston Globe, October 15, 2022

“Every day I tell myself I’m trying to do as much as I can, that my body allows me to, but many, many nights I’ve spent awake thinking about our financial situation. I don’t know. It’s just always there.”

Melissa Hamre, who has had long COVID since March 2020, Long COVID took their health. Then it took their money, *Boston Globe, October 15, 2022

The key is “to stay active and connect with others. People who engage in meaningful, productive activities with others feel a sense of purpose and tend to live longer.”

Elizabeth Necka, program director at the National Institute on Aging, Forget Wordle. Here are 5 secrets to living better, longer. Practical, proven methods for staying healthy and active later in life. *Boston Globe, October 13, 2022

“It’s going to be the wild, wild west for a few years, but I mean that in a good way. There is so much market opportunity here. It’s never been done this way.”

Frank Lin, director of the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health at Johns Hopkins’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, Listen up: You can now buy hearing aids without a prescription, *Washington Post, October 16, 2022

The implications of this are immense. If the prevalence of long covid turns out to be 1 in 5 people, that’s 124 million of the 623 million infected so far worldwide who will carry the scars of the pandemic into the future, creating potentially large burdens on health-care systems.

After the pandemic, heavy burdens for a covid generation, *Washington Post, October 14, 2022

October 10, 2022

“I just wish I could stay a little longer.”

Jack Thomas, Boston Globe reporter, I just learned I only have months to live. This is what I want to say. Boston Globe Magazine, July 21, 2021 (Update: Jack Thomas died October 3, 2022)

Long-term care empowers people, who as a result of old age, illness and/or disability depend on help for daily activities, to maintain their autonomy and live with dignity. However, for many people these services are still not affordable, available, or accessible.

A European Care Strategy for Caregivers and Care Receivers, European Commission, September 7, 2022

“[Physicians] don’t necessarily know about making accommodations. For almost 25 years now people have been asking me, ‘Why is health care so far behind every other industry?’ You go to see a Celtics game or Fenway and they have great disability access. But health care facilities, not so much.”

Dr. Lisa Iezzoni, Harvard University professor and disability researcher and Dignity Alliance Massachusetts member, Some doctors are reluctant to care for patients with disabilities, study finds, *Boston Globe, October 6, 2022

“What we find is implicit bias, and the bias that exists in the medical community affects treatment and assessment and the overall quality of health care provided and a lot of this is lack of experience.”

Maura Sullivan, senior director of government affairs and health policy at The Arc, Some doctors are reluctant to care for patients with disabilities, study finds, *Boston Globe, October 6, 2022

“We’re already in a situation where we have so little supply that rents don’t really have any room to fall. Then you add this additional demand from people priced out of the housing market. It’s not a promising picture.”

Demetrios Salpoglou, chief executive of BostonPads, which tracks rental prices in Boston, More people in Greater Boston are giving up on buying a house. That’s bad news for renters. *Boston Globe, October 7, 2022

Struggling or misbehaving adolescents can be helped. They won’t be, however, if we deny there is a problem.

How can parents tell the difference between normal teenage mood swings and possible mental illness?, Tufts Now, February 18, 2013

“And what we saw was a lot of Americans get very sick and die in the omicron wave because they were unboosted. . . There’s more and more data out [now] that shows that when people get their boosters, they’re far less likely to end up in the hospital, far less likely to die.”

Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House’s coronavirus coordinator, Just 4 percent of eligible Americans have gotten the new covid booster shot ahead of projected winter surge, *Washington Post, October 9, 2022

“Even when they’re playing the game legally, we are lining the pockets of very wealthy corporations that are not improving patient care. When you skate to the edge of the ice, sometimes you’re going to fall in.”

Dr. Donald Berwick, a C.M.S. administrator under the Obama administration, who recently published a series of blog posts on the industry, ‘The Cash Monster Was Insatiable’: How Insurers Exploited Medicare for Billions, New York Times (free access), October 8, 2022

Nursing Facility Residents Must Be Able to Enforce Their Rights Under the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (FNHRA)To Protect Themselves from Abuse and Neglect in Government-operated Nursing Facilities.

Justice in Aging Joins Supreme Court Amicus Supporting Nursing Facility Residents’ Ability to Enforce Their Rights, Justice in Aging, October 7, 2022

“After the accident, I told myself, ‘If there is a race, wherever it is, I want to do it.’”

Susannah Scaroni, Paralympic gold medalist, 3 Marathons. 3 Weeks. 3 Top-3 Finishes, *New York Times, October 9, 2022

October 3, 2022

“The idea of young adults living with grandparents really solves a lot of social issues. Most older adults want to age in place, and they need help to do so.”

Rachel Margolis, associate professor of sociology at the University of Western Ontario in Canada who studies the demography of grand-parenthood, Grand-mates: Generations Sharing a Special Bond (and Sometimes the Rent) , *New York Times, October 2, 2022

“Swimming gives me purpose and focus. Why slow down?”

Charlotte Sanddal,100-year-old competitive swimmer who began swimming at age 72, Meet the 100-Year-Old Swimmer Breaking World Records, Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2022

People often talk about death as if it’s the worst thing that can happen to someone. As if it’s something that must be avoided at all costs. Better to age, however painfully, however diminished, than to ever admit that we are mortal. But at the end of a long, full life, my grandfather was done. He died with power and agency, love, and support. To have that death, he had to acknowledge and embrace his mortality. At our death party, he gave his family a chance to accept that fact, too.

Sara Harrison, whose grandfather died at age 97, My Grandfather’s Death Party Was a Final Gift to His Family, New York Times Magazine, September 27, 2022

The story of dying in the 21st century is a story of paradox. While many people are overtreated in hospitals with families and communities relegated to the margins, still more remain undertreated, dying of preventable conditions and without access to basic pain relief.

Report of the Lancet Commission on the Value of Death: bringing death back into life, Lancet, February 1, 2022

Art can be a path to healing. Art can also be a source of income. For some, it’s both.

Creating Income Opportunities for Artists with Disabilities, Health Affairs, September 26, 2022

“It’s very easy for the general public to get confused by the value of Medicaid [and Medicare] and what it funds. It’s become such a big political conversation…that you kind of lose sight of the intended beneficiaries and our corporate and social responsibility to support people in very meaningful but expensive ways. And just because it’s expensive, doesn’t take us off the hook for our social responsibility to continue providing support for the most vulnerable people in our country and in our communities…. We’re talking about human lives. And so, it’s just very hard to place a monetary value on that.”

Arts Enable Executive Director Tony Brunswick, Creating Income Opportunities for Artists with Disabilities, Health Affairs, September 26, 2022

Mental health tips on social media are a mixed bag.

How to vet mental health advice on Tiktok and Instagram, Washington Post (free access), October 3, 2022

“People think I’m a project because of my disabilities. And a lot of people in their 20s aren’t looking for a project.”

Hannah Foote, a 22-year-old marketing professional from Phoenix who has a genetic disorder, ‘People Think I’m a Project:’ The Unique Challenges of Dating With Chronic Illness, *New York Times, September 28,2022

“It went from ankle-deep to knee-deep within, I don’t think it was even, five minutes. I just knew that there was no way out.”

Darcy Bishop, age 61, describing the situation facing her and her two brothers who have cerebral palsy, Russell Rochow, age 66, and Todd, age 63, during Hurricane Ian, ‘I Did All I Could’: As Floodwaters Rose, She Fought to Save Her Disabled Brothers, *New York Times, October 2, 2022

Elder financial exploitation robs millions of older adults of their money and property.

Recovering from Elder Financial Exploitation: A framework for policy and research, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, September 28, 2022

Housing infrastructure can be used to address some of the most intractable challenges in the long-term services and supports (LTSS) system.

LTSS Choices: Coordinating Housing, Health and LTSS Through Home-Based Care Management, AARP Public Policy Institute, September 30, 2022

September 26, 2022

“Does it make you sad or happy that you’re leaving?”

Connie Bowen, sister of Mike Lee, a resident for 44 years in Glenwood Resource Center, Iowa

“Happy! I’m happy.”

Mike Lee, age 57 years, who has autism and epilepsy, commenting on his planned departure from the state-run institution for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities

As State Institutions Close, Families of Longtime Residents Face Agonizing Choices, Kaiser Health News,  September 13, 2022

“He needs a lot of care, and it’s wearing, not only physically but mentally. It makes you worried about what’s going to happen. How long can I do this?”

Acey Hofflander, age 85, commenting about her husband, Tom, age 88, Seniors are stuck home alone as health aides flee for higher-paying jobs, *Washington Post, September 25, 2022

“Older people who were critically ill and hospitalized had higher rates of needing hospitalization in the following year.”

Long COVID: A Brief Overview, September 21, 2022,Generations

A large study of veterans found an increased risk of cardiovascular disease at 12 months post infection.

In COVID’s Wake, Generations, September 21, 2022

Many Long COVID symptoms can be disabling and limit one’s ability to return to work.

Considerations for Patients with Long COVID on Retirement and Disability, Generations, September 21, 2022

“Compound ageism is a very toxic prejudice.”

Margaret Morganroth Gullette, resident scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center of Brandeis University and member of Dignity Alliance Massachusetts, Ageism’s Toll in the Age of COVID, Generations, September 21, 2022

“It sounds silly in retrospect, but this was four years ago. At the time, it simply didn’t occur to me it would even be possible to hire an amputee actor. By the time we got to where we were greenlit and we were starting to look for crew, I was fully converted to the importance of authentic representation both in front of and behind the camera.”

Josh Sundquist, an actor who is an amputee and the lead role in the autobiographical “Best Foot Forward, Best Foot Forward’ Is a Story About, and by, People With Disabilities, *New York Times, July 21, 2022

“Many of these children are dying to play baseball and play in athletic leagues but aren’t always welcome. Coaches don’t always want to deal with their issues.”

The Rev. Harold Hicks, an Anglican priest and fire protection engineer who co-founded the Miracle League of Western Pennsylvania, The Pure Joy of Baseball for These Children With Disabilities, *Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2022

“I wish very, very much to win there and I will prepare for that with everything in my power. Wimbledon is the last one.”

Shingo Kunieda, who is the greatest men’s wheelchair tennis player of all time, The 27-Time Major Winner With a Gap on His Résumé: Wimbledon, *Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2022

“The overall cost of ensuring older adults’ health and well-being is skyrocketing.”

Katie Smith Sloan, president of LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services, Another Inflation Stress: Rising Costs of Senior-Living Homes Strain Families, *Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2022,

Smartphones have gradually become more useful for people with a range of physical abilities, thanks to tools like screen readers and adjustable text sizes. With the recent release of Apple’s iOS 16 and Google’s Android 13 software, even more accessibility features have been introduced or upgraded.

The Settings That Make Smartphones Easier for Everyone to Use, New York Times (free access), September 22, 2022

Perinatal disparities associated with disability may be much more widespread than has been indicated by prior research.

Perinatal Health Risks and Outcomes Among US Women with Self-Reported Disability, 2011–19, Health Affairs, September 21, 2022

“Life as a disabled person can sometimes be downright degrading and embarrassing, and unfortunately, this was one of them times. To be outright told to my face that I should wear a nappy when I don’t need to and that they are happy with that policy made me feel humiliated.”

A wheelchair user filmed herself dragging her body to the bathroom on a plane after the cabin crew refused to help, Insider, September 24, 2022

A 15 percent increase (for natural gas) this winter on top of last winter’s 21 percent increase would present a substantial burden on all consumers, especially those on a fixed income.

You’re about to pay even more to heat your home. Here’s what you can do about it, *Boston Globe, September 21, 2022

“Wherever one lives, it’s important to balance the quickening speed of modern life with periods of contemplation — quieting the mind, turning off the digital machines, slowing the breathing — creating windows of peacefulness in our busy lives.”

Stephan Rechtschaffen, M.D., founder of Blue Spirit Costa Rica, What I Learned About Longevity from Centenarians in the Blue Zones, The Ethel from AARP, September 19, 2022

Shockingly, [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] revealed that, on average, nursing homes replace 52% of their nursing staff each year.

Most [certified nursing assistants] are responsible for 13 residents per shift, instead of the recommended 6.

Low Quality Jobs Equal Low Quality Care in Nursing Homes, Generations, September 14, 2022

The climate change crisis is an intergenerational issue that requires a transgenerational response.

Climate Change Hazards + Social Vulnerability = A Recipe for Disaster, Generations, June 20, 2022

“Massachusetts needs many more accessory dwelling units, but local zoning significantly prevents their development.”

Amy Dain, Public policy consultant and researcher

“Good zoning is the essence of good development. If local zoning rules are too stringent, they can be modified. However, imposing a statewide zoning requirement simply to spur new development is a poor planning practice, and the results usually so attest.”

Alexander Whiteside, Former Milton Planning Board member; former chief counsel, Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development

The Argument: Should accessory dwelling units be allowed statewide in Massachusetts?, *Boston Globe, September 25, 2022

September 5, 2022

By 2033, more than 11 million middle-income seniors aged 75 and older may not be able to pay for assisted living and are also unlikely to qualify for Medicaid to pay for their long-term care needs.

The Forgotten Middle: Housing and Care Options for Middle-Income Seniors in 2033, NORC at the University of Chicago, August 31, 2022

“With 10,000 adults turning 65 every day, it’s more urgent than ever to understand the issues seniors face that impede their path to health, wellness and happiness.”

Dr. Dinesh Kumar, Alignment Healthcare chief medical and chief operating officer, Older Americans experiencing loneliness, cost worries, Becker’s Hospital CFO Report, August 29, 2022, Becker’s Hospital CFO Report

“Public health touches every facet of our lives.”

New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Mary T. Bassett, State Department of Health Announces Reorganization and Emphasis On Health Equity, Aging & Emergency Preparedness to Advance Public Health Protections In New York, The New York State Department of Health, July 29, 2022

“I finally said, ‘Why bother? I’m going gray.’ Honestly, if I had known the lockdown could be so liberating on that front, I would have done it a lot sooner.”

Canadian news anchor Lisa LaFlamme who was fired after 35 years of employment when she stopped dyeing her hair, TV anchor gets support after dismissal linked to gray hair, Today, August 31, 2022, Today

They get paid in formula and diapers, and their work hours are flexible.

In a Japanese Nursing Home, Some Workers Are Babies, *New York Times, September 1, 2022

The deeper I go, the more my optimism fades that our health system is set up to elicit patients’ wishes and disclose the facts that allow them to share in decision-making.

Dr. S. Monica Soni, an internist and associate chief medical officer at New Century Health, People with terminal cancer need to know they are dying. Doctors shouldn’t withhold that information, STAT News, September 2, 2022

“These updated boosters present us with an opportunity to get ahead of the next predicated wave of Covid-19. These updated boosters are critical in helping protect teens and adults from the most serious outcomes of COVID 19 caused by the currently circulating variant.”

Robert Califf, the FDA commissioner, Your questions on the new Covid vaccine boosters answered, STAT News, September 1, 2022

“We’re still in the Wright brothers’ days of flight when it comes to longevity. We still have a 747 and a Concorde to come, I hope, within our lifetimes.”

Harvard biologist David Sinclair, author of “Lifespan”, Want to add healthy years to your life? Here’s what new longevity research says, *Washington Post, October 11, 2022

“She’s kind of a stubborn girl, and it’s pretty funny because she’s supposed to be this old lady that can’t walk. She is officially the queen bee of the house. She made her way all the way up the stairs by herself, no problem. She does that on a daily basis.”

Amy Kidd, who adopted “Netty”, an old dog facing euthanasia, An old dog was left at a shelter to be put down. Instead she’s living her best life, Washington Post (free access), September 1, 2022

August 29, 2022

(T)he need for preparedness is not going away. A transformation in public health requires a sea change in thinking. We must value this endeavor for our own protection, rather than continue to neglect it. We have been warned.

The coming storm: America is not ready for a future pandemic, Washington Post (free access), August 27, 2022

“When I ask people, ‘What does successful aging mean to you?’ people say they want to be independent, they want to maintain their function and quality of life, they want to do the things that they want to do. It’s not necessarily just living as long as possible.”

Dr. Kenneth Koncilja, a gerontologist at the Cleveland Clinic, People Who Do Strength Training Live Longer — and Better, *New York Times, August 24, 2022

“When they wrote the Social Security laws, they weren’t thinking that young people with disabilities would ever be marriage material. People didn’t think we might have dreams and hopes like everybody else. We do.”

Seeking Marriage Equality for People with Disabilities, New York Times (free access), August 25, 2022

“The complex bureaucracies that provide essential services and supports for people with disabilities were created piecemeal, and were based on outdated assumptions about marriage, paternalism and a limited understanding of the full and vibrant lives possible for people with disabilities.”

Seeking Marriage Equality for People with Disabilities, New York Times (free access), August 25, 2022

“Marriage is a cultural club you’re not really allowed into if you’re disabled.”

Gabriella Garbero, 31-year-old St. Louis woman who was born with spinal muscular atrophy type two, Seeking Marriage Equality for People With Disabilities, New York Times (free access), August 25, 2022

“We’re thinking about access as an ethic, as an aesthetic, as a practice, as a promise, as a relationship with the audience and it’s not just us. The disability arts community is really in a moment of vast experimentation.”

Alice Sheppard, founder and artistic director of Kinetic Light, ‘Access as an Ethic’: Giving Dance Myriad Points of Entry, *New York Times, August 17, 2022

What I found most successful and moving was the atmosphere of inclusiveness and the audience it attracted: buzzing, festive, with many more wheelchair users than I’ve seen before at a dance show.

Only Connect: Finding a Way into Kinetic Light’s ‘Wired,’ *New York Times,  August 26, 2022

Lastly, a heaping dose of compassion and empathy will help begin the healing process for those who feel alone in the haunted house of their own body, lighting a candle toward recovery.

How long covid reshapes the brain — and how we might treat it, Washington Post (free access), August 25, 2022

Current government agencies lack the resources to support active financial monitoring and evaluation. CHIA, the attorney general’s office, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Health Policy Commission, and the Department of Public Health each have ways of obtaining financial information, but typically only when a system is already in crisis. None of these agencies is officially charged with overseeing potentially risky financial transactions such as sale/leasebacks before they occur, nor do they have the regulatory authority to pro-actively intervene or prohibit major financial transactions that put health access, affordability, and/or equity among communities at risk. .

(W)hat is lacking is the investment in staff capabilities to analyze and interpret for public policy purposes what the data tells us. Additional resources should be provided to CHIA to carry out more comprehensive oversight and monitoring activities.

Nancy Kane and Paul Hattis, Is state aid really helping the neediest hospitals, CommonWealth Magazine, August 28, 2022

“State governments that have yet to address the health, economic, and social challenges of caregiving for older adults should learn from the experience of states with caregiver supports and implement similar programs.”

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, RAISE Act State Policy Roadmap for Family Caregivers: Public Awareness and Outreach to Family Caregivers, National Academy of State Health Policy, September 2021

The price of insulin in the US is both outrageous and deadly to those who can’t live without it.

Why the price of insulin is a danger to diabetics, TED Talks (video), August 26, 2022

“As Wall Street firms take over more nursing homes, quality in those homes has gone down and costs have gone up. That ends on my watch.”

President Joe Biden from his State of the Union Address January 2022, When Private Equity Takes Over a Nursing Home, New Yorker, August 25, 2022

Given so much evidence about postviral conditions, why wasn’t more done more quickly to address long Covid?

If You’re Suffering After Being Sick with Covid, It’s Not Just in Your Head, *New York Times, August 25, 2022

Disappointed with last month’s record-setting ride, [Robert Marchand] believes that he can improve his mileage . . . and may try again, perhaps when he is 106.

Lessons on Aging Well, From a 105-Year-Old Cyclist, *New York Times, February 8, 2017

“We need to have accurate data if we are going to provide accurate solutions.”

Donald Whitehead, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, America’s first homelessness problem: Knowing who is actually homeless, *Washington Post, August 24, 2022

Americans must demand from their elected officials more transparency on health care costs, especially hospital costs.

Surgeons fold against Medicare’s stacked deck, STAT News, August 25, 2022

“For a disabled individual, a lot of time, maintaining eligibility is critical. I can’t tell you how many times family members, with the best of intentions, will name a disabled adult child as a beneficiary, not understanding that getting that money could immediately jeopardize their ability to access public benefits,”

Joellen Meckley, executive director of the American College of Financial Services’ center for special needs, Planning for Your Retirement, and for a Child’s Special Needs, All at Once, New York Times (free access), August 27, 2022

“I could not sleep. It was driving me crazy. I was having migraines. I was sick to my stomach. I hate having debt. I didn’t want to think about it. Obviously, that didn’t work because I’m still thinking about it.”

Dani Yuengling of Conway, South Carolina who had a surprise bill of $17,797 for a biopsy procedure, An $18,000 biopsy? Paying cash might have been cheaper than using her insurance, NPR Shots, August 23, 2022

“This is about allowing vulnerable people to remain in their homes; it’s more than a real estate transaction.”

Barbara Salisbury, Chief Executive Office, MAB Community Services, Brookline, MA, Brookline’s MAB Community Services Receives $13M To Buy Group Homes, Patch.com, August 27, 2022

August 22, 2022

“We see a movement around the world. It’s the re-humanizing of nursing home care.”

Jannette Spiering, Dutch aging services advocate, The Netherlands makes aging and long-term care a priority. In the US, it’s a different story, Boston Globe,  August 18, 2022

“We have a very strong belief in societal responsibility. We call this solidarity. It’s there, we nurture it, and we like it.”

Marco Varkevisser, an aging service researcher at Erasmus University in The Netherlands, The Netherlands makes aging and long-term care a priority. In the US, it’s a different story, Boston Globe,  August 18, 2022

“I used to think that flu was really challenging. There was never a year that was the same as the previous year. And I think the challenges around supply and trying to plan and optimal planning, they’re very difficult. And just when you think you’ve solved that, you haven’t. And throwing Covid boosters into the mix, it just makes it more complicated.”

Claire Hannan, the executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, A complicated fall vaccine campaign: Updated Covid boosters, flu shots, and how to time the jabs, STAT News, August 16, 2022

(My mother was) “so active because she loved this country, and she wanted to make sure that the country was good to its people.”

Gabriele Rainey, daughter of 95-year-old Seattle, WA activist Dorli Rainey, Dorli Rainey, symbol of Occupy movement, dies at 95, AP News, August 20, 2022

I don’t believe Medicare’s ability to negotiate prices will be a game-changing reform.

Simon F. Haeder, PhD, Associate Professor, Texas A & M, Why letting Medicare negotiate drug prices won’t be the game-changer for health care Democrats hope it will be, The Conversation, August 17, 2022

“It allows us to see without a doubt the emergence of significant neuropsychiatric sequelae in individuals that had covid and far more frequently than those who did not.”

David Putrino, director of rehabilitation innovation at Mount Sinai Health System,  New York, New study suggests covid increases risks of brain disorders, *Washington Post, August 19, 2022

“The general conversation keeps leaving out long covid. The severity of initial infection doesn’t matter when we talk about long-term sequelae that ruin people’s lives.”

Hannah Davis, a co-founder of the Patient-Led Research Collaborative, New study suggests covid increases risks of brain disorders, *Washington Post, August 19, 2022

“When communication is disrupted, that disrupts human relationships. If we can get people to take this step sooner rather than later, to pay attention to their hearing health, that’s a good thing.” 

Barbara Kelley, executive director of the Hearing Loss Association of America, FDA Gives Green Light to Cheaper, Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids, AARP Health, August 16, 2022

 We believe that long Covid must be viewed as a disability, and actions across all federal agencies should be viewed through that lens.

Biden’s long Covid plan is a good start. But it needs to go further, STAT News, August 19, 2022

It’s time to allocate sufficient funding to back up the calls to support frontline health workers.

Investing in health workers can help close the vaccination gap — and improve global health, STAT News, August 19, 2022

August 15, 2022

“For too long, our society has devalued the elderly and people with disabilities as well as the workers who help them lead more enriched and independent lives. It is no coincidence that women—particularly women of color and immigrants—perform much of this hands-on care work, both paid and unpaid, in homes and in residential long-term care settings.”

Julia Wolfe, former Economic Policy Institute state economic analyst and co-author of the report: The state of the residential long-term care industry, Economic Policy Institute media release, July 27, 2022

“The deficiencies in access, quality of care, and quality of life for residents and their families are inseparable from the struggles and deficiencies in job quality, societal recognition, public funding, and voice on the job for long-term care workers. Only when workers, care recipients, and their families stand together in solidarity can the U.S. overcome its short-sightedness to secure the services and job quality necessary for a dignified collective future. Such a future can be achieved only with adequate public funding that simultaneously improves conditions for care workers and ensures adequate care access and quality for those in need, regardless of their income or wealth level.”

Marokey Sawo, Economic Policy Institute state economic analyst and co-author of the report: The state of the residential long-term care industry, Economic Policy Institute media release, July 27, 2022

“The Right to Be Treated with Dignity and Respect”

The first of ten rights enumerated in the Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights, U. S. Department of Transportation, July 2022

1,242,139 adults in Massachusetts have a disability. This is equal to 25% or 1 in 4 adults in Massachusetts.

Disability & Health U.S. State Profile Data for Massachusetts (Adults 18+ years of age), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Once, after complying with two full-body pat-downs, Mr. [Charles] Brown [who uses a wheelchair due to a spinal cord injury] got an impossible request from an [TSA] agent. “They said, ‘Now I need you to stand up.’ I said, ‘That ain’t happening,’” Mr. Brown recalled. He had to call for a supervisor to resolve the situation.

Embarrassing, Uncomfortable and Risky: What Flying Is Like for Passengers Who Use Wheelchairs, New York Times (free access), August 8, 2022

“Young people today don’t understand the significance of this simple word, freedom, but then they have never lived through a dictatorship.”

Iole Mancini, 103-year-old Italian woman who as a resistance fighter during World War II, Italy Salutes a War Hero and the Values He Fought For, *New York Times, August 11, 2022

“A beautiful built environment might not be as essential to healing as a clean one, but there is no reason to choose beauty over cleanliness, or efficiency or innovation. And how better to incorporate respect for our patients and their families than to focus on dignity and design?”

Dr. Paul Farmer, What Paul Farmer taught me about ‘dignity construction’ in health care, *New York Times, February 24, 2022

“Life in America is cold and isolating. In my village, kids were in and out of other people’s houses all day. All the grown-ups were Uncle or Aunty or Grandmother or Grandfather, and everyone knew what was happening in each other’s lives.”

Nguyen Luong, a 32-year-old Vietnamese immigrant and resident of Village Hill Cohousing, an intentional living community in Northampton, MA, Leaving Cambridge for the comfort of strangers, *New York Times, March 10, 2022

Given Americans’ preference for receiving health care at home — and its proven feasibility and effectiveness — Medicare needs to move forward, not backward, and double down on its investment in-home care.

Medicare cuts would undermine the movement to increasing in-home care, STAT News, March 12, 2022

“It was like a knife through my heart. There was not one single thing left.”

Suzanne Araneo, 67-year-old woman who is charging a New Jersey attorney and nursing home of false imprisonment among other offenses, She says she was coerced into signing away her rights in a nursing home. When she got out, everything she owned was gone, NJ.com, August 8, 2022

““What happened to my client is like a Category 5 hurricane that came without warning in a flash and swept her life away. When everything that you possess, that you have earned, that you have created, and that gives your life meaning, is taken from you, then there is no more you. It’s devastating.”

Attorney Deborah Gough representing client Suzanne Araneo, a former nursing home resident, She says she was coerced into signing away her rights in a nursing home. When she got out, everything she owned was gone, NJ.com, August 8, 2022

“The veteran not only remained in her room, but was unable to function and did not eat or drink for about 48 hours, putting her at grave risk for physical harm.”

Allegation by Kathleen Newman, RN in a whistleblower lawsuit regarding the Holyoke Soldiers Home, Change Soldiers’ Home culture, or soap opera will go on, Daily Hampshire Gazette, August 12, 2022

We have had our issues as mothers and daughters do … But hospice has helped redeem the years that the locusts had eaten.

Grace Segran, hospice patient, ‘I have loved and am loved’: I am at peace, WBUR, August 12, 2022

For the first time in human history, there are now more people in the world over the age of 64 than under the age of five.

How America’s ageism hurts, shortens lives of elderly, Harvard Gazette, August 10, 2022

I found out that the single most important factor in determining the longevity of these inhabitants — more important than gender, income, social background, loneliness, or functional health — was how people thought about and approached the idea of old age. Age beliefs, it turns out, can steal, or add nearly eight years to your life.

Becca Levy, Ph.D., author of “Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long & Well You Live”,  How America’s ageism hurts, shortens lives of elderly, Harvard Gazette, August 10, 2022

“ADUs (accessory dwelling units) are the easiest low-hanging fruit. All we’re really talking about is letting people use their existing properties to create more housing. It’s hard for me to understand why we can’t find that agreeable.”

Amy Dain, suburban zoning consultant and public policy researcher, Is the answer to Massachusetts housing crisis coming to your backyard? Don’t hold your breath. *Boston Globe, August 11, 2022 (updated)

“There are certainly reasonable (ADU) regulations communities could come up with,  but to the same end, this is an urgent crisis we’re dealing with, and we need to start getting units available as quickly as possible. The local approach simply isn’t working.”

Lynn State Senator Brendan Crighton,  who has proposed a statewide legalization measure, Is the answer to Massachusetts housing crisis coming to your backyard? Don’t hold your breath. *Boston Globe, August 11, 2022 (updated)

Despite calls to speed more powerful shots, they are still likely years away.

What you need to know about the next generation of COVID vaccines, *Boston Globe, August 10, 2022 (updated)

August 8, 2022

“The importance of manufactured housing for addressing our current affordability crisis is just immense, because manufactured housing is half the cost to build of traditional, site-built construction.”

Esther Sullivan, sociology professor at the University of Colorado Denver and the author of “Manufactured Insecurity”, PEW Stateline, Factory-Built Homes: A Housing Crisis Solution?, August 2, 2022

“It’s hard for me to see, barring any massive change in the way we’re treating the virus right now or trying to manage it, that anything inherent to the virus is really going to change much. We’re going to continue to see the emergence of variants, we’re going to continue to see spread outside the winter months, we’re probably going to see more spread in winter months in temperate regions — basically any time people are crowding indoors.”

Stephen Kissler, an epidemiologist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Covid has settled into a persistent pattern — and remains damaging. It may not change anytime soon, STAT News, August 4, 2022

The disability community has not always been at the forefront of thought when we’re doing our mobility planning. We can and we must do better.”

Jane Terry, vice president, National Safety Council, Wheelchair Users Say States Should Spend New Road Money on Safety, Pew Stateline, June 1, 2022

(A) 2019 MA Department of Transportation survey of state sidewalks and curb ramps . . . noted, for example, that 31% of the 7,600 bus stops in the Boston area lacked adjacent crosswalks.

Wheelchair Users Say States Should Spend New Road Money on Safety, Pew Stateline, June 1, 2022

“Sometimes the sidewalks have ended, or the concrete has broken up, or there is no curb cut, and you’re forced to be on the road. I’ve had people who’ve yelled and cussed at me for being in the street. They say, ‘Get back on the sidewalk.’ And I think, ‘Where do you see a curb cut, buddy?’ It’s ridiculous.”

Tanisha Sepulveda, 31, a Seattle architectural drafter who uses a motorized wheelchair, Wheelchair Users Say States Should Spend New Road Money on Safety, Pew Stateline, June 1, 2022

All Medicare providers are required under statute to identify indirect owners, including “ultimate parents,” that hold a 5% or greater ownership interest in the providers. Based on the reasonable assumption that every “ultimate parent” holds at least a 5% ownership interest in a provider—otherwise it wouldn’t ostensibly be the ultimate parent—CMS currently requires the reporting of “ultimate parents.” However, CMS cannot verify whether providers, in general, are accurately reporting “ultimate parents” or any other owners in the ownership chain.

Changes of Ownership of Hospital and Skilled Nursing Facilities: An Analysis of Newly-Released CMS Data, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, April 20, 2022

The best way to break the harmful homelessness-jail cycle? Keep people housed, first; then quickly provide the supportive services they need to thrive.

Supportive Housing Can Help End the Homeless-to-Jail Cycle, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Blog, June 23, 2022

“It’s my responsibility, being there with the residents. I take them to be like my own people.”

Momah Wolapaye, certified nursing assistant at Goodwin Living, a long-term care community in the suburbs of Washington, DC for 11 years, and an immigrant from Liberia, The Crisis Facing Nursing Homes, Assisted Living and Home Care for America’s Elderly, Politico Magazine – The Big Idea, July 28, 2022

“The numbers alone suggest we’re going to need a lot more people in the caregiving sector than we have now. We need to make some changes in order for that to happen.”

Tara Watson, fellow at the Brookings Institution and professor of economics at Williams College, The Crisis Facing Nursing Homes, Assisted Living and Home Care for America’s Elderly, Politico Magazine – The Big Idea, July 28, 2022

Perhaps the biggest problem is that workforce shortages facing elder care is an issue most just don’t see. If you don’t have enough construction workers, you see a half-built building. But while the elder-care crisis is behind closed doors, it will be one of the most acute issues in about five years and to prevent that immigration is one of the policy tools that policy makers should start working on.”

Jeanne Batalova, senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, The Crisis Facing Nursing Homes, Assisted Living and Home Care for America’s Elderly, Politico Magazine – The Big Idea, July 28, 2022

“It’s truly a joyous and historic milestone, for the state and for the country, because it really will allow people with disabilities to reap the same benefits of higher education. They have shown that they can exceed societal expectations when they’re given the same opportunities to learn.”

Julia Landau, director of the Disability Education Justice Initiative at Massachusetts Advocates for Children, First-of-its-kind law improves college access for students with autism, intellectual disabilities, *Boston Globe, August 7, 2022

“I used to feel shame about my shortcomings, and now I realize I can forge a different path and be an individual … and that is just as valuable.”

Hannah Gold, University of Massachusetts Amherst student who plans to work full time with the university’s inclusion initiative after graduation, First-of-its-kind law improves college access for students with autism, intellectual disabilities, *Boston Globe, August 7, 2022

Arnold Whitman – the chairman of Formation Capital, the private equity firm behind Consulate – told The New York Times in 2007 that chopping up nursing home ownership into separate companies is a crucial legal maneuver that rehabilitated a struggling industry. He did not respond to emails requesting comment.

Nursing home chain’s tangled corporate structure and bankruptcy threats stymied litigation, STAT News, August 5, 2022

Toby Edelman, a senior policy attorney for the Center for Medicare Advocacy, said the steeply reduced settlement amount undermines whistleblower litigation under what’s known as the False Claims Act. “That’s a message to other chains that are charged with violations of the False Claims Act,” Edelman said. “They can take their chances in court and if they lose, try to settle for far less.”

Nursing home chain’s tangled corporate structure and bankruptcy threats stymied litigation, STAT News, August 5, 2022

August 1, 2022

“The level of aggression that nursing homes are using to collect unpaid debt is severely increasing.”

Lisa Neeley, a Worcester, MA elder law attorney, Nursing homes are suing friends and family to collect on patients’ bills, NPR Shots and Kaiser Health News, July 28, 2022

“I get calls all the time from people who are served with these lawsuits who had no idea that this was even a remote possibility, who call me crying and frantic. They believe not only that they’re going to lose their own income and their own houses and assets, but also they’re concerned that their loved ones who are still in the nursing home may be potentially kicked out.”

Anna Anderson, an attorney with the nonprofit Legal Assistance of Western New York, Nursing homes are suing friends and family to collect on patients’ bills, NPR Shots and Kaiser Health News, July 28, 2022

“I don’t know how long we are going to stay, but as long as we can. We cannot leave our patients. These people are special. They cannot live without our support.”

Natalya Mayakova, chef at the psychoneurological hospital in Borodyanka, Ukraine, A care center for Ukraine’s disabled deals with the trauma of occupation, *Washington Post, July 30, 2022

“We’re just not building enough affordable housing. The last time this country built a lot of smaller homes for the middle class was when the soldiers were coming back from World War II. Now we’re building for the ultra-rich, for people who can afford to live in the Seaport.”

Melvin Vieira, president of the Greater Boston Association of Realtors, In a market badly out of kilter, many older residents are stuck in their homes, *Boston Globe, July 29, 2022

My patient’s wife had just one question: Was her husband dying? . .

Sometimes they ask if this medication will hasten death, and I explain that it can, but that our primary goal is always to relieve discomfort.

We even have a term for this balance, the “principle of double effect” — as doctors, we accept the risk of a negative consequence like hastening death, so long as our intended outcome is to help the patient by alleviating symptoms.

Dr. Daniela Lamas, pulmonary and critical-care physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, In the I.C.U., Dying Sometimes Feels Like a Choice, *New York Times, July 31, 2022

“When the mental health movement started, it usually wouldn’t get a lot of attention except from white people,” (but) “when you see celebrities that look like you also have these kinds of problems, it normalizes the actions to seek help.”

Chien-Chi Huang,founder and director of the Boston-based nonprofit Asian Women for Health, Demand for mental health care rising in Asian American communities as more speak openly of struggles, *Boston Globe, July 29, 2022

“When Asian American spokespeople, celebrities, well-known folks talk about mental health, it’s a reminder that the Asian American community is not a monolith model minority. It opens up a conversation about what is mental health and that it’s OK to talk about it without stigmatizing it.”

Lisette Le, director of VietAID, a group that serves Dorchester’s Vietnamese community, Demand for mental health care rising in Asian American communities as more speak openly of struggles, *Boston Globe, July 29, 2022

The economic upheaval caused by the pandemic magnified America’s housing crisis, leaving millions on the brink of losing their homes. Soaring rents, combined with inflation, have left more Americans—especially people of color—newly homeless and millions more at risk of eviction.

Facing Eviction, Frontline PBS (Video), July 26, 2022

“Housing is foundational. It’s a pillar of resiliency in the same way that employment and education are. But if you knock out that one pillar — housing, where you live, your home — you can’t access any of the others.”

How Moratoriums & Rental Assistance Impacted Evictions in the U.S. During COVID-19, Frontline, July 26, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has put an increasing number of people at risk for eviction, which is associated with many adverse health outcomes and contributes to health inequities.

Eviction and Health: A Vicious Cycle Exacerbated by a Pandemic, Robert Wood Foundation, April 1, 2021

The (Massachusetts FY 2023) budget sustains support for core health care programs and makes investments to expand services for the most vulnerable, while improving access to health care for all residents. Within the $19.480 billion gross / $7.301 billion net MassHealth budget, $115 million will fund nursing facility staffing rate increases and supplemental payments.

Governor Charlie Baker Signs Fiscal Year 2023 Budget, July 28, 2022

July 25, 2022

“I think we’re still looking for a collective sort of wisdom to bring to this question. There are lots of different symptoms and we haven’t done a very good job of figuring out the vast majority of those. What hasn’t worked so far, at least not in ways that I’ve seen it, is describing a syndrome, or coming up with a list of criteria for a syndrome, which is how we ordinarily approach new diseases. This entity represents actually a lot of distinct entities. There’s no one long Covid.”

Eric Rubin, an immunologist at Harvard Medical School and editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, ‘There’s no one long Covid’: Experts struggle to make sense of the continuing mystery, STAT News, July 22, 2022

“We all wondered, what’s the magic stuff in the blood?”

Lee Rubin, a professor of stem cell and regenerative medicine at Harvard and the co-director of the neuroscience program at the Stem Cell Institute, Can a ‘Magic’ Protein Slow the Aging Process?, *New York Times, July 19, 2022 

“By targeting fundamental mechanisms of aging, we have the opportunity to treat or prevent multiple aging-related diseases and extend the health span. We want to make 100 the new 50.”

Dr. Mark Allen, the chief executive of Elevian, a pharmaceutical start-up, Can a ‘Magic’ Protein Slow the Aging Process?, *New York Times, July 19, 2022

“I think it’s concerning because … it can spread If there are unvaccinated communities, it can cause a polio outbreak.”

Walter Orenstein, a polio expert at Emory University, N.Y. state detects polio case, first in the U.S. since 2013,  STAT News, July 21, 2022

“We’ve been asked to do way too much for too many years and then we have the nurses that went through Covid. I’ve got nurses that have only been RNs for two years and they’re leaving.”

Maria Peppers, a licensed practical nurse who helps nurses find remote opportunities, As health care faces nursing shortages, burned-out nurses are flocking to remote jobs, *STAT+, July 21, 2022

He’s hoping his own experience as a musician — and a movie about that — can help show that people with disabilities don’t have to be defined by them.

Disability rock star: Bringing his cause to film, Daily Hampshire Gazette, July 23, 2022

“988 is more than a number, it is a message: we’re there for you. Through this and other actions, we are treating mental health as a priority and putting crisis care in reach for more Americans.”

U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary Xavier Becerra, U.S. Transition to 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Begins Saturday, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, July 15, 2022

The United States had one death by suicide every 11 minutes in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Suicide was the second leading cause of death for young people aged 10-14 and 25-34. From April 2020 to 2021, more than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses.

U.S. Transition to 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Begins Saturday, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, July 15, 2022

Our overarching goal is to make equitable, high-quality, affordable, data-informed care for mental health and substance use challenges available to the people we serve, building on the system’s evolution towards value-focused care.

Strengthening Behavioral Healthcare to Meet the Needs of Our Nation, Health Affairs Forefront, May 31, 2022

“So (BA.5) is sort of maximized to evade immunity and those viruses were transmitting much, much more efficiently than previous variants. It’s sort of reaching a pinnacle in terms of not only being able to transmit but also to evade immune responses that are present in the population, and that’s why people are really looking at this carefully and following the surge of cases.” 

Andy Pekosz, a virologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 5 Reasons to Beware the BA.5 Omicron Subvariant, AARP, July 23, 2022

“It’s a chronic issue. We have both a (housing) market failure and a government failure.”

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, We Need to Keep Building Houses, Even if No One Wants to Buy, New York Times (free access), July 24, 2022

“If government gets in the business of providing housing, we can be that countercyclical supply.”

Alex Lee, Democrat of San Jose and member of California’s State Assembly, We Need to Keep Building Houses, Even if No One Wants to Buy, New York Times (free access), July 24, 2022

(U)nless the government builds new housing itself or creates incentives for builders . . . to keep at it when it doesn’t make sense, the housing shortage is destined to compound each time the economic winds blow against the building industry.

The precise solution is politics, but there’s little mystery what the problem is. America doesn’t have enough housing, and someone has to build it, in bad times as well as good.

We Need to Keep Building Houses, Even if No One Wants to Buy, New York Times (free access), July 24, 2022

“He said good people did nothing, whether a friend or a country. He said if you see someone bullied, stick up for them. Do something.”

David Reich, son of Auschwitz survivor Werner Reich, Werner Reich, Who Learned Magic in Auschwitz, Dies at 94, *New York Times, July 21, 2022

July 18, 2022

“‘We don’t do procedures for people in a wheelchair.’”

A Planned Parenthood representative in New York City, for a Woman in a Wheelchair, Abortion Access Was One More Challenge, *New York Times, July 14, 2022

Regardless of your diet, “physical activity is important. And whatever your physical activity is, diet is important.”

Dr. Melody Ding,  associate professor at the University of Sydney (Australia), You Won’t Live Longer by Diet or Exercise Alone, Study Says, New York Times (free access), July 15, 2022 (updated)

(E)ugenic ‘science’ is still a vibrant part of U.S. culture that interacts with and shapes the reproductive lives of disabled women in many ways.

Mia Mingus, Georgians for Choice, Reproductive Justice for Disabled Women: Ending Systemic Discrimination, AmericanProgress.com, April 13, 2022

“That girl had a guardian angel yesterday…and his name was Jake.”

Plymouth Police Officer Vinnie Roth Solar Panel Installer Finds Missing 5-Year-Old with Autism in Plymouth, Patch.com, July 14, 2022

“Being able to take a shower and have access to hygiene products is a fundamental human right and helps restore a person’s dignity.”

Julio Meran, a former homeless person in Lawrence who now runs the nonprofit agency Merrimack Valley Dream Center, Homelessness a growing local, national crisis, Salem News, July 18, 2022

“If you don’t have stable work, what life do you live? I had 45 goats!”

Antonio Brundu, 104, whose father lived to 103, oldest living resident of Perdasdefogu, Sardinia, Who’s the oldest of them all?, *Boston Globe, July 16, 2022

July 11, 2022

“So, BA.5 is just the next chapter in the story. And it’s not as good as it would be if BA.5 did not exist, but there isn’t reason, at the moment, to think that it’s really turning the page in a serious way when it comes to hospitalizations and deaths.”

Bill Hanage, associate professor of epidemiology in the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Contagious omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 now make up majority of New England cases, WGBH, July 7, 2022

“People have such fears of developing dementia, losing your memory, your personality, your independence,” Dr. [Gill] Livingston [a psychiatrist at University College London and chair of the Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care] said. “The idea that you can do a lot about it is powerful.”

Even delaying its onset can have a great effect. “If, instead of getting it at 80, you get it at 90, that’s a huge thing,” she said.

Eye and hearing exams, exercise, weight control, stopping smoking, blood pressure medications, diabetes care — “we’re not talking about expensive interventions or fancy surgery or seeing specialists who are hours away,” Dr. [Joshua] Ehrlich [an ophthalmologist and population health researcher at the University of Michigan] added. “These are things people can do in the communities where they live.”

New Dementia Prevention Method May Be Behavioral, Not Prescribed, *New York Times, July 3, 2022

 I kept getting nowhere until one day I woke up and I was somewhere. It turns out that constant failure is a great learning opportunity. 

Annie Korzen, How I Made My Career Dreams Come True — in My 80sIt ain’t over till it’s over. The Ethel – AARP, July 1, 2022

“Older women’s experience of work is unrelenting, physically and emotionally challenging, and underpaid or unremunerated.

“Gender inequalities continue into older age and are compounded by age-based inequalities.

“The voices of older women are often absent, and their
concerns neglected.”

Older women: the hidden workforce – Access to economic justice, Age International, July 4, 2022

“This is a behavioral health crisis. The behavioral health needs of the general population have just increased significantly. That volume has increased and it’s also been difficult for people to access care because of that volume and because of workforce challenges.”

Leigh Simons Youmans, Senior Director of Healthcare Policy for the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, Solutions to Massachusetts mental health crisis in hospitals face critical deadline, WCVB, July 7, 2022

“I think that mistrust in government and politicians, and even to a certain extent science, started well before the pandemic, and it just was exacerbated.”

Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, pediatric infectious disease physician at Stanford Medicine who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on infectious diseases, The pandemic has eroded Americans’ trust in experts and elected leaders alike, a survey finds, *New York Times, July 7, 2022

“I think there’s an underappreciation of what it’s going to do to the country, and it already is exerting its effect.”

Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research, What the BA.5 Subvariant Could Mean for the United States, *New York Times, July 7, 2022

“Whether you’re in the United States or Canada, there are still pockets of people who do not have good access to care (a)nd this technology, this mobile technology, really is allowing people to take it closer to home.

Brian Westerberg, a neurotologist at Providence Health Care in Canada, Scientists design a cheap device that can detect ear problems with the help of a smartphone, STAT News, July 7, 2022

Week of July 1, 2022

“I’m thrilled to see this positive outcome. I believe the new policies will keep others from experiencing mistreatment and will help people understand that transgender people are only seeking to be treated with dignity and respect like anyone else.”

Marie King, a 79-year-old transgender woman who successfully levied an accusation of discrimination against a Maine assisted living residence, Nursing home settles historic transgender discrimination complaint, NBC News, June 16, 2022

“I feel neglected. I feel alone. I’m the only one on this corridor.”

Marian Webb, displaced assisted living resident, ‘It was kind of lonesome here toward the end’, Salem News, June 29, 2022

“In general, elderly people don’t like change. They like their routine. [My 99-year-old mother] has said on many occasions that she moved into Ocean View [assisted living residence] expecting that would be her final move, that she would be there for the rest of her life. It was very upsetting to her and to everybody that had to move. Even the day before the move, she said, ‘I don’t want to do this.’”

Philip Webb, son of Marian Webb, displaced assisted living resident, ‘It was kind of lonesome here toward the end,’ Salem News, June 29, 2022

But she worries about the toll that the move has already taken on her mother-in-law. She said Marian’s memory has gotten worse because of the move, and she’s anxious about leaving her room. At one point, Marian even made a comment that she hopes she doesn’t make it to winter.

Frances Webb, daughter-in-law of Marian Webb, displaced assisted living resident, It was kind of lonesome here toward the end,’ Salem News, June 29, 2022

“Anyone who needs access to a long-term care facility, including transgender people, should be welcomed with dignity, compassion, and respect. The model transgender nondiscrimination policy and public statement embracing transgender residents set a clear example for how such facilities can and should operate with respect to transgender older adults.”

Chris Erchul, staff attorney at Boston-based GLAD (GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders), Landmark settlement grants transgender senior the respect she deserves, LGBTQ Nation, June 20, 2022

“If prediabetes is a kick in the butt to move people to healthier behaviors, I’m fine with that, but if you’re older, certainly over age 75, and this is a new diagnosis, it’s not something I would worry about. I’m pretty sure that diabetes isn’t going to matter in your lifetime.”

Dr. Kenneth Lam, geriatrician at the University of California-San Francisco, Seniors with Prediabetes Should Eat Better, Get Moving, but Not Fret Too Much About Diabetes, Kaiser Health News, June 24, 2022

“We knew it was going to be a large number, but I did not think it would be as high as 20 million deaths during just the first year.”

Oliver Watson, a Fellow at Imperial College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Covid-19 vaccines prevented nearly 20 million deaths in a year, study estimates, STAT News, June 23, 2022

Research has shown that a standardized (nursing home operating) strategy is associated with high efficiency, brand consistency, reduced costs, and less waste. On the flip side, customizing some services is positively linked with service quality, customer satisfaction, and loyalty.

Study explores when nursing home chains should customize or standardize, University of South Florida Innovation, June 24, 2022

We found that commonplace ageist messages, interactions, and beliefs were associated with negative health outcomes.

Experiences of Everyday Ageism and the Health of Older US Adults, JAMA Open Network, June 15, 2022

“The burden of Alzheimer’s disease is steadily increasing, driving us towards a neurological epidemic. Our findings suggest that not only is this disorder incredibly complex, but that its pathology includes most known biological pathways. This means that the disease’s effects are far broader in the body than we realized.”

Winston A. Hide, PhD, director of the Precision RNA medicine Core Facility at BIDMC and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Alzheimer’s disease affects most known biological pathways in the brain, researchers find, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, June 24, 2022

“Our study demonstrated what the APOE4 gene does and which brain cells get affected the most in humans by comparing human and mouse models. These are important findings as we can find therapeutics if we understand how and where this risk gene is destroying our brain.”

Julia TCW, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology & experimental therapeutics, Boston University School of Medicine, BU researchers untangle the APOE4 gene, the most significant genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, Boston University School of Medicine, June 23, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit nursing homes particularly hard. The highly contagious nature of COVID-19, the close quarters in which nursing home residents live, and the direct, frequent contact that most nursing home staff have with residents as well as individuals from the surrounding community have put residents and staff at an elevated risk of infection. Residents, who tend to be older and to have severe underlying medical conditions (such as heart disease, diabetes, or dementia), are at higher risk for developing more serious complications or dying from COVID-19. As of March 27, 2022, nursing home residents had accounted for more than 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and approximately 152,000 COVID-19-related deaths in the United States, and nursing home staff had accounted for approximately 1.1 million confirmed cases and approximately 2,400 deaths.

Covid-19 Vaccination Status of Nursing Home Staff Nationwide, Office of the Inspector General – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, June 27, 2022, Read the Full Report on Vax Status of Nursing Home Staff

“Today, America lost not just a valiant Marine and a Medal of Honor recipient, but an important link to our Nation’s fight against tyranny in the Second World War. I hope every American will pause to reflect on his service and that of an entire generation that sacrificed so much to defend the cause of freedom and democracy.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Last remaining WWII Medal of Honor recipient dies at 98, AP News, June 29, 2022

“The more severe the covid infection and the older you are, the more likely it is you’ll have a cardiovascular complication after.” Complications include weakening of the heart muscle, blood clots, abnormal heart rhythms, vascular system damage and high blood pressure.

Erica Spatz, director of the preventive cardiovascular health program, Yale University, Long covid symptoms are often overlooked in seniors, Washington Post (free access), June 26, 2022

Week of June 24, 2022

Even though there are so many of us doing caregiving work, we’re not talking to each other. We’re just trying to keep it together. This podcast is a platform for that conversation. Hopefully, one that helps people feel less alone and more empowered.

Introduction to The Shape of Care podcast

Asked how the Settlement Agreement affected him, Knicoma responded “Matter of respecting somebody – respect is letting others know that you honor him as a human being.”

Knicoma, a beneficiary of the Olmstead Agreement, Olmstead: Community Integration for Everyone

“I now have the right to just live and the freedom to open and close doors.”

Rose, a beneficiary of the Olmstead Agreement, Olmstead: Community Integration for Everyone

“Olmstead opened up a world for people like me who were trapped. I’m fifty-one years old and I don’t trap well.”

Neena, a beneficiary of the Olmstead Agreement, Olmstead: Community Integration for Everyone

“With half of older Americans having no retirement savings, and millions living in poverty, it’s far past time to address the future of Social Security.”

Rep. Steve Cohen, D.-Tennessee, a cosponsor of H.R.8005 Social Security Expansion Act, Social Security bill would give seniors an extra $2,400 a year. Here’s how it would work, CBS News MarketWatch, June 16, 2022

“This legislation (H.R.8005 Social Security Expansion Act) would ensure that the Social Security Trust Fund remains solvent for another 75 years, increase monthly benefits for most recipients by $200, and alter the cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) formula to meet the everyday needs of our nation’s seniors.”

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, DeFazio, Sanders Introduce Legislation to Expand and Strengthen Social Security, Office of U. S. Congressman Peter DeFazio, June 9, 2022

So, the bottom line is the long Covid risk is high. I think the number that the C.D.C. released lately of, quote, “as many as 1 in 5,” which is right down the middle of that 10 percent and 30 percent, feels right experientially. Does that mean that every single 1 in 5 is going to look a particular way? No. I think, again, there’s a huge diversity of experiences.

Dr. Lekshmi Santhosh, assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at U.C.S.F. Medical Center, and founder and medical director of U.C.S.F.‘s Long Covid and Post-I.C.U. Clinic, Two Years Later, We Still Don’t Understand Long Covid. Why?, *New York Times, June 21, 2022

“The country’s top law enforcement agency has now stated plainly that denying health care and other vital services to people with opioid use disorder violates federal law. So, facilities like jails and skilled nursing facilities that routinely discriminate against people with opioid use disorder should see the writing on the wall, and that if they continue to discriminate, they shouldn’t be surprised when the Department of Justice comes knocking on their door or they get served with a lawsuit.”

Sally Friedman, senior vice president of legal advocacy at the Legal Action Center, To protect people with addiction from discrimination, the Justice Dept. turns to a long-overlooked tool: the ADA, STAT News, June 22, 2022

“We can ring the alarm to say to people, don’t make us come and have to find you.”

Rachael Rollins, U.S. attorney in Massachusetts, referencing that the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to incarcerated persons,  To protect people with addiction from discrimination, the Justice Dept. turns to a long-overlooked tool: the ADA, STAT News, June 22, 2022

“At a time when many states are making it harder to vote, this new law will modernize our elections and make our democracy more accessible and equitable.”

Geoff Foster, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, Gov. Baker signs bill ensuring mail-in ballots, early voting, Salem News, June 23, 2022

“While such issues were significant before the pandemic, COVID-19 exacerbated the situation and created a large volume of patients who are ready for discharge from hospitals but cannot find an appropriate bed in a post-acute care setting. In some cases, patients who require specialized post-acute care services wait weeks or even months to find an appropriate bed or service.”

Massachusetts Hospital Association report, Hospitals wrestle with backlog of discharges, Salem News, June 23, 2022

“In previous waves, there were still substantial pockets of people who had not been vaccinated or exposed to the virus, and so were at the same risk of dying as people at the beginning of the pandemic,” said. “Those pockets don’t exist anymore.”

Dr. David Dowdy, epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Despite Another Covid Surge, Deaths Stay Near Lows, *New York Times, June 20, 2022

“Debt is no longer just a bug in our system. It is one of the main products. We have a health care system almost perfectly designed to create debt.”

Dr. Rishi Manchanda, board member of the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, Sick and struggling to pay, 100 million people in the U.S. live with medical debt, NPR Shots, June 16, 2022

“If the Commonwealth can fix the front door of our behavioral health system by adding capacity to mental health clinics, it will reduce or eliminate the problem of people boarding in hospital emergency departments.”

Lydia Conley, president and CEO of the Association for Behavioral Healthcare, Fund behavioral health clinics to avoid the ER boarding crisis, *Boston Globe, June 20, 2022

It’s almost like I’m just watching the clock count down until I get it.

Jay McGaffigan, who has yet to contract Covid, ‘Like playing a game of Russian roulette’: People who avoided COVID so far share how they’re feeling, *Boston Globe, June 21, 2022

Like so many others who lived at the Belchertown State School, Donald Vitkus’s life was supposed to be about what he could not do. Vitkus was not supposed to join the military, was not set on a path to attend college, and certainly was not expected to someday become a state employee. According to conventional wisdom, the boy from Waltham who spent most of his childhood in an institution for the “feeble-minded” certainly should never have had children (he had two).

Our chance to confront a hidden history in Massachusetts, Daily Hampshire Gazette, June 15, 2022

Week of June 17, 2022

‘Guardianship would have been worse than death to me because I would have lost my choice. I fully trust my team, but I want to make choices for my own life, and this law would protect that process.”

Jonathan Gardner, cancer survivor who is also autistic and an East Bridgewater resident, For some adults, it takes a team, not a guardian, to make life decisions, *Boston Globe, June 15, 2022

“So many people are losing housing right now. If we actually believe housing is a right, then we need to act like it, because the next stop is homelessness.”

Andrew Fahlstrom, a housing rights organizer, A Minneapolis woman was about to be evicted. Neighbors bought her home for her, *Washington Post, June 13, 2022

One in every 14 Americans experiences homelessness at some point, a population that is disproportionately Black. Eradicating homelessness would involve tackling systemic racism, reconstituting the nation’s mental health, family support and substance abuse systems, raising wages, expanding the federal housing voucher program and building millions more subsidized homes.

How Houston Moved 25,000 People from the Streets into Homes of Their Own, *New York Times, June 14, 2022

Half a century ago, America invented modern homelessness. The stage was set with the shuttering of psychiatric hospitals in the wake of abuse scandals and the introduction of new psychotropic medications. Then cities started offering tax incentives to owners of flop houses, or single-room-occupancy hotels, to convert their properties into market-rate rentals, condos, and co-ops.

How Houston Moved 25,000 People from the Streets into Homes of Their Own, *New York Times, June 14, 2022

“Housing people is a slow, extremely complicated, incremental process that requires all hands on deck, all the time, if you don’t want to settle for the status quo, much less go backward. Everyone has to come together around the table.”

Marc Eichenbaum, special assistant for homeless initiatives to the mayor of Houston, TX, How Houston Moved 25,000 People From the Streets Into Homes of Their Own, *New York Times, June 14, 2022

Around 1 in 6 people 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year.

Tackling Abuse of Older People: Five Priorities for the United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021-2030), World Health Organization, April 2022

The global population of people aged 60 years and older will more than double, from 900 million in 2015 to about 2 billion in 2050.

Tackling Abuse of Older People: Five Priorities for the United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021-2030), World Health Organization, April 2022

“I’m really glad that Lizzo changing it has led to lots of people learning that it’s a slur and while I obviously would have preferred, she didn’t use it in the first place, I’m glad it became something of a teachable moment. That’s probably the best outcome.”

Hannah Diviney, a disability advocate, commenting on Lizzo’s response to the inclusion of a derogatory term in a song lyric, Lizzo’s Lyric Offended Fans. She Changed It, and They Forgave., *New York Times, June 14, 2022

“Everyone needs a happiness 401(k) plan.”

Arthur C. Brooks, author of From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life, Instead of Wishing for Happiness, Here’s How You Can Really Make It Happen, The Ethel from AARP, June 13, 2022

“This audit presents us with real opportunities to address our city’s housing needs and build affordable housing across Boston. With this information and transformative investments from the American Rescue Plan, we look forward to significant, community focused affordable housing investments in Boston.”

Chief of Housing Sheila Dillon, City of Boston, Mayor Wu Announces Completed Audit of City-Owned Land, City of Boston – Mayor’s Office of Housing, June 15, 2022

“Gunshot victims, [people with] spinal cord injuries, people who are HIV+ or have AIDS have literally been warehoused there for many years (i.e., the Philadelphia Nursing Home). Many of those individuals can be better and less expensively served in community settings.”

Nursing home advocate, Thomas Earle, CEO of Liberty Resources Inc., Philadelphia Nursing Home will close by the end of 2022, The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 14, 2022

The evidence supporting Albrioza’s approval is not ironclad, but it’s certainly much stronger than the equivocal (at best) data used to approve Aduhelm. People with ALS, their caregivers, and advocates have asked the FDA to give them the same consideration and regulatory flexibility that the agency offered people with Alzheimer’s. That feels like a reasonable request. And the inevitable reports of Americans with ALS traveling to Canada to obtain Albrioza are not going to look good for the FDA.

Amylyx’s case for approval of its ALS drug isn’t ironclad. Here’s why I think it will still happen, STAT News, June 14, 2022

When I walked through the halls of the Covid intensive care unit back in the spring of 2020, I told myself, as did so many of us in health care, that we would improve care for those who were disproportionately affected by this virus. The systems to which we had become accustomed would be dismantled, and we would find ourselves somewhere better.

But those sorts of promises are naïve and empty without a plan for how to make and sustain real change to protect the vulnerable among us. So here I am, back in the unit, caring for a patient with severe cerebral palsy who had aspirated his own secretions and developed a life-threatening pneumonia. His aging parents had done the best they could, despite limited resources, making sure to turn their adult son on his side multiple times a day to help him cough, but his muscles were too weak. And now he would require a tracheotomy tube for the rest of his life. I know, after talking to his parents, that it is possible that their adult son will not go home, that they will not be able to afford the kinds of services he needs. When and if another virus comes, the son they cared for at home for three decades might be living in precisely the kind of nursing facility that will be decimated by it. It’s easy to feel that the tragedy only repeats.

Dr. Daniela Lamas, a pulmonary and critical-care physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, America’s Hospitals Are in Transition, *New York Times, June 14, 2022

“It’s pretty incredible. You could argue the provision of housing and wraparound supports is more effective than almost any clinical intervention we could offer.”

Jami Snyder, director of Arizona’s Medicaid agency, If Housing Is a Health Care Issue, Should Medicaid Pay the Rent?, The New York Times (free access), June 14, 2022

What we were most afraid of then — in addition to all the medical coulds and woulds — was how the world would treat Lucy. Would she have friends? Would she be appreciated? Would she be valued? Would she be loved?

Lucy is all these things because she wasn’t cast aside, because she wasn’t educated in a separate room, because she wasn’t denied participation in the things she loves, theater, music, and dance. It took a village. It will continue to take a village made up of family and friends and educators and strangers who become friends.

People talk about inclusion. This is what inclusion is. And this is why Lucy thrives.

Beverly Beckham, Cheers for unstoppable Lucy, as she graduates from high school, *Boston Globe, June 9, 2022 (updated)

Week of June 10, 2022

The number of people 65 and older in the United States has expanded from just over 41 million in 2011 to just under 55 million by 2020. . . The number of nursing home residents has actually decreased during that time — 1,370,680 residents in 2011 compared to 1,290,177 in 2020 — resulting in an overall decline in SNF utilization by 29% nationally.

Perfectly the Wrong Size: The Case for and Against Downsizing in Skilled Nursing, Skilled Nursing News, June 7, 2022

“I think some people are kidding themselves that [a decrease in nursing home utilization] was a result of the last few years. This trend was happening way before Covid came in … We’ve been overbedding for a long time.”

Perfectly the Wrong Size: The Case for and Against Downsizing in Skilled Nursing, Skilled Nursing News, June 7, 2022

“Most facilities haven’t rebounded to pre-pandemic census and so then the question is what the right number of beds is. We’re working with a client right now where they’ve got 580 beds of skilled nursing and we plan to cut that in half. The next question is, what do you do with these buildings and can they be repositioned? Some can, some can’t.”

Dana Wollschlager, a partner with Plante Moran Living Forward, Perfectly the Wrong Size: The Case for and Against Downsizing in Skilled Nursing, Skilled Nursing News, June 7, 2022

“[W]hile there’s nothing wrong with being young and cute, I wonder if we’ve gotten rid of the ageist stereotypes that hampered Shelby [Scott] and others of that generation.”

Donna L. Halper, associate professor of communication and media studies at Lesley University, Shelby Scott, a TV reporter buffeted by storms and sexism, *Boston Globe, June 8, 2022 (updated)

[Shelby Scott] was pounded not just by the forces of nature, but by the forces of an industry that put looks and age ahead of news savvy.

Shelby Scott, a TV reporter buffeted by storms and sexism, *Boston Globe, June 8, 2022 (updated)

In a decade, the price of new oral diabetes treatments increased fivefold. . . Many patients struggle to afford necessary medications. For seniors with Medicare, some cancer therapies cost patients more than $10,000 per year. And these high costs lead patients to not fill or to discontinue important medications or face mounds of debt.

Prices for New Drugs Are Rising 20 Percent a Year. Congress Needs to Act., *New York Times, June 8, 2022

The world is a disturbing place, and every year it gets more disturbing. This is a reality that you may experience whether you are young or old.

The mental health of children, *Salem News, June 9, 2022

We were learning to live alongside grief, appreciating its power to keep us close to Havi. We were learning that pain and love could coexist. We weren’t risking our hearts; we were expanding them.

Our daughter had a year left to live. We had to do something wonderful with the time she had left., *Boston Globe Magazine, June 8, 2022 (updated)

“You have a number of days remaining now. The pain of losing you feels different, scarier, and stronger. We used to fear all the things we’d have to stop doing together, but now we are overcome by the fear of just not being with you. We’ve always dreaded this moment — the moment when you would tell us you were ready. But now we are afraid of having to live the rest of our lives without you. We wish we could go with you wherever you’re going. Of course, we know you’ll be with us wherever we are. But please don’t be shy about just coming right in, coming back home whenever you can, whenever you want.”

Myra Sack, a certified Compassionate Bereavement Care facilitator in a message to her infant daughter, Havi, who was dying, Our daughter had a year left to live. We had to do something wonderful with the time she had left., *Boston Globe Magazine, June 8, 2022 (updated)

CMS announced that it will not require states to demonstrate compliance with the March 31, 2024, deadline to fully expend the additional [ARPA] funding they received. States originally had a three-year period—from April 1, 2021, through March 31, 2024—to use the additional funding. Instead, CMS expects states to expend the funds by March 31, 2025.

Strengthening and Investing in Home and Community Based Services for Medicaid Beneficiaries: American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Section 9817, Medicaid.gov, June 3, 2022

Respondents were asked whether they found the acuity of new resident move-ins to have increased, decreased, or stayed the same as compared to before the pandemic. Significantly, move-in acuity has increased for 71% of the respondents with assisted living, and for more than 60% of respondents with memory care units and nursing care beds. In independent living settings, 41% of respondents report acuity having increased since before the pandemic.

Executive Survey Insights | Wave 41: May 2 to May 27, 2022, NIC Notes, June 2, 2022

The senior population is living longer and presents more complex healthcare needs than previous generations. The National Council on Aging reports that 80% of older adults have one chronic illness while nearly 70% have two or more.

Improve Population Health Outcomes for Medicare Beneficiaries, Real Time Medical Systems, March 2, 2022

“I am humbled by this recognition—it strengthens my resolve to continue to be a disrupter, to work vigilantly toward eliminating the racism and bias embedded in our systems, and to follow community in identifying solutions to the issues that matter to them.”

Nora Moreno Cargie, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, and President, Point32Health Foundation (formerly Tufts Health Plan Foundation), upon receiving a NCOA Trailblazer in Aging Award, Trailblazers in Aging Awards, National Council on Aging

Every year, about 20 percent of eligible adults do not file for the EITC [Earned Income Tax Credit], including an estimated 5 million in high-need communities. As a result, more than $7 billion goes unclaimed, which hurts not only families but also communities and local businesses. SNAP participation rates for seniors lag far behind the rate of other age groups — only about 48 percent of eligible seniors are enrolled, compared with 83 percent of adults ages 18 to 59.

Amid high inflation and expiring benefits, older adults face impossible choices, The Hill, June 5, 2022

Self-neglect in older adults is a poorly understood problem with public health implications.

Self-neglect growing problem among seniors, Gloucester Times, June 3, 2022

“There seems a clear causal link between certain types of debts, especially at higher amounts, and negative health outcomes, both physical and mental.”

Stipica Mudrazija, senior research associate at the Urban Institute, In Older Americans, Rising Debt May Adversely Affect Health, New York Times (free access), June 5, 2022

Week of June 3, 2022

The poor quality of care provided by far too many of this nation’s nursing homes has been studied and documented for years. . . Policymakers and advocates at both the federal and state levels are increasingly focusing on transparency – the availability of high-quality, complete, interoperable, and accessible data on nursing home ownership, management, and financing – as a critical tool for assuring quality care and program integrity.

Nursing Home Transparency: A Critical Tool to Improve the Quality of Nursing Home Care, Long Term Care Community Coalition

“The quality problems of this industry simply do not go away; they just seem to rise to public consciousness periodically.”

John A. Nyman, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 1986, Nursing Home Transparency: A Critical Tool to Improve the Quality of Nursing Home Care, Long Term Care Community Coalition

“They’re raising false hopes. I hesitate to use the word quackery, but this is not scientific evidence-based medicine.”

Robert Howard, professor of psychiatry at University College London, referring to transcranial pulse stimulation treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease, Costly Alzheimer’s treatment is spreading around the world, with virtually no science to back it up, STAT News, June 1, 2022

“The document of needed updates has been very helpful as we do our annual city budget in our capital plan. Because of it, we’re now able to identify things through an accessibility lens, which opens up other doors for funding possibilities.”

Dominick Pangallo, Salem (MA) mayor’s chief of staff, Age-Friendly Salem, Massachusetts, AARP Livable Communities, May 2022

“It’s hard to get people interested in older adults. Challenging ageism is one of our efforts and that includes raising the consciousness of people, because it’s truly affecting the self-esteem of older adults.”

Patricia Zaido, Founder and Chair, Salem for All Ages Task Force, Age-Friendly Salem, Massachusetts, AARP Livable Communities, May 2022

The average rent affordable to an older adult on SSI is $238, but the average rent nationwide is $1,061 for a one bedroom.

A Shortage of Affordable Homes Is Driving the Surge in Older Adult Homelessness, Generations, May 18, 2022

“This is not simply a pandemic of the unvaccinated. There’s still exceptionally high risk among older adults, even those with primary vaccine series.”

Andrew Stokes, an assistant professor in global health at Boston University who studies age patterns of Covid deaths, During the Omicron Wave, Death Rates Soared for Older People, New York Times (free access), May 31, 2022

“I don’t think we should treat the premature death of older adults as a means of ending the pandemic. There are still plenty of susceptible older adults — living with comorbid conditions or living in multigenerational households — who are highly vulnerable.”

Andrew Stokes, an assistant professor in global health at Boston University who studies age patterns of Covid deaths, During the Omicron Wave, Death Rates Soared for Older People, New York Times (free access), May 31, 2022

“I think we are going to see the death rates rising. It is going to become more and more risky for older adults as their immunity wanes.”

Dr. Sharon Inouye, geriatrician and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, During the Omicron Wave, Death Rates Soared for Older People, New York Times (free access), May 31, 2022

Dr. Inouye, of Harvard Medical School, said she had waited for a notice from her mother’s assisted living facility about the rollout of second booster shots even as reports started arriving of staff members becoming infected. But still, the facility’s director said that a second booster shot drive was impossible without state guidance.

Eventually, her family had to arrange a trip to a pharmacy on their own for a second booster.

“It just seems that now the onus is put completely on the individual,” she said. “It’s not like it’s made easy for you.”

Dr. Sharon Inouye, geriatrician and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, During the Omicron Wave, Death Rates Soared for Older People, New York Times (free access), May 31, 2022

“It’s absolutely unrelenting — people coming, sick people coming, and people who aren’t that sick showing up in the ER more so than usual.”

Dr. Andrew Artenstein, chief physician executive for Baystate Health, which runs the largest hospital in Western Massachusetts, ERs reach record capacity as hospitals are inundated with patients, *Boston Globe, June 1, 2022

“One of the glaring weaknesses of the system is there is no real option for families whose children fall into that category [i.e., autistic children exhibiting extremely aggressive behaviors].”

Christopher Treiber, associate executive director at the InterAgency Council of Developmental Disability Agencies, Sabrina’s Parents Love Her. But the Meltdowns Are Too Much, *New York Times, June 1, 2022

“We are disappointed and concerned that (New York) nursing home operators and their trade associations continue to spend their resources fighting commonsense resident protections rather than investing in improving care at their facilities.”

From a statement issued by 1199 SEIU Healthcare Workers East, Nursing homes file lawsuit seeking to overturn NY law establishing staffing minimums, NCPR, May 31, 2022

Caring for those who served and did come home — with wounds visible and invisible — caring for other veterans at the end of their days, repaying the debt this community owes to all who wore the uniform, well, that’s not always so easy.

Honoring their sacrifice by caring for the living, *Boston Globe, May 30, 2022

“There’s a certain posture that you take when you are homeless. You lose your dignity.”

Ivan Perez, 53, homeless in North Hollywood, CA, A Rising Tally of Lonely Deaths on the Streets, *New York Times, April 18, 2022

“These are profoundly lonely deaths.”

David Modersbach, researcher in Alameda County (CA), A Rising Tally of Lonely Deaths on the Streets, *New York Times, April 18, 2022

“To die of heart disease, liver disease, respiratory diseases — on your own — is pretty shocking.”

David Modersbach, researcher in Alameda County (CA), A Rising Tally of Lonely Deaths on the Streets, *New York Times, April 18, 2022

“Poverty is very wearing on the body. Fifty is the new 75.”

Dr. Margot Kushel, physician specializing in homeless care, A Rising Tally of Lonely Deaths on the Streets, *New York Times, April 18, 2022

For those who do not find relief through available treatments, PTSD can become chronic, debilitating and even life-threatening. On average, 17 veterans die by suicide every day.

Dr. Robert Koffman, psychiatrist and retired U.S. Navy captain, A Balm for Psyches Scarred by War, *New York Times, May 29, 2022

“It’s really important for me that these experiences I’m sharing are used to show people that there is hope. I’ll keep doing what I can to support this therapy until it’s legalized.”

Nigel McCourry, former Marine who was a participant in trials of MDMA-assisted therapy, A Balm for Psyches Scarred by War, *New York Times, May 29, 2022

“I try to be an inspiration. A lot of people, you know, get lazy or something. And I say: ‘Look. You got to keep moving.’ That’s the secret. Just keep moving.”, Walter Lancaster, 82 years old

“I guess you just have to have the love to race, the determination to just do it.”, Lillian Atchley, 93 years old

“My consistent advice is to keep moving, keep moving, keep moving,” he said, “and have a little luck.”, Roy Englert, 99 years old

“Run every day, even if it’s a short distance,” she said. “I can’t run very much now, but when I can’t run anymore, I’ll still walk.” Yvonne Aasen, 90 years old

These 90-Year-Old Runners Have Some Advice for You, New York Times (free access), May 23, 2022 (updated)

“I came here because that is what I was interested in — I wanted to continue my education. It’s wonderful, actually. It keeps you alive, and keeps you interested.”

Elly Pollan, 92 year old grandmother of six and great-grandmother of four, upon the receipt of her bachelor’s degree from Lasalle University, After a lifetime of learning, a 92-year-old Newton woman earns her college degree, *Boston Globe, May 18, 2022

Week of May 27, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the dangers of tying health care delivery to brick-and-mortar health care facilities

Home-Based Care Reimagined: A Full-Fledged Health Care Delivery Ecosystem Without Walls, *Health Affairs, May 2022

In short, nursing homes too often have inadequate care staff and fail to provide appropriate care with dignity because nothing is stopping them from doing otherwise. As the data in this report indicate, the government is breaking its promise to ensure that residents are safe and treated with dignity. There is often little or no punishment when nursing homes fail to provide care that meets the standards they are paid to achieve, even when such failures result in significant resident suffering or avoidable death.

Broken Promises: An Assessment of Nursing Home Oversight, Long Term Care Community Coalition

Inspectors noted residents sleeping on floor mattresses less than a foot apart near standing water, some were partially undressed or completely naked, and others were calling for help or left alone with full diapers. The building smelled of urine while trash and dirty linens were piling up.

HHS-OIG Issues Notice of Exclusion to Owner of 7 Louisiana Nursing Homes, U. S. Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, May 23, 2022

“Improving nursing home performance and the care they provide is my number one priority. When those facilities and their owners fail to protect our most vulnerable populations, OIG will not hesitate to implement its powerful exclusion tool to safeguard HHS programs and the people they serve.”

Inspector General Christi A. Grimm, HHS-OIG Issues Notice of Exclusion to Owner of 7 Louisiana Nursing Homes, U. S. Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, May 23, 2022

“Having housing helps people move toward recovery and better health. Whether you are empathetic like me or you’re a pragmatic realist, we all know that few people can engage in post-hospital care without a place to live. Giving people access to a safe physical space gives them peace of mind so they can do the hard work of taking care of their health.”

A.K. Kopperud, a social worker at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, For those living on the streets, a path to housing and much better health, UC Health Today, May 23, 2022

“The widespread belief by many in the health sector that people with a mental-health condition have a brain defect or disorder of the brain, so easily leads to overwhelming disempowerment, loss of identity, loss of hope, self-stigma and isolation.”

Michelle Funk, researcher who is leading the W.H.O’s work on mental-health policy, law, and human rights, Doctors Gave Her Antipsychotics. She Decided to Live with Her Voices. *New York Times, May 17, 2022

“Post-Covid syndrome is going to become perhaps one of the most common pre-existing comorbidities going forward.”

Dr. Paddy Ssentongo, an assistant professor of infectious disease epidemiology at Penn State, Over 75 Percent of Long Covid Patients Were Not Hospitalized for Initial Illness, Study Finds, *New York Times, May 17, 2022

“Being lucky enough to have the last chapter of your life be the best chapter of your life? If you have any say-so, for God’s sake, have the best be the last.”

Gaylynn Baker, 85-year-old performer in The Retirement House’s videos shown on TikTok, Grandfluencers’ Are Sharing a New Vision of Old Age, New York Times (free access), May 25, 2022

“As you get into old age, moving into a nursing home is what’s expected, and many older people buy into that. What we’re doing, through the strength of our friendships and our mutual support, is changing the course of the way one lives their life.”

Robert Reeves, age 78, performer in The Retirement House’s videos shown on TikTok, Grandfluencers’ Are Sharing a New Vision of Old Age, New York Times (free access), May 25, 2022

By 2030, 70 million people in the United States will be over 65 years old, according to census data; for the first time, the country will have more seniors than children.

Grandfluencers’ Are Sharing a New Vision of Old Age, New York Times (free access), May 25, 2022

“Disability is hugely intersectional … disability is one of the few groups anyone can join at any time.”

Joshua Miele, a principal accessibility researcher at Amazon, Amazon accessibility researcher says inclusion of people with disabilities is ‘lacking’ in health tech, STAT News, May 24, 2022

Something as simple as getting a Covid-19 test can be complicated for Joshua Miele, a principal accessibility researcher at Amazon. Miele is blind. When he got his rapid test results at the STAT Health Tech Summit in San Francisco on Tuesday morning, the clinician handed a sheet of paper with his result not to Miele, but to a sighted STAT reporter standing beside him. That is just one example of the erasure people with disabilities face when seeking health care, especially when that care is unrelated to disability,

Amazon accessibility researcher says inclusion of people with disabilities is ‘lacking’ in health tech, STAT News, May 24, 2022

“Health care and health tech are really lacking in their thinking about disability inclusion. I think of the medical system as one of the most ableist institutions we still have.”

Joshua Miele, a principal accessibility researcher at Amazon, Amazon accessibility researcher says inclusion of people with disabilities is ‘lacking’ in health tech, STAT News, May 24, 2022

We will remember “This is Us” for showing us how people are the same in what affects our lives — love, family, grief, joy — without ignoring the factors that make our lives so different.

This Is Us’ should be remembered for its nuanced portraits of mental health, dementia, and identity, STAT News, May 24, 2022

“The suit contends that what happened at the Soldiers’ Home was so severe that it rose to the level of a deprivation of the veterans’ constitutional rights to be free from harms recklessly created by the government.

“No amount of money can bring back the veterans who died or erase the pain and suffering that this tragedy needlessly caused those veterans and their families, but justice required that those wrongs not go unaddressed. This settlement recognizes that the tragedy was preventable and never should have happened.”

Tom Lesser, one of the families’ attorneys in the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home lawsuit, State settles with families of Holyoke Soldiers Home victims, WGBH News, May 12, 2022

Since 2015, more than 1,000 nursing homes have closed and over 44,000 residents have been displaced—punctuated by 30% jump in closings during the pandemic.

The Unintended Implications of Nursing Homes Closures, Open Minds, May 4, 2022

“I will make the rest of your time here miserable.”

Administrator at Veterans Victory House, a four-star facility in(South Carolina, Nursing Homes Fail US Veterans: Elder Justice “No Harm” Newsletter

Week of May 13, 2022

“We remember. . .”

Alex Goldstein, creator of FacesOfCovid, a social media platform that has shared the stories of more than 7,000 people who have died of Covid-19. The faces of Covid, STAT News, May 10, 2022

“No amount of money can bring back the veterans who died or erase the pain and suffering that this tragedy needlessly caused those veterans and their families, but justice required that those wrongs not go unaddressed. This settlement recognizes that the tragedy was preventable and never should have happened.”

Thomas Lesser, attorney who represented families of Holyoke Soldiers’ Home pandemic victims, State to pay $56 million to settle lawsuit brought by families of veterans who got COVID-19 at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, *Boston Globe, May 12, 2022

Whether or not we are done with the virus, it seems the virus will do its best to stay with us.

The ‘five pandemics’ driving 1 million U.S. Covid deaths, STAT News, May 10, 2022

“If I’ve got this child and they’re cutting and saying they’re going to kill themselves, I’ll say, ‘Well, I’ll see them today,’ If I call a child psychiatrist, they say, ‘I’ll see them in a month.’ . . . Whatever we’re doing isn’t working.”

Dr. Melissa Dennison, a pediatrician in Glasgow, KY, Teens in Distress Are Swamping Pediatricians, New York Times (free access), May 10, 2022

Between 5.3 million and 14.2 million people could lose Medicaid coverage following the end of the public health emergency and federal continuous enrollment requirement.

Millions Expected to Lose Medicaid Coverage After the Public Health Emergency Expires, KFF The Latest, May 11, 2022

The provisional 2021 total translates to roughly one U.S. overdose death every 5 minutes.

U.S. overdose deaths hit record 107,000 in 2021, CDC says, STAT News, May 11, 2022

“This [burn pit care] is an urgent issue. I mean, people are dying.”

Aleks Morosky, governmental affairs specialist for the Wounded Warrior Project, Senate GOP Puts Up Roadblocks to Bipartisan House Bill for Veterans’ Burn Pit Care, Kaiser Health News, May 11, 2022

“You better think about having community care — because there’s no way you’re going to be able to ramp up the medical infrastructure to provide that purely through the VA.”

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Senate GOP Puts Up Roadblocks to Bipartisan House Bill for Veterans’ Burn Pit Care, Kaiser Health News, May 11, 2022

“At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished… it’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.”

Denzel Washington, https://tinyurl.com/DavidPStevens

“Scientific advancements in recent years have dramatically expanded the role of nurses in our health care system, and their knowledge and skills have increased to keep pace with new technologies and methods of treatments.

“Yet, the very core of nursing—caring for patients at the bedside—remains unchanged. Nurses bring a special compassion and concern for the patient and for the patient’s family.

“Nurses play a vital role in educating people in how to avoid illness and promote good health.

“Nurses are essential to every health care setting—in hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory care centers, and patients’ homes.”

Proclamation 4913—National Recognition Day for Nurses, 1982, National Nurses Day and Week: May 6 and May 6-12, 2022, U. S. Census Bureau, May 6, 2022

Week of May 6, 2022

“People need me, so I’m going to keep doing it.”

Frank Smith, 100-year-old Meals on Wheels delivery volunteer, WWII veteran still helping community after 100 years, Daily Sun, May 4, 2022

“Residents of long-term care facilities across Massachusetts and their families deserve to feel confident that every resident will be cared for and protected. We took action against these facilities to ensure that nursing home residents are provided the best possible care, and to secure the safety and training protocols needed to avoid preventable harm.”

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Three patient deaths, and many others in misery, prompts $250,000 in fines at 5 Mass. nursing homes, *Boston Globe, May 3, 2022 (updated)

“I think it was a missed opportunity to take some stronger action against facilities … where residents suffered real harm. When nursing homes are owned by some of the largest chains in the country, a $30,000 fine is a slap on the wrist. It’s not a whole lot of money, and it doesn’t cover all the nursing homes in the Heritage chain. That’s troubling. I would like the state to say, ‘We have a problem with non-implementation in policy in this facility; we should look at all of them.’. . .

“Nursing homes are more under-staffed than usual and things have gotten worse.”

Toby Edelman, senior policy attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Three patient deaths, and many others in misery, prompts $250,000 in fines at 5 Mass. nursing homes, *Boston Globe, May 3, 2022 (updated)

“This is a key moment when you want to incorporate all these aging undocumented immigrants into the health care system.  If you let their chronic conditions go unattended, they’ll just end up in the emergency room and be more expensive to treat. [It’s] “a responsible way of investing.”

Arturo Vargas Bustamante, professor of health policy and management at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health, California Opens Medicaid to Older Unauthorized Immigrants, Kaiser Health News, May 2, 2022

“Based on neutralisation escape, BA.4 and BA.5 [variants] have potential to result in a new infection wave.”

COVID’s new Omicron sub-lineages can dodge immunity from past infection, study says, Reuters, May 1, 2022

“This virus has probably got tricks we haven’t seen yet. We know it’s probably not quite as infectious as measles yet, but it’s creeping up there, for sure.”

Robert F. Garry of Tulane University virologist, Virus mutations aren’t slowing down. New omicron subvariant proves it, *Washington Post, May 1, 2022

“Certainly, the rationale for an increase [In Part B Medicare premiums] that high is gone. The question would be ‘what’s administratively feasible’.”

Paul Ginsburg, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, A reduction in Medicare Part B premiums remains in play. Here’s where things stand, CNBC, May 1, 2022

“We’re trying to shift the way society thinks about people with disabilities from charity to prosperity. You can run a profitable business that employs people with disabilities.”

Ben Wright, co-founder and owner of Bitty & Beau’s, a chain of coffee shops principally employing persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities, Building a Future for the Disabled, One Cup of Coffee at a Time, Bloomberg Newsweek, April 11, 2022

[W]e found that unions were associated with 10.8 percent lower resident COVID-19 mortality rates, as well as 6.8 percent lower worker COVID-19 infection rates.

Resident Mortality and Worker Infection Rates From COVID-19 Lower in Union Than Nonunion US Nursing Homes, 2020–21, *Health Affairs, April 20, 2022

In the sector overall, more than 3,000 skilled nursing facilities [of 15,560 Medicare-participating facilities] experienced a change in ownership between 2016 and 2021, according to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

SCOTUS to Hear Case Over Scope of Federal Nursing Home Reform Act, Skilled Nursing News, May 3, 2022

“When I chose to become a doctor, I thought I would receive thorough training in dealing with patients with disabilities, autism spectrum disorder included. But I didn’t. When it comes to people with autism, it seems like health care providers are grasping at straws, unsure of what to do. I expected patients with autism to be treated with compassion, but have come to realize that compassion is the exception: fear and disdain are the norm.”

Dr. Amanda Joy Calhoun, adult/child psychiatry resident at Yale School of Medicine’s Child Study Center, The medical system needs to deeply reform its care of people with autism, STAT News, May 1, 2022

It is offensive to speculate about why individuals with autism and other mental illnesses are more vulnerable to COVID-19 without considering the impact of ableism—without considering that they may be denied the COVID-19 vaccine because they need disability accommodations.

My Brother Is Still Unvaccinated Because Our Medical System Is Ableist, Time, November 8, 2021

“I want my money back, and I want to be charged the amount I agreed to pay for the drug. I think this needs to be fixed because other people are going to be cheated.”

Linda Griffith, covered by a Humana Medicare prescription drug plan, whose prescription cost increased 400% to $275.90 weeks after enrollment into the plan, Medicare Surprise: Drug Plan Prices Touted During Open Enrollment Can Rise Within a Month, Kaiser Health News, May 3, 2022

About 420,000 nursing home workers have left the industry since the start of the pandemic, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, as nursing homes have lost 15.2% of the industry’s total workforce.

Inside the Race to Certify Temporary Nurse Aides as End to Waiver Nears, Skilled Nursing News, May 4, 2022

“The [health care cost control] system is working in Massachusetts. The focus on providing transparency around health costs has been really helpful. That’s what all states want to do. I don’t know if other states will adopt the Massachusetts model. But we’re hearing increased interest.”

Maureen Hensley-Quinn, senior program director, National Academy for State Health Policy, who stressed the importance of the state’s robust data-gathering and analysis program, States Watching as Massachusetts Takes Aim at Hospital Building Boom and Costs, Kaiser Health News, May 3, 2022

“Cognitive impairment is common to a wide range of neurological disorders, including dementia, and even routine ageing, but the patterns we saw – the cognitive ‘fingerprint’ of COVID-19 – was distinct from all of these.”

Professor David Menon, Division of Anaesthesia at the University of Cambridge, Severe COVID-19 may cause 10-point IQ drop, 20-year brain aging, University of Cambridge, May 3, 2022

“Sunday morning our lives changed forever. If we can prevent just one life from ending so tragically by talking openly about Sam’s struggles, we are committed to do so.”

Sally Cioffi, mother of Sam Cioffi, who committed suicide at age 22, Family shares son’s struggles with mental illness, addiction, Salem News, May 5, 2022

“It would be difficult to overstate the global health implications of post-COVID-19 condition. This is, of course, a major health care burden but may also hinder economic productivity because of the ensuing disability post-COVID-19 condition can cause in the labor force. Nations . . . need to take a proactive approach and have a health and economic support system for patients with long COVID.”

Spencer R. Haupert, MS candidate in biostatistics at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Global prevalence of long COVID ‘substantial,’ researchers say, Healio, May 1, 2022

Week of April 29, 2022

“So, wouldn’t you want to know who owns the nursing home? Who really manages the nursing home? Who really controls the decisions, the care decisions, that are going to be made?”

Louraine Arkfeld, past chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, Coronavirus Deaths in Nursing Homes and Guardianship Scandals Prompt New Elder Law Recommendations, American Bar Association Bifocal, March 14, 2022

“Unfortunately, the pandemic has demonstrated to us, often quite painfully, how tenuous the care and safety of our loved ones can be in nursing homes. These increasingly complex structures with their disassembly of nursing home ownership and operations have been shown to have a negative effect on a broad array of quality measures.”

Louraine Arkfeld, past chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, Coronavirus Deaths in Nursing Homes and Guardianship Scandals Prompt New Elder Law Recommendations, American Bar Association Bifocal, March 14, 2022

I finally made my last-ditch appeal to Social Worker #2, telling her that Tuesday is a writing day and I really needed to get back to work. It was a none too subtle way of saying, hey, focus on something other than my DOB. I have a career. I have a life. I do not fit neatly into your computer-generated list of insufferable questions. And don’t put me in one of your little boxes that simply says “old” and think you’ve done your job.

Rachelle G. Cohen, Boston Globe Assistant Editorial Page Editor, commenting on her emergency room experience, Ageism in health care? Yep, it’s a thing., Boston Globe, April 28, 2022

The most shocking aspect of this is that the whole procedure — from deciding to kick frail elderly out of their homes, to giving them a mere 90 days to find a new place to live, to refusing to accept less-than premium reimbursement rates — is completely legal. There is nothing in state law to protect seniors from essentially being turned out on the streets. What’s happening in Beverly could happen in Newburyport, or Haverhill, or Gloucester.

State must stand up for vulnerable seniors, Salem News, April 28, 2022

“It’s all about money.”

David Tamilio, whose 88-year-old mother is a resident at Oceanview Assisted Living, commenting on the reason for evicting 67 residents, State must stand up for vulnerable seniors, Salem News, April 28, 2022

Because so many people have caught covid, if even a tiny percentage suffer continuing health problems a huge public-health crisis could ensue. Some call it the pandemic after the pandemic.

What we know—and do not know—about long covid, The Economist, April 27, 2022

“The goal of our policy should be: obviously minimize infections whenever possible, but to make sure people don’t get seriously ill.”

Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the White House’s new Covid-19 coordinator, The new White House Covid czar says avoiding all virus infections isn’t the goal of U.S. pandemic policy,*New York Times, April 27, 2022

“You make peace with pain. I think my pain threshold is probably quite high at the moment. It’s one step at a time. . . Running really changed my life. It helped me accept myself as an amputee. It gave me a sense of freedom. I fell in love with the process of pushing my body further just to see what I could do. . . I hoped it would inspire a lot of people to get out of their comfort zone and push a little bit farther. You’re stronger than you think — and you’re capable of so much more.”

Jacky Hunt-Broersma, a serial marathon runner who happens to be an amputee, Jacky’s quest: 1 woman, 1 leg, 102 marathons in 102 days, AP News, April 15, 2022

“As Americans, we’ve always idolized youth and we’re notoriously underprepared for thinking about aging. It often comes as a surprise to people.”

Sarah Szanton, dean of the Johns Hopkins University nursing school, Older people fret less about aging in place: AP-NORC Poll, AP News, April 27, 2022

Most adults age 50 and older feel confident about their access to services to help them age in their communities, but those living in rural areas and Black or Hispanic older adults have more reservations about the services in their area that support aging.

Equity and Aging in the Community, AP Polls, April 27, 2022

“At the end of the day, we are sitting on a rocket ship headed for a planet of fun and riches and it doesnt (sic) really matter who provides the start up for us.”

Michael Glynn, co-owner of Motif at Monarch, formerly Oceanview Assisted Living Residence in Beverly, commenting on acquiring the business, Assisted living owners envisioned ‘fun and riches’, Salem News, April 27, 2022

Week of April 22, 2022

“If you’re just an average person trying to navigate [the Test-to-Treat system], it’s actually completely impossible.”

Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California-San Francisco, How the Test-to-Treat Pillar of the US Covid Strategy Is Failing Patients, Kaiser Health News, April 15, 2022

“CARE Court is not the appropriate tool for providing a path to wellness for Californians living with mental health disabilities who face homelessness, incarceration, hospitalization, conservatorship, and premature death. Instead, California should invest in evidence-based practices that are proven to work and that will actually empower people living with mental health disabilities on their paths to recovery and allow them to retain full autonomy over their lives without the intrusion of a court.”

From a statement by more than three dozen organizations and individuals, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Disability Rights California and the Western Center on Law and Poverty, Opposition mounts against Newsom’s plan for court-ordered treatment of homeless people, *Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2022

“She went from having a normal life and routine she liked, where her day started with the bus picking her up and taking her to school, to completely being shut down. She didn’t understand why everything had stopped. She’d wake up, get ready and then ask, ‘Where’s the bus?’ We had to tell her it wasn’t coming, and she got so frustrated.”

Karen Sweeney, mother of Jovay Sweeney, 21-years-old, who has cerebral palsy, Md. grant will help students with disabilities set back by pandemic, *The Washington Post, April 13, 2022

“The pandemic showed in stark terms the cost of not investing in long-term care. It will be hard to meet the needs of a lot of middle-class folks who want to age in place. There is a shortage of workers to care for people who want to stay at home. The housing stock is often not conducive. And older folks have to be able to get to places if they can’t drive.”

Marc Cohen, gerontology professor and researcher, University of Massachusetts Boston, Pandemic’s lesson for many older folks: Stay in your home as long as you can, *Boston Globe, April 18, 2022 (updated)

“The house itself will become the technology, and it will be ambient and proactive. The pandemic served as a propellent. We learned as caregivers and individuals that ‘I can extend my stay at home.’”

Joe Coughlin, director of MIT’s AgeLab, Pandemic’s lesson for many older folks: Stay in your home as long as you can, *Boston Globe, April 18, 2022 (updated]

“We just forget to die.”

101-year-old woman, resident on the island of Ikaria, Greece, The Island Where People Forget to Die, New York Times (free access), October 24, 2012

“I really want people around the world to know there is a woman in her 60s, far off in Japan, who is running sub-three for the marathon and I really want to cross the finish line to see a clock starting at number two.”

Mariko Yugeta, 63-year-old Japanese woman, expressing her wishes regarding her participation in the Boston Marathon, She Set Marathon Records in Her Sixties. Then Came the Fans., *New York Times, April 19, 2022 (updated)

“Being Deaf assigned me a battle. If my family were hearing and I were the only Deaf person, I don’t think I’d see the value in the fight. I wouldn’t see the value in advocating for my own rights, and I wouldn’t have learned it at home.”

Nyle DiMarco, model, producer, and writer, In ‘Deaf Utopia,’ Nyle DiMarco Dreams of Integrating the Deaf and Hearing Worlds, *New York Times, April 19, 2022

Racial and ethnic discrimination has a significant impact on the health of people of color, affecting mental health and contributing to high blood pressure, negative health behaviors, and early aging. For Black older adults, the cumulative effects of race-related stress experienced over the course of a life can increase the risk for mental and physical health problems.

How Discrimination in Health Care Affects Older Americans, and What Health Systems and Providers Can Do, The Commonwealth Fund, April 21, 2022

“It’s a whole new frightening possibility of elder abuse.”

Donovan Maust, a geriatric psychiatrist and health services researcher at the Michigan Medicine Department of Psychiatry, commenting on the potential misuse of psychedelics, A psychedelic therapist allegedly took millions from a Holocaust survivor, highlighting worries about elders taking hallucinogens, STAT Investigations, April 21, 2022

“If the courts handcuff the CDC in this most classic exercise of public health powers, it seems to me that CDC will not be able to act nimbly and decisively when the next health crisis hits. And it will hit.”

Lawrence O. Gostin, Georgetown University professor of global health law, Biden administration to appeal ruling striking down transit mask mandate, Washington Post, April 20, 2022 (updated)

“Another new strain that appears to be even more transmissible than the last and that would explain at least some of the rise in cases we are starting to see, though I think we would have seen one even without this.”

Matthew Fox, Boston University School of Public Health epidemiology professor, New omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 on the rise in New England, COVID strain appears to be ‘even more transmissible’, *Boston Herald, April 20, 2022 (updated)

“Mama didn’t deserve such a death.”

Larissa, daughter of Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova, a 91-year-old holocaust survivor who died while sheltering in a cold basement in besieged Mariupol, Holocaust survivor, 91, dies while hiding in basement in Ukraine, Forward, April 19, 2022

“If one of my students turned in this opinion as their final exam, I don’t know if I would agree that they had gotten the analysis correct. It reads like someone who had decided the case and then tried to dress it up as legal reasoning without actually doing the legal reasoning.”

Erin Fuse Brown, law professor at Georgia State University, The judge who tossed mask mandate misunderstood public health law, legal experts say, NPR Shots, April 19, 2022

“This is really a serious deviation from not just what we’re trying to do to protect the public’s health, but a misstatement of federal authority in emergencies to a great degree.”

James Hodge, law professor at Arizona State University, The judge who tossed mask mandate misunderstood public health law, legal experts say, NPR Shots, April 19, 2022

“This is not any average population that’s being displaced. These are frail, at-risk individuals and disrupting them in even relatively modest ways can be problematic.”

Paul Lanzikos, Dignity Alliance Massachusetts Coordinator, Assisted living residents given 90 days to move out, Salem News, April 21, 2022

Week of April 15, 2022

“The past two years have been a stark reminder of the critical role our frontline health care workers play in caring for our loved ones and neighbors. The men and women of Saugus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. They deserve a competitive living wage.”

U. S. Seth Moulton, D-Salem, Moulton, others back nursing home workers in one-day strike, Salem News, April 14, 2022

We must respect and protect nursing home caregiver wages. We simply cannot afford to go backwards.

Tara Gregorio, president, Massachusetts Senior Care Association, Nursing home situation grows dire again, CommonWealth, April 9, 2022

“Their parents went away to the hospital and that was the last time they saw them. Some families had to delay funerals until very recently, and that lack of ritual leaves families floundering.”

Lane Pease Hendricks, program director at Kate’s Club in Atlanta, a children’s bereavement organization, As Families Grieve, Grandparents Step Up, New York Times (free access) , April 9, 2022

“[The budget proposal is] meant to be both transformational, aspirational, but also solidly grounded in the day-to-day realities of our residents.”

Michelle Wu, Mayor of Boston, Michelle Wu’s Boston budget proposal goes big on housing, little change to police, Boston Herald, April 13, 2022

According [to] an American study from 2016, fully 94% of those between the ages of 57-85 had some kind of sensory disability, and most suffered from impairments to at least two of the five senses.

The rise of buildings for the deaf and blind, The Economist, December 18, 2018

“Although ‘vaccine hesitancy’ dominates media coverage, in fact, language barriers, lack of regular health providers, absence of paid time off to get vaccinated and recover, and lack of trust in the health system all play a role in undermining vaccine coverage.”

Team of researchers from Boston University’s School of Public Health and the city’s Public Health Commission, New COVID-19 vaccine study challenges stereotypes of who is getting the shots, *Boston Globe, April 14, 2022 (updated)

“I expect that at some point in the not-too-distant future, Congress will agree on a Social Security package that includes some type of adjustment to the retirement age. Whether that’s in two years or 10 years, it’s very difficult to predict.”

Shai Akabas, director of economic policy, Bipartisan Policy Center, Social Security’s retirement age is moving to 67. Some experts say that could go even higher, CNBC, April 3, 2022

“We’re seeing a huge boom in senior homelessness,” “These are not necessarily people who have mental illness or substance abuse problems. They are people being pushed into the streets by rising rents.”

Kendra Hendry, a caseworker at Arizona’s largest shelter, where older people make up about 30% of those staying there, Senior homeless skyrockets, Salem News, April 12, 2022

Week of April 8, 2022

“The pandemic has lifted the veil on what has been an invisible social ill for decades.”

The daughter and caregiver of two parents with dementia who needed nursing home care, U.S. nursing home care is ineffective, inefficient, inequitable, fragmented, and unsustainable, STAT News, April 6, 2022

The pandemic has indeed “lifted the veil” on U.S. nursing homes. The big question is whether the country has the will to do anything about it. If so, implementation of the committee’s integrated set of recommendations will, as we wrote, “move the nation closer to making high-quality, person-centered, and equitable care a reality for all nursing home residents, their chosen families, and the nursing home staff who provide care and support them in achieving their goals.”

U.S. nursing home care is ineffective, inefficient, inequitable, fragmented, and unsustainable, STAT News, April 6, 2022

“I will stress that this is a comprehensive package of reforms. Many stakeholders will want to grab their preferred recommendations and ignore the ones that are more challenging. That is a mistake. We can’t nibble around the edges and expect transformative change.”

David Grabowski, Ph.D., Harvard healthcare policy expert, U.S. nursing home system ‘ineffective,’ ‘unsustainable,’ National Academies report says, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, April 6, 2022

“[The National Imperative to Improve Nursing Home Quality] report is a piercing wake-up call for policymakers. Decades of underfunding have left America’s nursing home system in desperate need of an overhaul. [A]s the commission notes, our country’s system of financing, oversight and support for nursing homes is ‘ineffective, inefficient, fragmented, and unsustainable’.” 

LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan, U.S. nursing home system ‘ineffective,’ ‘unsustainable,’ National Academies report says, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, April 6, 2022

“It still hits you at times that they are really gone.”

Connie Houtz, resident of Mifflin County, PA, who had  two adult sons die of Covid, As US Nears 1 Million Covid Deaths, One Hard-Hit County Grapples with Unthinkable Loss, Kaiser Health News, April 1, 2022

Crucial questions about long Covid remain, including exactly how it will be defined, how prevalent it is among people who are infected with Covid-19, and who is most at risk.

STAT News, April 5, 2022, Biden administration ramps up long Covid research efforts following criticism

“They don’t need a cane or walker, but they are as impaired or more impaired in their daily living than someone who might be older and who is hospitalized. More than half of the patients who we see who were previously working before Covid are unable to work or have reduced schedules because of their symptoms.”

John Baratta, founder and co-director of the University of North Carolina’s COVID Recovery Clinic in  Chapel Hill, Good, not great’: Some long Covid patients see their symptoms improve, but full recovery is elusive, STAT News, February 8, 2022

“It’s going to be a pandemic of long Covid. We’re going to have a lot of people who are quite disabled and a lot of people with chronic illness.”

Neurologist Svetlana Blitshteyn, director and founder of the Dysautonomia Clinic at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, ‘Good, not great’: Some long Covid patients see their symptoms improve, but full recovery is elusive, STAT News, February 8, 2022

“As a society, we’re craving a return to quote-unquote ‘normalcy’. That return to normal is a return to not recognizing the value of the lives of people with disabilities and the elderly.”

Nicole Jorwic, chief of advocacy and campaigns for Caring Across Generations, Vaccine Hesitancy Has Seeped into Home Health Care, The Atlantic, February 9, 2022

“COVID-19 was not only a healthcare crisis but an extended test of the nation’s recognition of their human and civil rights.”

The Impact of COVID-19 on People with Disabilities, National Council on Disability (NCD), October 29, 2021

“Many phenomena that patients have been highlighting since the beginning are only now gaining momentum in formal research—clotting problems, cardiovascular issues, sudden drops in oxygen levels, autoantibodies.”

Elisa Perego, a long-hauler who is an archaeologist, Long-Haulers Are Fighting for Their Future, The Atlantic, September 1, 2021

The risk is that long COVID becomes yet another neglected disease whereby some uncounted number of people become debilitatingly sick every year and fruitlessly bang for help on the door of an unconcerned medical establishment. But a better future is also possible, in which long-haulers—vocal, united, and numerous—finally galvanize research into the long-term consequences of viral infections; in which such research proceeds quickly as patient experts become partners; in which the world gets ways of preventing and treating long COVID, ME/CFS, and other marginalized conditions; and in which the ents’ interminable meeting ends in action and victory.

Long-Haulers Are Fighting for Their Future, The Atlantic, September 1, 2021

“We are talking about $20 million to cover building out care coordination strategies for a mass disabling event [i.e., long Covid]  that is affecting an estimated at least 2 percent of all Americans with a multisystem, multi-organ condition. This is complex care — $20 million doesn’t get you very far.”

David Putrino, director of rehabilitation innovation for the Mount Sinai Health System, Biden announces long covid strategy as experts push for more, *Washington Post, April 5, 2022

“Mental health problems in youth are often associated with other behavioral risks such as drug use, experiencing violence and higher risk sexual behaviors and these problems can have lasting negative effects well into adulthood.”

Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, ‘Youth are in crisis’: Mental health of US high school students worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic, CDC survey finds, CNN Health, March 31, 2022

“Lifestyle factors such as smoking, exercise and diet influence our development of Alzheimer’s, and acting to address these now is a positive way of reducing risk ourselves. However, 60-80% of disease risk is based on our genetics and therefore we must continue to seek out the biological causes and develop much-needed treatments for the millions of people affected worldwide.”

Julie Williams, center director at the UK Dementia Research Institute at Cardiff University, 42 previously unknown genes discovered for Alzheimer’s disease, CNN Health, April 5, 2022

“To care for them, you have to give them dignity. That is the main factor they stress at the job, yet you don’t give us the staff to provide that. They look to you for comfort, but then when you don’t have time to adequately give them the comfort they deserve, it’s not fair and then it’s on your conscience.”

Holly Ward, a geriatric nursing assistant at a Baltimore MD nursing home, Nursing home residents suffer from staffing shortages, but the jobs are hard to fill, NPR, April 6, 2022

“If you’re not on your way to that clinical trial by the beginning of May, it is very difficult to have collectively across manufacturers enough product to meet that demand.”

Robert Johnson, the director of an infectious disease division within the Department of Health and Human Services, Officials outline a tight deadline if the U.S. wants to redesign its Covid vaccines before the fall, *New York Times, April 6, 2022

“We want to make sure the money is being spent properly and for resident care, that resident care needs are coming first and not taking a back seat to other kinds of expenses like related-party transactions or even putting profit before people. To that end, if it looks like we still need to be focusing on finding additional funds to put into the system, (those) should go directly toward providing direct patient care.”

Lori Smetanka, executive director of The Consumer Voice, Reforms could start sooner than one year, Becerra says in ‘monumental’ nursing home meeting, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, April 1, 2022

“When interest rates are going up, it’s an enormous business problem for long-term care. Many providers are on loans with banks that mature every five years. So, the terms of those loans change every five years, and when interest rates go up, it’s just more money you have to pay every month on the mortgage. A 2% rise in interest rates is a very material event for a provider.”

Mark Parkinson, American Health Care Association President and CEO, Parkinson warns of new ‘enormous’ business problem for nursing homes; highlights staffing-minimum alternative, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, March 31, 2022

“I finally saw a deaf actor on the screen showing deaf culture in a film. That night changed my life. If she did it, I could do it.”

Marlee Matlin, after seeing a deaf actress on the ‘70s sitcom “Happy Days”, CODA strikes a blow for representation, *Salem News, February 7, 2022

For now, most of us can enjoy the warm spring sun on our unmasked faces. But we can also do a lot more to control Covid. If we learn quickly and act quickly, we can outmaneuver the virus. As Covid continues to adapt, our response needs to adapt along with it. We could be entering the endgame for Covid. How we play it will determine what happens next.

The Next Covid Wave Is Probably Already on Its Way, New York Times (free access), March 22, 2022

“I think DPH’s mission has been much less concerned with the broader issues of affordability and competition. I hope the state as a whole takes a more active role in trying to model a market that is affordable and maintains some level of competition.”

Nancy Kane, adjunct professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, ‘A new reality’: State’s decision against Mass General Brigham’s suburban expansion could mean tighter regulation of costs and hospital growth, *Boston Globe, April 5, 2022

“I got you.”

Lady Gaga to Liza Minelli, Lady Gaga’s moment with Liza Minnelli was a beautiful example of caring with dignity, Upworthy.com, March 30, 2022

“I know.”

Liza Minelli in reply to Lady Gaga, Lady Gaga’s moment with Liza Minnelli was a beautiful example of caring with dignity, Upworthy.com, March 30, 2022

Week of April 1, 2022

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to live at home, in their communities, and with their loved ones. This funding will bring dignity and peace of mind to even more seniors and people with disabilities across the country. We will continue expanding these programs to ensure all Americans have equitable access to the high-quality health care they deserve—no matter where they live.”

Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, HHS to Provide $110 Million to Strengthen Money Follows the Person Program, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, March 31, 2022

“Just as we’ve reached the critical turning point in this fight, Congress has to provide the funding America needs to continue to fight covid-19.”

Pres. Joe Biden, Biden presses Congress for new covid funding, gets second booster shot, Washington Post, March 30, 2022

“It’s a story of hope. We are 97 years old, and we both made it.”

Sam Ron, a holocaust survivor, commenting on reuniting with Jack Waksal, another survivor, after separation almost 80 years ago, They were prisoners in the Holocaust together. They just reunited, *Washington Post, March 29, 2022

“Boosters are safe, and people over the age of 50 can now get an additional booster 4 months after their prior dose to increase their protection further. This is especially important for those 65 and older and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19 as they are the most likely to benefit from receiving an additional booster dose at this time.”

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Second booster shots authorized for adults 50 and older, CNN Health, March 29, 2022

It’s time for hospitals, health care systems, and other organizations to address racism, health equity, and community health in ways that treat them as the urgent public health crises they truly are. Putting equity at the center of every decision is hard. It requires tough conversations, pushing back on the way things have always been done, and making considerable investments of both time and money. The extra steps, while heavy and time-consuming, are the ones that will ultimately close the opportunity gap that affects so many Americans in every aspect of their lives.

Tom Sequist, chief medical officer of Massachusetts General Brigham and medical director of the Outreach Program with the Indian Health Service, Unexpectedly united: The parallel plights of two communities 2,000 miles apart wracked by the pandemic, STAT News, March 28, 2022

The world has surpassed 6 million Covid-related deaths, and what was once shocking has become for many people merely a statistic. Many accept the daily death toll — unless it personally affects them — because they feel powerless to do otherwise. We look away, explain away, rationalize. But we cannot do that with the children left behind by this terrible scourge.

There’s no return to normal for millions of children orphaned during Covid, STAT News, March 30, 2022

“I would urge people to get their first booster because one thing that did become apparent … is the third dose provides a differentiating level of immunity that does seem to provide people some additional benefit, in terms of preventing the severe outcomes of hospitalization and death — and that seems to last and be more durable.”

Peter Marks, director, FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Older adults can get second coronavirus booster to strengthen waning protection, Washington Post (free access), March 29, 2022

“I was speechless at first. Knowing that those moments included opportunities for my family, friends, and students to have access to the show was priceless and brought tears to my eyes. I am honored to be a part of the Deaf community as a CODA. . . This is just one story of millions of stories in the Deaf community. I did not necessarily have the experience that was in the film, but I felt very much connected to the movie because I felt it was a reflection of my childhood. The good thing too is that it brings awareness about the Deaf community.”

April Dooley, of Beverly, MA, born to deaf parents, one of six siblings, two of whom are deaf, and whose first language was American Sign Language, ‘This is our moment’, Salem News, March 30, 2022

“CODA” [was the first film that] “allowed Deaf people to be normal, hard-working individuals trying to raise a family, and navigate the world. It showed their very real frustrations, without making them into pitiable objects that needed to be saved.”

William Millios, who is deaf and works in freelance videography and web development in Montpelier, Vermont, Oscar wins for ‘CODA’ bring tears, elation to Deaf community, AP News, March 29, 2022

“There might be a reason to top off the tanks a little bit” for older people and those with other health conditions.

E. John Wherry, University of Pennsylvania immunologist, US opens second COVID boosters to 50 and up, others at risk, AP News, March 29, 2022

“The severity of Covid-19 among Black Americans was the predictable result of structural and societal realities, not differences in genetic predisposition.”

The State of Black America and Covid-19 – A Two Year Assessment, Black Coalition against Covid

“I worked all my life and now I can’t even get help. That bothers me. I want to be able to enjoy what time I have left.”

Loretta Copeland, an 81-year-old who lives in Harlem, Many of Us Want to Age at Home. But That Option Is Fading Fast. New York Times (free access), March 30, 2022

Senators consistently emphasized the impact of the lack of home-based care on families. Not only were a number of Senators family caregivers themselves, but many acknowledged the economic costs to individuals who choose to leave the workforce to care for loved ones. Additionally, multiple Senators remarked on the growing waitlists for home and community-based services, questioning whether these waitlists accounted for all the home-based care needs or only a small proportion.

Hearing Summary: An Economy That Cares: The Importance of Home-Based Services, LeadingAge, March 23, 2022

“The youth mental health crisis has only been made worse by the challenges of the pandemic. We have an obligation to meet this moment of urgency with the comprehensive solutions and resources our children need.”

U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Westford, Bill’s Aim to Prevent Suicides *Salem News, March 31, 2022

Week of March 25, 2022

Establish professional standards for the superintendent. Clarify the chain of command from the veterans’ facility to Beacon Hill. Consolidate authority to hire and fire a superintendent in a Cabinet-level position, with direct report to the governor.

That is key to reform. Anything that stands in the way of those simple goals disrespects the veterans who died of COVID-19 in Holyoke.

Concluding recommendations, Editorial Board, Two years after COVID-19 deaths, still no systemic reform at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke *Boston Globe, March 22, 2022 (updated)

“No one wants to talk about dying, but we all die. We need to plan for it.”

Tess Clarkson, an End-of-Life Doula, What a Death Doula Wants You to Know, The Ethel (AARP), March 23, 2022

“When a machine is disabled, it’s broken. But you’re not broken. You’re changing. It’s a matter of embracing the change and then transforming into what you will become.”

Jon Kreamelmeyer, paralympic coach whose leg was amputated at age 75 years last year and is now a paraplegic skier, Former Paralympic Coach Comes ‘Full Circle’ After Losing a Leg, *New York Times, March 20, 2022

Given the expertise available, a decision [about the need for future Covid-19 vaccinations] grounded in science and facts is likely to be the right decision.

Covid-19 vaccine policy should be made by public health experts, not company executives, STAT, March 22, 2022

“Just imagine how much [Boris Romanchenko, a 96-year-old Ukrainian who was a survivor of Nazi concentration camps] went through! He survived Buchenwald, Dora, Peenemuende and Bergen-Belson, the conveyors of death created by the Nazis. And he was killed by a Russian shell that hit an ordinary Kharkiv high-rise. With every day of this war, it becomes more and more obvious what they (Russians) mean by ‘de-Nazification.’”

 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Germany honors survivor of Nazi camps, 96, killed in Ukraine, AP News, March 22, 2022

“Congress created [caregiver support programs] to assist caregivers like me whose spouses need substantial care. It should have been a blessing. However, the program[s] [have] become unpredictable, stressful and, frankly, dehumanizing.”

Caira Benson, a full-time caregiver to her veteran husband, Eric, VA caregiver program needs total overhaul as problems mount, advocates say, Military Times, March 23, 2022

“I am already feeling the emotional burnout of caring for patients who, despite some being the sickest they’ve ever been, are unable to have their loved ones by them. What do you say to someone who is facing death and can’t have their loved ones with them?”

Michael Odell, an intensive care nurse who committed suicide, ‘I fear the long-term effects’: Before his death, a nurse warned of the pandemic’s toll on health care workers, STAT, March 23, 2022

“People with disabilities deserve to have an equal opportunity to access the services, goods and programs provided by government and businesses, including when offered or communicated through websites.”

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, US Department of Justice Issues Web Accessibility Guidance Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, U. S. Department of Justice

“To see their faces light up when they held the kittens was really heartwarming. There was one resident in particular who was suffering from PTSD and depression, but when she picked up a kitten, she instantly changed. She was smiling and calm for the first time in a long time.”

Lori Irby, Meridian at Anaheim Hills business manager, She brought tiny foster cats into her office at a retirement home. Residents found out — and kitten therapy began, Washington Post (free access), November 9, 2021

“We must ensure those at greatest risk of serious illness from Covid are protected, and spring boosters will top up people’s immunity.”

Maggie Throup, Great Britain’s vaccine minister, England’s health service starts offering a second booster to vulnerable adults, *New York Times, March 22, 2022

“It’s about equity, and as our veterans age, it becomes harder and harder for them to travel and keeping these services in their community gives them that access to care.”

Cape Ann Director of Veterans Services Adam Curcuru, Consolidate local clinics into new Salem VA site, Salem News / Gloucester Times, March 22, 2022

“My goal is to make sure the voices of our veterans are heard in this process. They have earned the care they receive from the VA and the VA must understand how these veterans will be affected by the proposed changes.”

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Salem, Consolidate local clinics into new Salem VA site, Salem News / Gloucester Times, March 22, 2022

“Veterans deserve quality health care at VA facilities in their communities, and I’m deeply concerned that the VA has not been thoroughly engaging and communicating with veterans in Massachusetts about decisions impacting their health and their families.”

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Consolidate local clinics into new Salem VA site, Salem News / Gloucester Times, March 22, 2022

Public-health decisions need to be informed by the best available data. Cutting the ability to track and respond to the virus while most of the world remains unvaccinated makes these decisions less reliable. It will also reduce people’s ability make decisions about their own safety.

This is no time to stop tracking COVID-19, Nature, March 23, 2022

This demographic risk [i.e., too few working-age adults to support a growing population of aging baby boomers] “is just deadly. We’re not building enough housing to keep our own kids.”

Professor Dowell Myers, a demography and urban planning expert at the University of Southern California, Cities Lost Population in 2021, Leading to the Slowest Year of Growth in U.S. History, *New York Times, March 24, 2022

Week of March 18, 2022

“The public was misled by those at the highest level of state government through distortion and suppression of the facts when New Yorkers deserved the truth.”

New York state comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, An audit finds that the Cuomo administration ‘misled the public’ on nursing home deaths in New York, *New York Times, March 15, 2022

“When Penny was born, I confronted the reality that I had ignored, denied, or not even known about the exclusion of people with disabilities. It was a painful process to admit my own bias and to come face-to-face with the way my daughter might be treated.

Doing that work also opened me to receive the gift that God gave me in the person of our daughter. It opened me to see the gifts of other vulnerable people and to admit my needs. It exposed the harm of privilege and invited me to explore a new landscape of love.”

Amy Julia Becker, author of books including “White Picket Fences: Turning Toward Love in a World Divided by Privilege,” World Down Syndrome Day: How disability helped me understand privilege, Washington Post (free access), March 21, 2019

“People with disabilities have too often been unlawfully segregated in institutions like nursing facilities. The Civil Rights Division [of the U.S. Department of Justice] will vigorously enforce the rights of people with physical disabilities, including older adults, to access the community-based services they need to age in place and thrive at home.”

Assistant U. S. Attorney General Kristen Clarke, Colorado violates Americans with Disabilities Act, U.S. Justice Department finds, Colorado Sun, March 4, 2022

“People with disabilities have too often been unlawfully segregated in institutions like nursing facilities. The Civil Rights Division [of the U.S. Department of Justice] will vigorously enforce the rights of people with physical disabilities, including older adults, to access the community-based services they need to age in place and thrive at home.”

Assistant U. S. Attorney General Kristen Clarke, Colorado violates Americanswith Disabilities Act, U.S. Justice Department finds, Colorado Sun, March 4, 2022

The bill [which allows nursing homes to lower the amount of direct nursing care requirements from 2.5 hours a day to 2 hours a day] was passed after the nursing home trade associations reached an agreement with the Florida Justice Association, which represents that state’s trial lawyers.

Gov. DeSantis: ‘A lot of nursing homes will be very, very happy’ after 2022 Session, Florida Politics, March 17, 2022

“The only thing that I see is that folks with disabilities are cared for last and are dying first.”

Matthew Dietz, a founding member and the current litigation director of the Disability Independence Group in Florida, Pandemic Medical Innovations Leave Behind People With Disabilities, Kaiser Health News, March 11, 2022

“There’s no ADA police. All the burden is on the consumer.”

Lise Hamlin, Director of Public Policy, Hearing Loss Association of America’s, Pandemic Medical Innovations Leave Behind People with Disabilities, Kaiser Health News, March 11, 2022

“Instead of growing in independence, it just feels like I’ve gone backwards.”

Divya Goel, a 35-year-old deaf-blind Floridian, Pandemic Medical Innovations Leave Behind People with Disabilities, Kaiser Health News, March 11, 2022

“These were people whose country had been invaded and who wanted freedom and were so grateful to the Allied troops they tried to help. The people of the Comet Line — like ‘Monique’ — were just as heroic as the troops they saved.”

Anita Roark, niece of WWII American soldier, H.C. Johnson, who was rescued by Monique Hanotte, member of the Comet line, a Belgian resistance operation, Monique Hanotte, Belgian resistance member who rescued 135 downed Allied airmen in World War II, dies at 101, Washington Post, February 24, 2022

“When you’re in a pandemic, and people are under a lot of pressure, and we’re all worried about our health, our families, we’re all very vulnerable. That’s when the bad people come out.”

William Tong, (D) Connecticut’s Attorney General, commenting on the reason to initiate a ingle hotline for reporting all kinds of elder abuse, ‘Elder Justice Hotline’ helps combat senior abuse, financial fraud, News 8 WTNH, March 10, 2022

“FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program has helped provide over 300,000 people with critical financial relief during a time of such unexpected, unimaginable, and widespread loss.
Our new outreach campaign is designed to reach families, especially across underserved communities, where the cost of a funeral can be a financial burden to a loved one.”

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, US funeral assistance for COVID tops $2B, more eligible, Associated Press, March 15, 2022

“New York faces the worst home care shortage in America — and this crisis has left tens of thousands of aging adults and disabled people without care and forced them into dangerous nursing homes.”

New York Caring Majority co-director Ilana Berger, NY lawmakers want to boost funding for housing, home care, AP News, March 15, 2022

“Seven instances of Immediate Jeopardy are unprecedented in Connecticut and absolutely unacceptable.”

Dr. Manisha Juthani, Commissioner, CT Department of Public Health, Nursing home residents to be moved due to violations, AP News, March 15, 2022

“We’ve just got to believe we can do what we need to do — and if we believe it enough, we probably can.”

Sam Brown, who in 1969 helped organize the Vietnam Moratorium Day, Call It ‘Codger Power.’ We’re Older and Fighting for a Better America, *New York Times, February 7, 2022

There may not be any decisive battles, just a long series of skirmishes that must be engaged by the young but also by the old. We may be nearer the exit than the entrance, but we’re in this fight for the long haul.

Bill McKibben, founder of Third Act, Call It ‘Codger Power.’ We’re Older and Fighting for a Better America, *New York Times, February 7, 2022

“The protection that you are getting from the third [vaccination shot], it is good enough, actually quite good for hospitalizations and deaths. It’s not that good against infections.”

Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chief executive, Pfizer asks the F.D.A. to authorize a second booster shot for older Americans, *New York Times, March 15, 2022

“For those who are immune-compromised, those who are older adults, over the age of 50 or at least 65, we want to strongly recommend and encourage [a fourth shot].”

Dr. Stephen Hoge, president of Moderna, Pfizer asks the F.D.A. to authorize a second booster shot for older Americans, *New York Times, March 15, 2022

“I don’t think I’ve found anybody in Massachusetts who thinks we have enough people playing in the behavioral health space to take care of the people who are trying to access services. [We] had issues with respect to access to those services before the pandemic.”

Gov. Charlie Baker, Gov. Baker: Bill would expand mental health care services, AP News, March 15, 2022

“There’s got to be a better way. You can get things overnight from Amazon, but you have to wait months for a simple part for a wheelchair.”

Ellen Leigh, wheelchair user from Arlington, Wheelchairs repairs can take a month, or longer, leaving people stranded, WBUR, March 9, 2022

“The numbers [regarding wheelchair breakdowns and needing repairs] are shocking. I think that the scarier part is they’re not new numbers. It’s been this way for a while. If 50% of people had their car break down in a six-month period, they’d probably be pretty upset.”

Wheelchair researcher Lynn Worobey, a University of Pittsburgh assistant professor and a physical therapist, Wheelchairs repairs can take a month, or longer, leaving people stranded, WBUR, March 9, 2022

“… there’s no AAA for wheelchairs, so any repairs are like getting stranded.”

Aurorah Arndt, Wellesley College student and wheelchair user, Facing breakdowns and slow repairs, Mass. wheelchair users call for stronger state law, WBUR, March 10, 2022

“So many people living with disabilities are not working right now because their wheelchairs are unreliable.”

Murshid Buwembo, a polio survivor and wheelchair user for 25 years, Facing breakdowns and slow repairs, Mass. wheelchair users call for stronger state law, WBUR, March 10, 2022

“We need to rein in rising prescription drug prices so that individuals and families can afford their treatments and are not forced to choose between putting food on the table or paying for their medications.”

Amy Rosenthal, executive director, Health Care for All, Gov. Baker: Bill would expand mental health care services, AP News, March 15, 2022

As currently designed, U.S. addiction treatment systems are costing lives every day. Structured to simultaneously provide care for people with substance use disorders while surveilling, criminalizing, and stigmatizing these disorders and the people who have them, they are cumbersome, inflexible, and unprepared for the next emergency. People who use substances and those with addiction, whether or not they are in treatment, deserve our time, resources, and direct partnership to ensure they are protected, whatever lies ahead.

Emma Biegacki, program manager, Yale Program in Addiction Medicine, Emergency response systems must not overlook people with substance use disorders, STAT News, March 16, 2022

“For a lot of patients who have non-English language preference, what actually happens is either the clinical team doesn’t talk to them, or they use sign language, or they try to mime.”

Elaine Khoong, an internist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, Doctors often turn to Google Translate to talk to patients. They want a better option, STAT News, March 16, 2022

“[The new Covid variant is] picking up steam. It’s across at least 12 countries … from Finland to Greece. There’s no question there’s a significant wave there.”

Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, San Diego, A covid surge in Western Europe has U.S. bracing for another wave, *Washington Post, March 16, 2022

“Any place you have relatively lower vaccination rates, especially among the elderly, is where you’re going to see a bump in hospitalizations and deaths from [the new Covid variant].”

Dr. Céline Gounder, infectious-diseases physician and editor at large for public health at Kaiser Health News, A covid surge in Western Europe has U.S. bracing for another wave, *Washington Post, March 16, 2022

“We hope this story can be the beginning of hope and not the end. We also hope that what was learned from his surgery will benefit future patients and hopefully one day, end the organ shortage that costs so many lives each year.”

David Bennett Jr., son of man who received a pig’s transplanted heart, Patient in Groundbreaking Heart Transplant Dies, *New York Times, March 9, 2022

“Whatever happened to respect for the dead? Who cares where someone is from? There is no system to help these people [who die alone and unknown], and that allows everyone to find a reason to back away.”

Peter Stefan, a Massachusetts funeral director, The Forgotten Dead: Her body washed ashore in Connecticut. The search for her family began, Washington Post (free access), March 12, 2022

“The unclaimed, they never end. No one wanted to take care of this poor woman. Nobody wanted to step up. That’s where the system fails the most.”

Holly Olko, an investigator in the Connecticut medical examiner’s office, The Forgotten Dead: Her body washed ashore in Connecticut. The search for her family began, Washington Post (free access), March 12, 2022

“Police call me from Boston, Framingham, Hudson, from all over. They say, ‘I’ve been sitting with this body for eight or nine hours, and no one will pick up it up.’ They beg me to help. If I didn’t go, no one would. Any dummy knows that there is a problem when the state hasn’t raised the fee they give for these cases in 39 years. The system is broken. No one is looking at it. Maybe it would be different if the dead could vote.”

Stefan, 84 years old, a funeral director in Worcester, MA known for burying those others would not, The Forgotten Dead: Her body washed ashore in Connecticut. The search for her family began, Washington Post (free access), March 12, 2022

Despite a decision by a State Survey Agency to restrict their compliance reviews, Accrediting Organizations with deeming authority are required to continue surveying for compliance with all Medicare and Medicaid regulations.
Medicare and Medicaid certified providers and suppliers within every State continue to be responsible for compliance with the federal requirements for all Conditions of Participation, Conditions for Coverage, and Requirements for Participation. Individuals with a quality-of-care complaint related to a Medicare or Medicaid health and safety regulation that the state is not surveying for may contact the CMS location, directly via

Memorandum to States: State Obligations to Survey to the Entirety of Medicare and Medicaid Health and Safety Requirements under the 1864 Agreement, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, February 9, 2022

Week of March 11, 2022

The pandemic delivered a grim reminder of chronic, ongoing issues in nursing homes and other elder care facilities. Clear and transparent data on COVID-19 deaths and cases — both generally and in nursing homes and assisted living facilities — is critical for families deciding where to place loved ones and for hospital discharge planners making decisions on patient placements. Massachusetts seniors and their families deserve better.

Barbara Anthony, senior healthcare fellow, and Mary Z. Connaughton, director of government transparency, Pioneer Institute, a Boston-based think tank, COVID-19: How the Baker administration ill serves those in elder care, WGBH, February 11, 2022

“When that doctor is telling you, for your convenience, you can just draw your blood down the hall, you’re just thinking this is part of your in-network visit. You don’t realize you probably should be asking before you head down the hall.”

Patricia Kelmar, a health care director at consumer group U.S. PIRG, A glaring gap in Congress’ surprise billing law leaves patients on the hook for pricey, out-of-network lab tests, *STAT+, March 8, 2022

“I was fired because of a part of my identity. It’s a part of me that’s really important and valuable. It has made me a better person and a better professional and they are saying that part of me — that part of my identity — is worthless by firing me.”

Katherine Lockwood, a Bourne school counselor who is disabled and pregnant, A pregnant counselor with medical conditions asked to work remotely. Then the Bourne superintendent fired her, *Boston Globe, March 7, 2022 (updated)

“What difference does it make to me [to leave Odessa]? Although, I guess I would like to feel sunlight. I’m just waiting for my days to end.”

Anna Churilyana, blind 90-year-old resident of Odessa, Ukraine, To evacuate or not? In Odessa, some older residents cannot flee war. Washington Post, March 8, 2022

“We are seeing a mini epidemic of chronic fatigue syndrome.”

Benjamin Natelson, a neurologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York who specializes in such post-viral disorders, Covid long-haulers face grueling fights for disability benefits, *Washington Post, March 8, 2022

Better long Covid data could inform disability policy, public health guidance, medical research funding prioritization, and more.

Is ‘long Covid’ worsening the labor shortage?. Brookings, January 11, 2022

For some patients, recovery from acute SARS-CoV-2 infection may involve continuing, recurrent, or new symptoms and clinical findings that persist for weeks, months, or longer. . . Post-COVID conditions are associated with a spectrum of physical, social, and psychological consequences, as well as functional limitations that can present substantial challenges to patient wellness and quality of life.

Evaluating and Caring for Patients with Post-COVID Conditions: Interim Guidance, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 14, 2021

“There does come a point where significantly old buildings just reach the end of their life expectancy, and there’s a time to do something different, and it’s even more true in a health care building that was designed to do something other than what it’s currently doing.”

Ryan Lilly, director of the Bedford-based VA New England Healthcare System network, Veterans Affairs to recommend closing Northampton VA medical center after nationwide review of aging assets, *MassLive.com, March 10, 2022

“Veterans will always be at the center of what we do. The [Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR)] Commission is an opportunity to redesign VA health care to maximize access and outcomes for current and future generations of veterans.”

Sarah Robinson, a spokesperson for the VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System in Northampton, Veterans Affairs to recommend closing Northampton VA medical center after nationwide review of aging assets, *MassLive.com, March 10, 2022

“We’re hearing from staff over and over about the strain that staffing is placing on them personally and on residents. And we have got to address the quality of care for people who are enrolled in our programs. We want to work with industry, absolutely, to get there, but everything we hear is about what kind of strain the insufficient staffing is putting on residents and on the workers themselves.”

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Biden Pledges Better Nursing Home Care, but He Likely Won’t Fast-Track It, March 3, 2022

“Nursing homes getting literally three lines in the State of the Union is profound. Let us stop and realize that the White House has recognized improving quality in nursing homes as a priority.”

Dr. Michael Wasserman, a geriatrician in California, Biden Pledges Better Nursing Home Care, but He Likely Won’t Fast-Track It, March 3, 2022

“Needed care can’t wait.”

Connie Garner, national public policy adviser for Easterseals, Desperate for Cash: Programs for People With Disabilities Still Not Seeing Federal Funds Kaiser Health News, March 2, 2022,

“If we really want to transform how care is provided, we must — not should, could — have ongoing federal investments to support that change.”

Bonnie Silva, director for the Office of Community Living at the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing, Desperate for Cash: Programs for People with Disabilities Still Not Seeing Federal Funds Kaiser Health News, March 2, 2022

“We would not be surprised to see that number [of staffers] be higher in a new study because we know the care needs for residents and acuity levels have actually increased over the last 20 years.”

Lori Smetanka, executive director of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, Biden’s Promise of Better Nursing Home Care Will Require Many More Workers, Kaiser Health News, March 2, 2022

“When you’re blind, people protect you. I missed being reckless. I missed controlling my fate and what I get to do.”

Justin Bishop, skateboarder who is blind, A Blind Skateboarder’s Return to the Ramp, The New Yorker, January 19, 2022

“I know I don’t have that much longer. I accept that reality. But I’m just trying to preserve quality of life so that I can parent and that I can enjoy people as long as possible.”

Kate Hendricks Thomas, 38-year-old Marine veteran diagnosed with breast cancer, A bill to expand VA care for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits is moving slow, NPR, March 8, 2022

“Too often, nurses are stretched too thin, caring for too many patients with not enough support. We can prevent that by ensuring nurses are adequately staffed, and protecting their ability to go to hospital management, without fearing potential retaliation.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Nurses, more powerful and visible after Covid, capitalize on new clout in Washington, STAT News, March 9, 2022

Week of March 4, 2022

All people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and to have access to quality medical care. And in no case should a health care facility be causing a patient harm.

President Joe Biden, Protecting Seniors and People with Disabilities by Improving Safety and Quality of Care in the Nation’s Nursing Homes, The White House, February 28, 2022

“At some point, you know, the system is going to fracture because people need care and you can’t get by without someone there to provide basic daily needs.”

Tricia Neuman, senior vice president, Kaiser Family Foundation, The pandemic pummeled long-term care – it may not recover quickly, experts warn, NPR Shots, February 22, 2022

“As Wall Street firms take over more nursing homes, quality in those homes has gone down and costs have gone up. That ends on my watch.”

President Joe Biden, After Nursing Home Push, Home Health Reform Could Be Up Next, Home Health Care News, March 2, 2022

In disability culture, this is called “disability gain”: the surprising benefits that an impairment can reap. This isn’t about transcending one’s disability, or being a “supercrip.” Disability justice activists like Stacey Milbern, who died in 2020, yearn for “crip ancestries”: the stories and wisdom of disabled elders. If we share our disabled family stories, we might just find such ancestors right in our own families.

We Should Claim Our Disabled Ancestors with Pride, New York Times (free access), February 27, 2022

“The stress is unbearable. You’ve got to basically keep yourself safe, keep the residents safe, and then you’ve got to make sure that you do everything that you’re supposed to do.”

Patricia Johnson, a nurse aide at Ambassador Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Chicago and who has lost residents, colleagues and cousins to COVID-19, The pandemic pummeled long-term care – it may not recover quickly, experts warn, NPR Shots, February 22, 2022

“We know that even before the pandemic, two years ago, there were already staff shortages. It’s a perennial problem.”

Susan Reinhard, executive director, AARP’s Public Policy Institute, The pandemic pummeled long-term care – it may not recover quickly, experts warn, NPR Shots, February 22, 2022

The economic recovery is not complete in the healthcare industry (nor in the economy as a whole). While hospitals and physician offices have returned to nearly pre-pandemic employment levels, industries such as elder care and nursing care continue to see relatively high unemployment employment. Average wages for these positions have increased significantly since the beginning of the pandemic.

What impact has the coronavirus pandemic had on health employment?, Peterson Center on Healthcare – Kaiser Family Foundation, December 10

In the U.S., people other than non-Hispanic whites make up less than 10% of participants in clinical trials, the essential vehicles for evaluating promising diagnostic tools, drug treatments and medical devices. This lack of diversity has real world consequences.

Improving diversity in Alzheimer’s research can help update the ‘gold standard’ for all medical research, STAT News, February 25, 2022

“You can see why this [decision to limit coverage of Biogen’s drug Aduhelm] really causes concerns for CMS. We’re talking about literally millions of Medicare beneficiaries who’d be getting the treatment without clear evidence that it’s beneficial.”

Dr. Mark McClellan, former FDA commissioner and CMS administrator, Medicare Proposal on Alzheimer’s Drug Draws Criticism from Drugmakers, Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2022

It’s always worth taking a look at the finances of Medicare, given its contribution to the health and well-being of older Americans and its dependence on the payroll tax, the key source of revenue for Social Security. The topic is much more exciting — and frightening —  in the wake of Aduhelm, a drug developed by Biogen to treat early-stage Alzheimer’s disease with an original ask price of $56,000 per patient per year. 

Medicare’s finances and the saga of the Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, MarketWatch, February 24, 2022

“The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to promoting value-based care that improves the health care experience of people with Medicare, Medicaid and Marketplace coverage. The Innovation Center is making improvements to existing models and launching new models to increase participation in our portfolio, and CMS will be a strong collaborator to health care providers that participate in those models.”

CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a statement, CMS Announces Changes to Direct Contracting for 2023, Unveils the ‘ACO REACH’ Model, Home Health Care News, February 24, 2022

“We’re at a difficult passage here. Mixed in together are [Direct Contracting Entity] providers that you want to support and insurers that really, in my view, just add cost without adding value.”

Former CMS Administrator, Dr. Don Berwick, who supports altering the program, rather than eliminating it, Trump-era Medicare program under increased scrutiny, Politico, February 16, 2022

“It is completely baffling to me that the Biden administration wants to give the same bad actors in Medicare Advantage free rein in traditional Medicare. President Biden should not permit Medicare to be handed over to corporate profiteers. Doing so is going to increase costs and put more strain on the hospital insurance trust fund.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, CMS Announces Changes to Direct Contracting for 2023, Unveils the ‘ACO REACH’ Model, Home Health Care News, February 24, 2022

“The data was coming out on the PACE model, and how well it wraps around enrollees – with the home care model and the flexibility – compared to institutional providers. COVID really highlighted the success of PACE.”

Ja Policy Momentum, Private Equity Interest Could Spur Major Growth for PACE de Gong, founder and principal of consulting firm Jade Gong & Associates, *Home Health Care News, February 23, 2022

“I identified serious problems with the quality of care veterans were receiving and I brought these concerns to my supervisors. Instead of being recognized for my diligence, I was ignored and ultimately terminated.”

Beth Scheffler, acting chief nursing officer, Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, Top official at state soldiers’ homes was fired days after bringing safety concerns to state inspector general, *Boston Globe, March 2, 2022 (updated)

“Life in Russia for a disabled person is incredibly hard and most of the athletes are only funded on the medals that they win.”

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who won 11 Paralympic gold medals for Great Britain, Winter Paralympics 2022: Russia and Belarus athletes unable to compete at Games, BBC, March 3, 2022

“I ski with my ears.”

Millie Knight, world champion Paralympic skier, What It’s Like to Ski Nearly Blind, *New York Times, March 1, 2022

“The information we have now about the impact of COVID-19 on the world’s mental health is just the tip of the iceberg. This is a wake-up call to all countries to pay more attention to mental health and do a better job of supporting their populations’ mental health.”

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, COVID-19 pandemic triggers 25% increase in prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide, World Health Organization, March 2, 2022

“The world is with us. The truth is on our side. Victory will be ours!”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, The U.N. approves a resolution demanding that Russia end the invasion of Ukraine, NPR, March 2, 2022,  (updated)

“Some [Ukrainians] with disabilities are in critical situations living in basements or perhaps living on sixth seventh or eighth floor of apartment building. They’re paralyzed. They can’t escape. They can’t rush to the border. If [the Russian army] come[s] here we don’t want them to manipulate people with disabilities or to put them as the shield.”

Joni Eareckson Tada, the Joni and Friends International Disability Center in California, Southern California Organization Helping Disabled Evacuate War-Torn Ukraine, NBC Los Angeles, March 1, 2022 (updated)

“My mother is 82 years old. She cannot walk on her own and there is no way to get her down, because we’re on the seventh floor. She couldn’t go down the stairs. She wouldn’t be able to stay in the shelter. Yesterday, there were evacuations, so there was a chance to get away. There were trains, the local transport was running free of charge, the trains were free, but you had to come to the railway station on your own and I cannot leave my mother.”

Kyiv resident Yulia Klepets, who also has a 25-year-old daughter with autism, People with disabilities and mobility issues find themselves trapped in Kyiv, CNN World News, February 26, 2022

“The transmission dynamics of this virus are not completely worked out. … There is variability in the virus and variability in the population.” As to what will happen next, scientists have to acknowledge “the necessary humility. I just think we don’t know.”

William Powderly, head of the Institute for Public Health at Washington University of St. Louis, 140 million Americans have had coronavirus, according to blood tests analyzed by CDC, Washington Post, February 28, 2022

We exceeded our hopes. When people along the route asked “why?” we responded, “why not?” An old cycling saw has it: “Wherever your relationship is going, a tandem [bicycle] will take it there faster.”

Stephen Kreider Yoder, a Wall Street Journal editor, and Karen Kreider Yoder, a retired professor and K-5 teacher, commenting on their cross-country tandem bicycle journey, We Rode 3,800 Miles Across America on a Tandem Bike in Our 60s. Here’s What We Learned., Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2022

“Many senior communities have on-site computer classes. The tech concierge is new. I think it is a great idea.”

Tom Kamber, executive director of the nonprofit Older Adults Technology Services and Senior Planet from AARP, Senior Communities Add Tech Assistance as One of Their Perks, Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2022

Call it a pause. Call it a timeout. Call it anything but retirement.

Millions of baby boomers have left the workplace since 2020. Are they coming back?, *Washington Post, February 25, 2022

“We don’t know for sure if a burn pit was the cause of his brain cancer, or the diseases of so many of our troops, but I’m committed to finding out everything we can.”

President Joe Biden, Biden includes veterans as one of four policymaking areas in new ‘unity agenda’, Stars and Stripes, March 2, 2022

Week of February 25, 2022

Since 1988, The World Health Organization has had a goal to eradicate polio and that goal continues today, with efforts to reach the most remote areas. The eradication of COVID-19 should be a goal for all of us. We have the means to do it. How fortunate we are. The ongoing history of the near eradication of polio is inspiring. When history is written about our time, what will it say about us?

Valerie Splaine, polio survivor, Lessons from Dr. Salk, Salem News, February 18, 2022

In the Boston metro area, for example, we saw neighborhood affordability disappearing between 2000 and 2019 in nearly all tracts within neighborhoods of Boston like South Boston, as well as in neighboring cities and towns such as Cambridge, Somerville, Newton, Watertown, and Brookline (Figure 3). We see how the neighborhoods with affordable rents become fewer and more isolated across the area.

As Low-Cost Units Become Increasingly Scarce, Low- and Moderate-Income Renters Are Losing Access to Many Neighborhoods, Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, February 22, 2022

The need for a permanent, fully funded housing safety net is more urgent than ever.

America’s Rental Housing 2022, Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

An underrecognized medium for improving the quality of care for patients with disabilities is the electronic health record (EHR). . . EHRs should be required to contain structure to document a patient’s type of disability, history of disability, accommodations required in the health care setting, autonomy in activities of daily living (ADLs), and preferred language surrounding disability. All disability information that is documented should come from patients themselves. . . Ableism and the explicit prioritization of certain types of bodies and minds over others are roadblocks to progress.

The Need for Disability Documentation in The Electronic Health Record, Health Affairs Forefront, February 14, 2022

There are always surprising and interesting data points that emerge as we work on our reports, but America’s Rental Housing 2022 was stunning in the sheer number of record-breaking conditions in the rental market.

The Record-Breaking Rental Market, Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, February 1, 2022

If we “move health care home,” without appropriate solutions (human and digital) for service coordination, we’re going to turn family caregivers and patients into switchboard operators. . . We are happy to perform medical tasks if it means avoiding a hospital admission. But what seems easy to clinicians is not easy to the many caregivers who are older adults themselves. . . Without the appropriate assistance, training, and oversight, [my mother would] have been completely overwhelmed.  . . Policy makers have been so confused about the purpose of the home health benefit and so consumed with concerns about fraud and abuse to the point that it’s not much help. . . Much of my dad’s health care occurs in medical offices. It would be great if more of it came to him, but not if, because of problematic payment incentives, it means sacrificing access to benefits to which he is entitled. I worry that policy makers lack the payment reform and quality improvement tools necessary to ensure access and meet individual patient medical needs at home. . .   Based on my personal and professional experiences, I do not think an “episode of care” should serve as the basis of payment for health care at home, as it does today for home health. . . Good people will figure out a way, but we need to help them by designing benefits and payment systems to better support well-coordinated care for vulnerable individuals.

What I Learned from My Family’s Home Health Experience, Health Affairs Forefront, February 16, 2022

“I am a caregiving expert. How did I end up in bankruptcy?. . . I made my choices and did my best for my parents. If it can happen to me, it could happen to anyone.”

Amy Goyer, AARP’s family and caregiving expert, Caring for Older Relatives Is So Expensive That Even AARP’s Expert Filed for Bankruptcy, Wall Street Journal, February 20, 2022

“I don’t think people understand how expensive caregiving is.”

Jean Chatzky, founder of HerMoney.com, Caring for Older Relatives Is So Expensive That Even AARP’s Expert Filed for Bankruptcy, Wall Street Journal, February 20, 2022

One widely cited proposal for increasing hospital capacity calls for the creation of a standing government corps of public health personnel to manage surge capacity while simultaneously responding to emergencies. We admire this idea, but with the pressing shortage of medical personnel, who would staff this corps?

Health Affairs Forefront, Transparency as A Solution For COVID-19-Related Hospital Capacity Issues, February 18, 2022

“These filings reveal that top IBM executives were explicitly plotting with one another to oust older workers from IBM’s work force in order to make room for millennial employees.”

Shannon Liss-Riordan, plaintiff’s lawyer representing fired IBM workers, Making ‘Dinobabies’ Extinct: IBM’s Push for a Younger Work Force, New York Times (free access), February 12, 2022

“[New York] state has recently heard from numerous stakeholders about how enforcement of the booster mandate could exacerbate New York’s health care staffing shortage, which is the subject of a declared emergency.”

Kenneth Raske, Greater New York Hospital Association President, NY won’t enforce booster mandate for health care workers, Associated Press, February 18, 2022

One of the most striking things about being in community with caregivers all over the country is just how similar the emotional and tactical experiences are.

Daughterhood in a Time of COVID: Our History and Our Future, Daughterhood.org, January 20, 2021

Values around men and caregiving are evolving, and more change may be on the horizon. Key policy and workplace changes—including a significant investment in the care economy—can help break generational barriers, advance gender equality, and better support men who care for their children and relatives with disabilities, as well as for others in their jobs. . . Now more than ever, the need for more egalitarianism in care work is imperative. Men’s attitudes and experiences toward caregiving outweigh the traditional gendered beliefs that America has set. Despite the structural barriers they face, men have proven themselves as active contributors to the care economy, which has equally benefitted families and communities.

Normalizing Men as Caregivers Helps Families and Society, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, April 8, 2021

“My adventurous spirit never died because my disability increased. I still want to go out and challenge myself as much as possible.”

Georgena Moran, 64-year-old former canoe racer and scuba diver who now has with multiple sclerosis, ‘I Wanted That Self-Reliance Back’: Disabled Hikers Forge a New Path, New York Times (free access), February 20, 2022 (updated)

“I wouldn’t want a bunch of able-bodied folks to carry me up to the top of a mountain. I don’t see a whole lot of freedom in that.”

Dustin Berg, the founder and executive director of Global Opportunities Unlimited who is a 37 year-old paraplegic, ‘I Wanted That Self-Reliance Back’: Disabled Hikers Forge a New Path, New York Times (free access), February 20, 2022 (updated)

“It’s definitely time for people to spring back to action.”

Bill McKibben, 61-year-old author and environmentalist, Facing climate and social justice crises, older people are getting back into the protest battle, *Boston Globe, February 23, 2022 (updated)

“Your immune system is probably doing a reasonable job of keeping EBV [reactivated Epstein-Barr virus] in check and with a SARS-CoV-2 infection you lose that break. It seems to happen very early in an infection.”

Jim Heath, president and professor of the Institute for Systems Biology, The New Clues About Who Will Develop Long Covid, Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2021

“COVID-19 is associated with increased risk of acute ischemic stroke in the first 3 days after diagnosis among Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries at least 65 years of age.”

Quanhe Yang, PhD, senior scientist, CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, In older adults with COVID-19, stroke risk highest in first 3 days after diagnosis, Helios, February 13, 2022

“Everybody’s head turned when [the food service robots] first came out. It was like [the residents] saw a ghost. They [had] never seen something like it before, and then the smiles started happening and they began clapping and it was pretty funny. They accepted it really quick.”

Dining General Manager Shawn Fontaine, Wesley Enhanced Living Main Line, Media, PA, Struggling to hire, this senior-living dining room turned to robots, Restaurant Business, February 11, 2022

This particular dust-up won’t be a decisive battle in the struggle for a better America and a better planet; in fact, there may not be any decisive battles, just a long series of skirmishes that must be engaged by the young but also by the old. We may be nearer the exit than the entrance, but we’re in this fight for the long haul.

Bill McKibben, founder of the new progressive group Third Act, Call It ‘Codger Power.’ We’re Older and Fighting for a Better America, *New York Times, February 7, 2022

“The way we’ve set up employment is on Friday you’re at 100% and on Monday, after you retire, you’re at 0%. That’s not good for the person, and it’s not good for the company. Why not create a staircase that allows people to ramp down over time?”

Chip Conley, founder and CEO, Modern Elder Academy, Baja California Sur, Mexico, The New Post-60 Career Paths, Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2022

“Purpose is crucial for older workers. Younger workers will learn something new because they are told to, but older workers need to know, ‘Why should I take the time to do this?’ ”

Alice Milivinti, demographer, The New Post-60 Career Paths, Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2022

“I don’t know how much longer I can do this. There’s a terrible fear that I’ll never get back my normal life. And there’s an awful sense of purposelessness.”

Jonathan Coffino, 78-year-old married man, As Covid Slogs On, Seniors Find Fortitude Waning and Malaise Growing, Kaiser Health News, February 18, 2022

Our findings indicate that the financial impacts of the pandemic are likely deeper than the estimates of rent arrears alone might suggest. The impacts extend beyond households who lost income and into the communities of those immediately impacted. As a result, broad-based cash-assistance programs like expanded unemployment insurance and SNAP benefits not only provide critical support for impacted renters but mitigate some of the broader financial harms.

What Financial Resources Have Renters Tapped During the Pandemic?, Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, January 27, 2022

“It’s almost too much effort to reach out to people and try to pull myself out of that place,” admitting she’s watching too much TV and drinking too much alcohol. “It’s just like I want to mellow out and go numb, instead of bucking up and trying to pull myself together.”

Kathleen Tate, 74-year-old retired nurse who has late-onset post-polio syndrome and severe osteoarthritis, As Covid Slogs On, Seniors Find Fortitude Waning and Malaise Growing, Kaiser Health News, February 18, 2022

Week of February 18, 2022

“Social Security goes up a couple of dollars, but the rent goes up, too. And the blade steak is $10 for three little pieces. It used to be $4.”

Beatriz Negron, 74-year-old Boston resident, ‘Everything’s going up’: Seniors struggle with the prices of food, fuel, and medicine, *Boston Globe, February 14, 2022 (updated)

“Everyone who dies, dies of cardiopulmonary arrest. The critical question is: Why did this happen? Let’s say someone dies of a stomach hemorrhage. What caused it? Stomach cancer, an ulcer or what?”

Dr. James Gill, chief medical examiner for the state of Connecticut, When the Death Certificate Omits the True Cause of Death, *New York Times, February 16, 2022 (updated)

“The implicit and explicit biases of society, including around age, are often replicated in AI technologies. To ensure that AI technologies play a beneficial role, ageism must be identified and eliminated from their design, development, use and evaluation. This new policy brief shows how.”

Alana Officer, Unit Head, Demographic Change and Healthy Ageing, WHO, Ensuring artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for health benefit older people, World Health Organization, February 9, 2022

“We would have been broken [without a Covid-19 vaccine]. Right now, we have a death toll of around 2,500 people a day. … Imagine what we would have with no vaccination.”

Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, Why Covid-19 vaccines are a freaking miracle, STAT News, February 14, 2022

“We’ve demonstrated that, given the resources, you can develop, evaluate, produce, and distribute a totally novel vaccine to hundreds of millions, if not billions of people, given a huge effort and extensive financial resources.”

Anna Durbin, director of the Center for Immunization Research at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Why Covid-19 vaccines are a freaking miracle, STAT News, February 14, 2022

“The truth is that we all have more pain than the world typically knows.”

Betsey Stevenson, Council of Economic Advisers, commenting on the suicide of economist Alan Krueger, One Day, I Couldn’t See Right. My Life Hasn’t Been the Same Since, *New York Times, February 15, 2022

“To feel sorry for yourself is to ignore that everyone is vulnerable to intense pain and that almost everyone has worked or is working through some version of it.”

Frank Bruni, New York Times opinion writer, One Day, I Couldn’t See Right. My Life Hasn’t Been the Same Since, *New York Times, February 15, 2022

“High and rising costs of prescription drugs impede the ability of physicians to provide the best quality of medical care possible to patients. The COVID-19 pandemic has made clearer the importance of access to affordable medications — from inhalers to insulin — to protect those with chronic conditions at highest risk for complications from the virus.”

Massachusetts Medical Society  policy statement, Capping insulin co-pays at $25, and other overdue measures in Mass.,*Boston Globe, February 12, 2022

“We did not handle it well. That’s glaringly obvious. The other countries got hit by the same virus, but no country has experienced the number of deaths we have, and even if you adjust for population, we are among the highest in the world.”

Steven H. Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, U.S. ‘excess deaths’ during pandemic surpassed 1 million, with covid killing most but other diseases adding to the toll, CDC says,*Washington Post, February 15, 2022

“The bulk of the excess deaths were a direct result of covid-19 infections, but pandemics have major cascading impacts on all aspects of society.”

Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, U.S. ‘excess deaths’ during pandemic surpassed 1 million, with covid killing most but other diseases adding to the toll, CDC says,*Washington Post, February 15, 2022

“I am optimistic even if we have a surge in summer, cases will go up, but hospitalizations and deaths will not.”

Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Estimated 73% of US now immune to omicron: Is that enough?, Associated Press, February 17, 2022

“The diseases that we’re talking about as a result of Covid-19 in the long term are chronic diseases that really will scar people for a lifetime. Anxiety is not something that just goes away all of a sudden; it requires care and attention. Public health authorities, governments and health systems around the world should really start paying attention, before it’s too late, to the aftermath of the pandemic.”

Ziyad Al-Aly, chief of research and development at the VA St. Louis Health Care System and clinical epidemiologist at Washington University in Missouri, Mental-Health Scars Stay With Survivors Long After Covid Battle, Bloomberg, February 16, 2022

Week of February 11, 2022

Long-Term Care Facility Residents and Staff Account for More Than 201,000 COVID-19 Deaths, and At Least 23% of All COVID-19 Deaths in the U.S. as of 1/30/2022

Over 200,000 Residents and Staff in Long-Term Care Facilities Have Died From COVID-19, Kaiser Family Foundation, February 3, 2022

Though crisis standards of care are meant to provide an ethics-based approach to the complex process of allocating scarce health care resources, in reality, they fall short. . .

This pandemic can serve as an opportunity to re-evaluate our health care delivery system as it pertains to valuable and limited resources.

A Novel Approach to Crisis Standards of Care, Petrie-Flom Center (Harvard Law School) Blog, February 9, 2022

Nasal vaccines are “the only way to really circumvent person-to-person transmission. We can’t live forever sheltering vulnerable people and boosting them so that their antibody levels stay artificially high.”

Jennifer Gommerman, an immunologist at the University of Toronto, The Covid Vaccine We Need Now May Not Be a Shot, *New York Times, February 2, 2022

“Our approach is to not use a nasal vaccine as a primary vaccination, but to boost with nasal vaccine, because then you can leverage the existing immunity that’s already created.”

Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University, The Covid Vaccine We Need Now May Not Be a Shot, *New York Times, February 2, 2022

“There were so many different things that might seem subtle, but they were a really big deal relative to her life. Her quality of life, and our life as a family, was so much better. I’m usually good at finding words, and it’s very hard to find words to describe how much pain there is around losing a child and watching them degenerate.”

Julia Vitarello, whose 10 year old daughter, Mila, died of Batten disease, an extremely rare genetic condition, A mother, shaped by tragedy, embarks on a mission to advance custom medicines, STAT News, February 9, 2022

A surge in deaths among people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia underscored a more direct impact: major disruptions in care, including as Covid-19 barreled through nursing homes and isolated seniors with significant care needs from their families. There is also evidence of rising deaths from other issues, including heart attacks, which could be linked to patients avoiding hospitals grappling with Covid-19 cases, physicians have said. Some of these surging health problems appeared most concentrated in the pandemic’s early days.

One Million Deaths: The Hole the Pandemic Made in U.S. Society, Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2022

Meantime, U.S. drug overdose deaths, already at record highs, soared about 30% in 2020, and early data show the toll may have worsened last year. The pandemic was destabilizing for people already struggling with addiction, or trying to seek sobriety.

One Million Deaths: The Hole the Pandemic Made in U.S. Society, Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2022

“This is a lot more than a ripple. It is a tidal wave.”

Dr. Susan Hillis, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, observing that 192,500 children have lost a parent or primary caregiver, One Million Deaths: The Hole the Pandemic Made in U.S. Society, Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2022

Unlike the 1918 flu pandemic or major wars, which hit younger people, Covid-19 has been particularly hard on vulnerable seniors. It has also killed thousands of front-line workers and disproportionately affected minority populations.

One Million Deaths: The Hole the Pandemic Made in U.S. Society, Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2022

Denying care to the unvaccinated also violates the ethical principle of treating all patients justly, regardless of their complicity in becoming sick. Almost no one exercises enough, eats perfectly, or takes medications exactly as prescribed. We doctors don’t dismiss patients for smoking or drinking too much. Why punish them for refusing the Covid shot?

Dr. L. S. Dugdale, director of the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at Columbia University, The Doctor Will See You Now—Wait, Not You, Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2022

As Covid-19 continues to reverberate throughout the United States, millions of Americans remain catastrophically delinquent on rent.

The Rent Crisis Summed Up in One Chart, *New York Times, February 10, 2022

Week of February 4, 2022

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

Former Congresswoman Shirley Chisolm, https://tinyurl.com/ChisolmFoldingChair

There are innumerable ways to make sense of addiction and many paths to recovery. But the view of addiction as disease fails to capture much of the experience of addiction, and disease language is not necessary to make the point for humane treatment. Today, I am grateful to be in recovery from addiction. I have made peace with the idea that I am the kind of person who should not drink, at least for today. But I do not need to consider it a disease to do this. I believe that waking up to addiction is a tremendous gift, because it points us toward universal human struggles with self-control and working with our pain

Carl Erik Fisher, addiction physician and bioethicist and the author of “The Urge: Our History of Addiction.”, It’s Misleading to Call Addiction a Disease, New York Times (free access), January 15, 2022

“The fact is, for too many Americans, housing is unaffordable. We have an inadequate supply of homes — for both rent and for sale — and of course the lowest income families are being hit hardest.”

Dennis Shea, executive director of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Center for Housing Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, Rents are up 40 percent in some cities, forcing millions to find another place to live, *Washington Post, January 30, 2022

“Rents really shot up in the second half of 2021. The pandemic was kind of a pause on the economy and now that things are reopening, inflation is picking up, rents are going up and people are realizing they don’t have as much disposable income as they might have thought they had.”

Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin, Rents are up 40 percent in some cities, forcing millions to find another place to live, *Washington Post, January 30, 2022

“A lot of the struggles people are having were laid bare by the pandemic. Many people don’t want to leave their homes because they’re worried about COVID. … We are definitely looking at services, around mental health and substance abuse, that people can get to online.”

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, Still cautious, many older residents trim back their lifestyles in the time of COVID, *Boston Globe, January 28, 2021

Too often, advance directives are construed as immutable guides to how one dies. We have found advance directives to be more helpful if we focus on how one wants to live.

Dr. Ann Berger, chief of the Pain and Palliative Care team, and Margaret Mahon, nurse practitioner, at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, Tough Decisions About End-of-Life Care, *New York Times, January 22, 2022

“We know exercise is good for us. This study provides additional evidence of the benefits at the population level: if all adults in the United States (over age 40) were to exercise just a bit more each day, a large number of deaths could be prevented each year.”

 Epidemiologist Pedro Saint-Maurice, New research suggests just 10 minutes of daily exercise could extend life, The Hill, January 26, 2002

These findings support implementing evidence-based strategies to improve physical activity for adults and potentially reduce deaths in the US.

Estimated Number of Deaths Prevented Through Increased Physical Activity Among US Adults, JAMA Network, January 24, 2022

During July–December 2020, 10.0% of adults aged ≥18 years received care at home from a friend or family member in the past 12 months.

Percentage of Adults Aged ≥18 Years Who Received Care at Home From a Friend or Family Member in the Past 12 Months, by Sex and Age Group — National Health Interview Survey, United States, July–December 2020, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, January 14, 2022

Online interventions such as telehealth, online exercises, and virtual social support, which could be a new normal in the COVID era, were beneficial in combating social isolation. Nurses in the community and long-term care facilities could adopt strategies and online intervention to better support the older adults, contribute to a stronger COVID-19 response and support system, and an overall better road to recovery from this crisis.

Psychological impacts and online interventions of social isolation amongst older adults during COVID-19 pandemic: A scoping review, Journal of Advanced Nursing, September 21, 2021

Work has gone remote. So has banking, grocery shopping, notary services, and pretty much everything else. Hospitalization is next. It won’t be easy, but it will happen. Once health care providers, payers, and regulators catch up with the technology that already exists, the hospitals of tomorrow will expand to the home as they become smaller, more affordable, and better versions of what we have today.

The hospital of the future won’t be what you expect, STAT News, January 31, 2022

“I want grandparents to know that they are not alone, having a grandchild with a disability can feel very isolating but people with disabilities are the largest minority group in the world. You are not alone.”

Michele Thorne, Executive Director of Care 4 the Caregivers, Raising and Supporting Grandchildren with Disabilities, Next Avenue, January 28, 2022

“We found a risk of dying early from exposure to air pollution, even at very low levels of air pollution across the United States.”

 Daniel S. Greenbaum, president of the Health Effects Institute,  Even Low Levels of Soot Can Be Deadly to Older People, Research Finds, *New York Times, January 26, 2022    

“While at this time original Medicare cannot pay for at-home tests, testing remains a critical tool to help mitigate the spread of COVID.”

Statement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Seniors are at high risk of COVID, but Medicare doesn’t pay for rapid tests, NPR Shots, January 24, 2022

“We do not conquer Everest, just like we do not conquer trauma. Instead, we must yield ourselves to the chasms and unexpected avalanches.”

Silvia Vasquez-Lavado from In the Shadow of the Mountain, For This Mountaineer, Everest Was a Challenge and a Path to Peace, *New York Times, February 1, 2022

“When boosters were first recommended, a lot of people said, ‘Do we really need to get them?’ and I think this study clearly shows they really do make a difference.”

Dr. Sharon Balter, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, A study finds that vaccines provide robust protection against Omicron, *New York Times, February 2, 2022

“Tennis players have won Grand Slams and gold medals in wheelchairs before but haven’t had that cut through. It’s got nothing really to do about me playing tennis, to be honest. It’s about what I say, I guess who I am, mostly being fully proud of who I am, authentically me and challenging the status quo.”

Dylan Alcott, an Australian quad wheelchair tennis champion, ‘He’s Inspired a Nation’: Dylan Alcott Says Goodbye to Tennis, *New York Times, January 27, 2022

Week of January 28, 2022

We can’t tell if this informal care is provided based on preferences of the elder and family members or due to needs of the residents being too great for the staff to meet alone. If it is the latter, it raises concerns about adequacy of staffing levels in nursing homes. It also raises questions about how needs are met among people who don’t have informal caregivers. Are their needs going unmet, or do staff spend more time with these residents, creating an implicit cross-subsidization between residents with and without family helpers?

Family and Friends are the Invisible Workforce in Long-term Care, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (blog), January 4, 2022

“Politics is a pervasive and largely unavoidable source of chronic stress that exacted significant health costs for large numbers of American adults between 2017 and 2020. The 2020 election did little to alleviate those effects and quite likely exacerbated them. . . It is essentially a permanent part of the background noise of our lives.”

Kevin B. Smith, chair of the political science department at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in “Politics Is Making Us Sick: The Negative Impact of Political Engagement on Public Health During the Trump Administration.”, The Mental Health Toll of Trump-Era Politics, *New York Times, January 22, 2022

“At the end of the day, it all begins and ends with your patient. Your care begins with that person, and it ends with that person, and they should be at the center of the decision making.”

Dr. Mary Groll, professor, health sciences, North Central College, Naperville, Il, Court Battle Over a Ventilator Takes a Patient from Minnesota to Texas, *New York Times, January 22, 2022

“It’s death all around you all the time. It drains you. . . Emotionally, it is a lot. . .I feel like we’re not winning. I feel like we’re losing. Two years later, we’re still losing this fight.”

Nikki Saranathan, a Houston [TX] Methodist Hospital nurse, In Hospital Strained by Omicron, Weary Nurses Treat Too Many Patients, *Wall Street Journal, January 23, 2022

“In my own worst seasons, I’ve come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another . . . [a]nd another . . . [u]ntil I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again.”

Novelist Barbara Kingsolver, How I found joy in life during difficult times, *Washington Post, January 22, 2022

“We would like to see staff vaccinated. We think that it’s the safest option for residents, which is our biggest concern. But not having staff is also a really big concern, because the neglect that happens as a result of that is severe and very scary.”

Marjorie Moore, executive director of VOYCE, a St. Louis County, Missouri, nonprofit that works on behalf of nursing home residents, Vaccine mandate to kick in for first wave of health workers, Associated Press, January 26, 2022

The emphasis on community settings reflects the established need for community-based solutions to trust challenges.

Trust In Health Care: Insights from Ongoing Research, Health Affairs Forefront, January 11, 2022

The United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world, having more than two million adults behind bars at an estimated annual cost of $182 billion. A 500 percent increase in incarceration in the US during the last forty years was not merely a result of rising crime but also a result of the increasing criminalization of behaviors, exemplified by the “War on Drugs,” incarceration of people with serious mental illness, and increased sentencing for disadvantaged populations. Black and Brown people are substantially overrepresented among incarcerated people.

Prison And Jail Reentry and Health, Health Affairs Policy Brief, October 21, 2022

“When I design a space, I like to follow the L.O.V.E. method, which stands for light, optimize, visual, ease.”

Senior living designer Lisa M. Cini, How to prevent falls and provide comfort in a new home for seniors, *Washington Post, January 25, 2022

She was in the highest priority group, one doctor wrote, but there were “over 3,000 patients in this category and less than 100 doses distributed from the state so far, and it is a closed lottery, so I do not know where you are on the list.”

Patchwork system for rationing a Covid drug sends immunocompromised patients on a ‘Hunger Games hunt’, STAT News, January 27, 2022

And we must ensure that aging survivors have access to the services they need to live out their lives in dignity.

President Joseph Biden, Statement by President Biden on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, The White House, January 27, 2022

Week of January 21, 2022

“We are concerned that Omicron will be used as an excuse to shut down visitation again. We do not want to go back to the past two years of lockdowns in nursing homes and resident isolation and neglect.”

Sam Brooks, program and policy manager, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, Testing requirements for nursing home visits leave families stuck in ‘another lockdown’, CNN Health, January 19, 2022

“We have all seen the negative effects of restricting visitation on residents’ health and well-being. For nursing homes to go back into a bunker mentality and shut everything down, that’s not a solution.

Joseph Gaugler, a professor who studies Testing requirements for nursing home visits leave families stuck in ‘another lockdown’, CNN Health, January 19, 2022, long-term care at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health,

“This is a huge inconvenience, but what’s most upsetting is that no one seems to have any kind of long-term plan for families and residents.”

Ozzie Rohm, whose 94-year-old father lives in a San Francisco nursing home, Testing requirements for nursing home visits leave families stuck in ‘another lockdown’, CNN Health, January 19, 2022

“The fact that most individuals that are vaccinated are protected against [severe disease from] Omicron leaves me hopeful that we’ll move into this sort of final chapter where the virus remains endemic, but we have to worry a lot less about severe disease.”

Scott Hensley, a vaccines researcher at the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Immunology, After Omicron, we could use a break. We may just get it., STAT News, January 19, 2022

“We know that vaccination remains the safest strategy for protecting against Covid-19.”

Benjamin Silk, a CDC epidemiologist, STAT News, January 19, 2022, New data show those who recovered from Covid-19 were less likely than vaccinated to get infected during Delta wave

“People are coming to understand that [internet] accessibility is also part of diversity and it needs to be handled in the same way that you handle your other diversity efforts—that is, spread throughout your teams, integrated into your processes.”

Samuel Proulx, accessibility specialist, Fable Tech Labs Inc., For Users with Disabilities, Paid Apps Lag Behind Free Ones in Accessibility, Report Shows, Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2021

Omicron, because of its extraordinary contagiousness and its relative mildness, has transformed the risks and the consequences of infection, but not our reading of the statistics that have been guiding us through the pandemic. Do the numbers still mean what we think they mean?

Do the Omicron Numbers Mean What We Think They Mean?, *The New Yorker, January 16, 2022

[N]o strategy or initiative will be successful without the resources to support it, and the primary focus for health systems right now must be addressing their labor challenges. As the last two years have proven, there is no one more important on the frontlines than caregivers.

Dan Michelson, CEO of Chicago-based Strata Decision Technology, Covid-19 is no longer the biggest issue facing hospitals. Staffing is, STAT News, January 19, 2022

“For me, this suggests that mobile phone-based interventions might not be uniquely effective, but still are effective relative to nothing or non-therapeutic interventions. Given the scalability of these interventions, that’s still good news.”

Simon Goldberg, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, What types of mental health apps actually work? A sweeping new analysis finds the data is sparse, STAT News, January 19, 2022

“[Free distribution of face masks] will not be as impactful as it would have been had we done it at the beginning of the Omicron surge or the beginning of the Delta surge.”

Julia Raifman, a health law and public policy expert at the Boston University School of Public Health, The Biden administration will give away 400 million N95 masks starting next week, *New York Times, January 19, 2022

“It’s hard for me to say straight out it’s good news. Maybe there’s good news in the sense that if you are infected your chance of becoming severely ill are decreased, but from a societal perspective it’s a very heavy burden for us. It remains a serious situation, and we need to maintain practices and behaviors we know protect us.”

Sara Y. Tartof, a Kaiser Permanente research scientist, US faces wave of omicron deaths in coming weeks, models say, Associated Press, January 18, 2022

[H]ome-based services have gone from having a 0% share spend in Medicaid [in the early 1980’s] to over 60%, where it has now surpassed institutional spend[ing]. At the same time, the overall share of long-term care spending in Medicaid went from over half of its spending to under a third.

Why In-Home Care Providers Shouldn’t Scrap MA [Medicare Advantage] Strategies Over Lagging Results, Home Health Care News, January 19, 2022

“Enrolling people in coverage without their consent is fraud, and health insurance providers support protections for consumers against this sort of fraud.”

Kristine Grow, a spokesperson for AHIP, an industry trade group formerly known as America’s Health Insurance Plans, HHS Proposal for Marketplace Plans Carries a Hefty Dose of Consumer Caution, Kaiser Health News, January 19, 2022

“I suspect that many hospitals do not want to report their worker vaccination rates because they are very suboptimal and it is embarrassing. Perhaps they don’t want their peers, competitors, and patients to know that they employ health care workers who exercise poor clinical judgment.”

Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Health Security, How many health care workers are vaccinated? It’s anyone’s guess., Politico, January 19, 2022

“It’s worsened an already bad situation. More than 200,000 people have quit their jobs at long-term care facilities since the start of the pandemic because of the burnout, and many of these jobs pay very little. And these days, you can make more money doing something else.”

NPR health correspondent Rhitu Chatterjee, What nursing homes have been like with the spread of omicron, NPR All Things Considered, January 13, 2022

January 14, 2022

“With the 50% price drop of Aduhelm on January 1, there is a compelling basis for CMS to reexamine the previous recommendation [for the Medicare Part B premium increase in 2022].”

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Becerra orders Medicare to reconsider premium hike following price drop for Biogen’s Aduhelm, STAT News, January 10, 2022

A looming decision on Medicare coverage for Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug could shock state Medicaid programs. . .

“It’s a perfect example in terms of disconnect in public policy (given that the Department of Health and Human Services oversees both CMS and the FDA.) There’s no objective reason why Medicare can have more leeway to look at a drug, but the Medicaid program does not get the same tools and ability to make the same decisions. It could cost us a lot and really calls into question the rules of the road for both programs.”

Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, A looming decision on Medicare coverage for Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug could shock state Medicaid programs, *STAT +, January 10, 2022

We all deserve the supports available through hospice during our final days. Someone to manage our pain and comfort us. Someone to watch telenovelas and eat mint candies with us. And we need to better invest in hospice for this essential care to be here when it’s our time to go.

No one should die alone, *Boston Globe, January 7, 2022 (updated)

“We’ll go out to a Veterans Day breakfast, and a waiter will say, ‘Oh, it’s so nice you came here with your dad to celebrate Veterans Day. But then my dad will say, ‘Oh no, she’s a veteran, too.’ ”

Kaitlynne Hetrick, a government affairs associate at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, These female vets were ready for civilian life. It was harder than they thought. *Washington Post, January 3, 2022

“I can’t appreciate that as much as I’d like. I miss the smell of cut grass. Flowers. My wife’s cooking. It certainly does decrease my quality of life.”

Jerome Pisano, 75, a certified wine specialist who lost his sense of smell, Covid led to smell problems for many. Seniors are especially vulnerable, *Washington Post, January 9, 2022

“Despite the fact people with disabilities comprise 25 percent of the population, they often confront barriers to basic health care services such as physical examinations, weight measurement, and effective communication with their physicians.”

Lisa I. Iezzoni, MD of the Mongan Institute’s Health Policy Research Center at MGH and member of Dignity Alliance Massachusetts, ADA knowledge lacking among many physicians, *Washington Post, January 9, 2022

“Individuals with disabilities are very often invisible. And so, they don’t get to unite … and it’s harder to build the momentum for a movement around individuals with disabilities. I’m hoping [the newly formed Commission on the Status of Persons with Disabilities] will help with that.”

State Representative Denise Garlick (D-Needham), A new state commission aims to unite the diverse disability community, WGBH, December 16, 2021

“I see it as, if you’re not open to employment of folks with different abilities, then you’re shutting the door on innovation, creativity and really thinking about how do you create a holistic work environment where contributions come from different lenses? I’ve seen incredible, innovative work that’s come out of hiring folks that think about doing work differently. Disability is a big part of every community and if you happen to be a person of color and you happen to have a disability, you have a couple of things against you already.”

Oz Mondejar, senior vice president of mission and advocacy at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and Partners HealthCare at Home, A new state commission aims to unite the diverse disability community, WGBH, December 16, 2021

“Most physicians don’t ask questions and don’t know what to do if there’s a [sexual] problem [experienced by an older adult patient]. They think their patients are going to be embarrassed. In my opinion, you cannot call yourself a holistic practitioner unless you ask those questions.”

Dr. June La Valleur, a recently retired obstetrician-gynecologist and associate professor who taught at the University of Minnesota’s medical school, The Joys (and Challenges) of Sex After 70, *New York Times Magazine, January 12, 2022

“For town officials that are thinking about [converting strip malls to housing], it does give you a housing choice in your town that you may not have otherwise if you’re predominantly single-family detached housing. This gives a place people could move that has an elevator, that has services, that’s walkable, where they want to stay in your town.”

David Gillespie, vice president of development at Avalon, Could suburban strip malls be the solution to Massachusetts’ housing shortage, Boston Herald, January 11, 2022

“We should be much higher in terms of boosters. That’s a huge gap right now.”

David Grabowski, professor, healthcare policy, Harvard Medical School, Covid-19 Cases Surge at Nursing Homes, *Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2022

“It’s a middle road that is good for the field, good for the patients and good to determine the efficacy of this class of treatments. It’s not a perfect solution. But it is better than covering it carte blanche or not covering it at all.”

Ronald C. Petersen, director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Medicare proposes covering expensive drug for early-stage Alzheimer’s, but with restrictions that will sharply limit use, *Washington Post, January 11, 2022

“These have been some of the roughest few months that we’ve had to deal with. Between short staffing and coworkers being out with COVID, we’re having to take care of more patients, and we’re burnt out.”

South Shore Hospital pediatric nurse, South Shore Hospital Nurse: ‘We’re Burnt Out’, Patch, January 12, 2022

“Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody. Those who have been vaccinated … and boosted would get exposed. Some, maybe a lot of them, will get infected but will very likely, with some exceptions, do reasonably well in the sense of not having hospitalization and death.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, The highly contagious Omicron variant will ‘find just about everybody,’ Fauci says, but vaccinated people will still fare better, CNN, January 12, 2022

“If it can save one person, that would be awesome.”

Heidi Homola, co-owner of Andi’s Coffee & Bakery, participating business in the VA’s suicide prevention effort, Stick at It”, Stick at it: VA, local coffee shops team up for veteran suicide prevention sticker campaign, The Sheridan Press, January 12, 2022

“We don’t want to have people live to be 120 and feel like they’re 120.”

James Kirkland, a gerontologist at Mayo Clinic, Can You Fight Aging? Scientists Are Testing Drugs to Help, *Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2022

Say it’s 2050 and you just turned 70 years old. You feel as vigorous after a workout as you did at 35. Your skin has nary a wrinkle. You don’t have to remember where you put your glasses because your vision is still 20/20. Your mind seems as sharp as ever. Will people eventually routinely live—and live healthily—longer?

Five Inventions to Help Us Live Better, Longer, *Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2022 (updated)

“When it comes to aging, a small house equals big life. Big house equals small life.”

Dr. Bill Thomas, geriatrician and co-founder of  Kallimos Communities, ‘Magic’ Multigenerational Housing Aims to Alleviate Social Isolation,  *Wall Street Journal, January 10, 2022

“Sexuality is an integral part of a person’s life. But disability often results in physical limitations which can dramatically impair a person’s capacity for intimacy.”

Dr. Mitchell Tepper, an Atlanta-based sexuality educator and coach, Startups Aim to Broaden the Market for Sexual-Health Devices, *Wall Street Journal, January 7, 2022

“He was a beloved friend, a man of great faith and had a gentle spirit that inspired those around him. He proudly served our country during World War II and returned home to serve his community and church. His kindness, smile and sense of humor connected him to generations of people who loved and admired him.”

Stephen Watson, president and chief executive of the National World War II Museum, memorializing, Lawrence Brooks, oldest living American veteran, The oldest living American veteran of World War II dies at 112, NPR, January 5, 2022

January 7, 2022

“From a macro perspective, it feels like we are always fighting yesterday’s crisis and not necessarily thinking what needs to be done today to prepare us for what comes next.”

Dr. Luciana Borio, former acting chief scientist at the Food and Drug Administration, Some health advisers to Biden’s transition team call for a new Covid strategy in the U.S., *New York Times, January 6, 2022

It is imperative for public health, economic, and social functioning that US leaders establish and communicate specific goals for COVID-19 management, benchmarks for the imposition or relaxation of public health restrictions, investments and reforms needed to prepare for future SARS-CoV-2 variants and other novel viruses, and clear strategies to accomplish all of this.

A National Strategy for the “New Normal” of Life With COVID, JAMA Network, January 6, 2022

To reduce COVID-19 transmission, achieve and sustain a “new normal,” and preempt future emergencies, the nation needs to build and sustain a greatly improved public health infrastructure, including a comprehensive, permanently funded system for testing, surveillance, and mitigation measures that does not currently exist.

A National Strategy for COVID-19 Testing, Surveillance, and Mitigation Strategies, JAMA Network, January 6, 2022

There has been tremendous progress in rapidly creating novel COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. Nevertheless, these efforts have been insufficient to achieve a “new normal,” in which the combined risk of all viral respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, does not exceed the risk during pre–COVID-19 years. The US needs investment in variant-specific vaccines, alternative vaccine administration mechanisms, and research into the optimal vaccination strategies. Having effective vaccines are of real value in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and serious illness, but their benefits will be limited without near universal coverage.

A National Strategy for COVID-19 Medical Countermeasures Vaccines and Therapeutics, JAMA Network, January 6, 2022

The likelihood of even more challenging future scenarios should create urgency to invest in and maintain resilient health systems, testing and surveillance, public trust, equity, and strong global institutions. Failure to address clearly observed weaknesses in the COVID-19 response will have preventable adverse health, social, and economic consequences when the next novel outbreak occurs.

The First 2 Years of COVID-19 Lessons to Improve Preparedness for the Next Pandemic, JAMA Network, January 6, 2022

“The history of mental health is almost always told by psychiatrists and hardly ever by patients or through patients’ lives. A lot of these folks happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and said the wrong thing to the wrong person.”

Darby Penney, advocate for better psychiatric care, Darby Penney, Who Crusaded for Better Psychiatric Care, Dies at 68, *New York Times, December 22, 2021 (updated)

“You can’t throw any more money into this institutional model [of long-term care]. It’s the model that’s broken and needs to be changed.”

Fiona Whittington-Walsh, a disability studies scholar at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Canada and the president of the board of directors for Inclusion BC, an organization that has fought the institutionalization of people with developmental disabilities in British Columbia, Quartz, June 25, 2020, Coronavirus is renewing a call to abolish nursing homes

“Nursing homes are such deadly places. They always have been. You don’t hear the stories so much in other times. You’re just hearing it with Covid because it’s off the charts.”

Anita Cameron, an organizer with the advocacy group Adapt in Rochester, New York, Quartz, June 25, 2020, Coronavirus is renewing a call to abolish nursing homes

“I am not absent, I am not on vacation, I am part of my community.”

Anne Emerman, a New York City activist for the civil rights of people with disabilities, when asked why, if she couldn’t get to her polling place, she couldn’t just vote by absentee ballot, *New York Times, December 24, 2021, Anne Emerman, Champion of Disability Rights, Dies at 84

There is no better example of that sad fact than the hijacking of an important Beverly Board of Health meeting by online trolls earlier this week. The board was attempting to hold a meeting to discuss the possibility of instituting mask and vaccine mandates in the city in response to a holiday and omicron-fueled surge in positive cases. The meeting had yet to be called to order when it was taken over by mask and vaccine opponents — many of them from outside the city — hell bent on keeping a vote from being taken.

Speaking up for science, Salem News, December 31, 2021

“We need to stand up and stand tall. We need to be proud of who we are and look people in the eye.”

Chinese-American man addressing issue of anti-Asian prejudice, The Power of Reclaiming My Asian Name, *Washington Post Magazine, January 5, 2021

Perhaps Americans’ trust in their own physicians will outweigh attitudes towards the larger health care system in making vaccine decisions. But without underlying fixes to the health care system that create a recognized, legitimate public good, broad vaccine messages about protecting our hospitals and health care system may continue to give Americans little reason to act.

Protect our hospitals’ might convince Britons to get Covid-19 vaccines, but it won’t work in the U.S., STAT Daily Recap, January 5, 2022

“I think it’s incredibly frustrating for consumers to find the right and appropriate care for their loved ones when the time comes.”

State Rep. Thomas Stanley, D-Waltham, Fixing Massachusetts’ nursing homes is a complex problem; here are some of the ways lawmakers are trying to do it, Berkshire Eagle, January 5, 2022

“Fear of death is not one of my problems … only of the dying. The how, not the when of it. Getting there is not half the fun, and the fear of doing it badly could be of concern if I wanted to waste time thinking about it. I don’t.”

Betty White’s fans feared her death for years. But the ‘Golden Girls’ actress wasn’t afraid of dying., *Washington Post, January 1, 2022

“Patients with the most complex needs for post-acute care are waiting an average of up to to 24 days.”

Dr. Ron Walls, Mass General Brigham’s chief operating officer, Nursing homes at a tipping point: Many are forced to freeze admissions, stranding patients in hospitals for weeks, *Boston Globe, January 5, 2022