Visit the Quotes 2021 page for older quotes.
Week of May 13, 2022
“We remember. . .”
“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
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 ROPHIDSC@cms.hhs.gov.
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