Quotes

Visit the Quotes 2021 page for older quotes.

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