Quotes of the Week

This page has quotes from the 2024 Dignity Digest issues, beginning in January, ordered by newest first.

For previous quotes, visit:

June 18, 2024

Aging, as I see it, is a gift, and I will receive it with gratitude.

Charles M. Blow, The Beauty of Embracing Aging, New York Times (free access), June 6, 2024

Aging is a gift, a chance to keep growing, learning and experiencing life in new ways. It’s about defying limitations and embracing the possibilities that lie ahead. So, for anyone else pondering the future, remember: It’s not about passively accepting age, it’s about actively living each day to the fullest, wrinkles and all.

David S. Cantor, Growing Old, With Grace and Aches, New York Times (free access), June 15, 2024

Life is not as great as it used to be, but complaining about it makes it worse.

Shirley Smithberg, Growing Old, With Grace and Aches, New York Times (free access), June 15, 2024

“The new rule is far from perfect but lots of research supports the idea that many U.S. nursing homes often operate at levels that pose risks to the health and safety of their residents. I would rather have seen members work to improve the legislation to strengthen staffing rather than work to overturn it.”

David Grabowski, professor of health policy, Harvard Medical School. Congress takes aim at White House nursing home staffing quotas, The Hill, June 11, 2024

“Human beings really like the comfort of their home, and if they can get health care in a friendly and familiar environment — it’s much less stressful.”

Jiang Li,  Vivalink CEO, Hospital At Home’s Popularity Among Patients Is The Best Thing Going For The Model (Home Health Care News, June 13, 2024)

Perhaps it goes without saying, but dealing with a terminal illness often feels desperately sad — a steady march toward an inevitable demise. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself, to focus on everything you’re losing. If you’re not careful, it will consume you. Finding a way to revel in the moments of joy or weirdness or humor, however small, was a matter of survival.

Cornelia Channing, Learning to Love My Father as His Mind Unraveled, New York Times (free access), June 15, 2024

Rather than investing millions of dollars in opposition and litigation, the nursing home industry should seek to address the job quality crisis that plagues it. The average annual turnover for a nursing home in the United States is 53% each year. Poor job quality, including low wages, inadequate benefits, impossible workloads, and inadequate training, has driven workers from the field. It is time for the industry to invest in the workforce and in turn, nursing home residents.

Consumer Voice Statement on H.J. Res. 139 – A Resolution to Block Staffing Standards in Nursing Homes, The National Consumer Voice, June 2024

“We’ve successfully housed many of those folks who had cycled previously, like out of the hospital, to the street, to a nursing home, to jail, back to a hospital, back to the street, back to a nursing home.”

Catherine Hayes, a nurse practitioner and cofounder of OakDays, a former motel that offers permanent housing to homeless individuals with disabilities or health conditions like terminal cancer, How a Repurposed Oakland Hotel Is Saving Lives and Easing Hospital ER Overcrowding, KQED, June 17, 2024

Americans age 60 and older lost more than US$3 billion to scammers in 2023, according to the FBI.

Elder fraud has reached epidemic proportions – a geriatrician explains what older Americans need to know, The Conversation, June 17, 2024

June 11, 2024

The latest data show that antipsychotic (AP) drugs are being administered to more than one in five (21.3%) nursing home residents. This is more than 10x the rate of the population that will ever have a clinical diagnosis that the federal government identifies as potentially appropriate for the use of these drugs, such as schizophrenia.

Massachusetts ranks 7th highest with 25.26% resident population administered AP drugs (8,349 persons. The national rate is 21.32 %.

Antipsychotic Drugs Administered to More Than One in Five Nursing Home Residents, Long Term Care Community Coalition, June 3, 2024

So, is long-term care evolving or devolving? The short answer is yes and yes. Which brings us to a more fundamental question: Can this dual reality withstand the test of what’s to come?

John O’Connor, Is long-term care evolving or devolving? , McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, June 9, 2024

“My office is committed to using all of our tools to ensure more safe and affordable housing opportunities for all.”

Attorney General Andrea Campbell, AG Campbell Announces Esme Caramello As Director Of New Housing Affordability Unit, Office of Attorney General Andrea Campbell, May 28, 2024

“Not only did former Governor [Andrew Cuomo] put the elderly in harm’s way, but he also attempted to cover-up his failures by hiding the true nursing home death rate.”

U. S. Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Chair, the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, Cuomo to be questioned by COVID subcommittee for nursing home deaths (*Washington Examiner, June 7, 2024)

“It took 96 years to find out what love is all about.”

Jeanne Swerlin,  96-year-old fiancée, of 100-year-old D-Day veteran, Harold Terens, 100-year-old vet returns to Normandy and marries bride, 96, near D-Day beaches, *Washington Post, June 9, 2024

“As private equity investments continue to rise in the healthcare industry, there has been an increase in bad actors using the healthcare system to make a quick profit at the expense of our hospital system. These predatory private equity companies have placed stakeholder profits squarely above the communities they are supposed to serve.”

U.S. Representative. Lori Trahan (D-MA), Exploring impact of hospital ‘greed’, *Salem News, June 10, 2024

Roughly one in four Americans live with a disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and studies suggest that about 9% of Americans have a learning difference. Many of these differences and disabilities are hidden or invisible.
Meanwhile, 61% of disabled workers have experienced bias, mistreatment, and bullying on the job.

How to Make Job Interviews More Accessible (Harvard Business Journal, June 7, 2024)

June 4, 2024

What’s unconscionable is the nursing home industry’s failure to police itself; allowing far too many of our friends, neighbors and loved ones to be treated inhumanely, to be neglected and abused, and to die due to inadequate numbers of, or poorly trained, staff.

John and Terri Hale, Caring for your loved ones is their business, not their concern, *The Gazette, June 2, 2024

All of the evidence we’re tracking at AARP tied to this rule points to the urgency behind implementation. The rule has bipartisan support, it’s long overdue and it should help save lives. Any attempt to shortchange older Americans of this baseline level of care is short-sighted and risks the health of well over one million people living in nursing homes today — and in the years to come.”

AARP Vice President Sarah Lovenheim, State pays nursing home bills now, gets repaid later by selling your house, Herald Review, May 26, 2024

“The status quo in too many nursing homes unacceptably endangers residents and drives workers into other professions.”

Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman, State pays nursing home bills now, gets repaid later by selling your house, Herald Review, May 26, 2024

The decision Ms. [Heather] Hancock and Mr. [Craig] Blackburn, [both recipients of SSI benefits] faced illustrates a profound contradiction in the lives of people with disabilities. Employment and community involvement are encouraged, but only up to a point. You can save, but only so much. You can work, but only so many hours a week before you earn too much. You can marry, but only if you’re willing to give up a significant portion of your income. These rules send the message that those with disabilities have to choose between help with living independently and their freedom as adult Americans to marry, to make decisions about where they live and to earn a living wage. The current system won’t allow them to have both.

Disabled Adults Shouldn’t Have to Pay This Price to Marry, *New York Times, May 12, 2024

“Since its passage, the Older Americans Act has served as the foundation for community social services for older adults — from funding Meals on Wheels to local senior centers to home and community-based caregiving.”

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Sen. Casey holds hearing on local impact of the Older Americans Act, Times Leader, May 25, 2024

Overall, the philosophy of independent living emphasizes empowerment, choice, and community inclusion for individuals with disabilities. It is a rejection of the medical model and exemplifies consumer control, choice and the dignity of risk.

Charles Carr, Bureaucratic Efficiency Versus Independent Living Philosophy

“The COVID-19 pandemic made clear that our communities need stronger mental health workforces that serve all who need care.”

Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education Noe Ortega, Healey-Driscoll Administration Awards Middlesex Community College and UMass Boston $170,000 to Strengthen and Diversify the Behavioral Health Workforce, Office of Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, May 29, 2024

“An accessible, just public transit system allows anyone, including seniors and people with disabilities, to call themselves a rider. This funding represents a critical step toward transit and disability justice, allowing riders to take advantage of the Green Line and the wealth of opportunities it provides.”

U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), MBTA Wins $67 Million Federal Grant to Improve Green Line Accessibility for People with Disabilities, Office of Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, May 30, 2024

“The [Massachusetts] Executive Office of Elder Affairs was established more than 50 years ago and was one of the nation’s first state agencies dedicated to addressing the needs of older people. Today, the agency has evolved to offer programs and services that support 1.7 million older residents and nearly 1 million family caregivers. Our administration is committed to meeting the changing needs of today’s older adults

Governor Maura Healey, Governor Healey Files Legislation to Rename the Executive Office of Elder Affairs to ‘Executive Office of Aging & Independence’, Office of Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, May 28, 2024

“The new name, Executive Office of Aging & Independence, mirrors the values and goals of our older adult population and our commitment to support the vibrancy, independence and dignity of our family members, friends, and neighbors as they age.”

Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh, Governor Healey Files Legislation to Rename the Executive Office of Elder Affairs to ‘Executive Office of Aging & Independence’, Office of Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, May 28, 2024

Massachusetts has more than 43,000 units of housing in its state-managed public housing system with over 70,000 residents living in those public housing buildings. The Affordable Homes Act filed by the Healey-Driscoll Administration last fall includes historic funding increases to public housing. Included in the bill’s $4 billion in spending and 28 policy changes, the Affordable Homes Act authorizes $1.6 billion to rehabilitate the state’s public housing.

This is What the Future of Public Housing Looks Like in Massachusetts, Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, May 23, 2024

“[The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS)] long overdue rule to require minimum staffing levels in nursing homes will help protect the basic rights of residents to live in dignity. It is shameful that nursing homes receiving taxpayer dollars through Medicare and Medicaid haven’t been required to provide adequate care through specific federal minimum staffing standards until now. Far too many residents and their families have experienced tragic consequences because of poorly staffed facilities.”

Megan O’Reilly, AARP vice president of government affairs, health and family, AARP blasts ‘shameful’ attempts to repeal nursing home staffing mandate, McKnights Long-Term Care News, June 2, 2024

“It’s important to note that these are minimum staffing standards. They represent the floor, not the ceiling, and many nursing homes will need more than the minimum staff to adequately meet the care needs of the residents they serve. So, I find it shameful that Congress is considering overturning nursing home staffing standards.”

Mark Miller, Washington, DC, long-term care ombudsman, AARP blasts ‘shameful’ attempts to repeal nursing home staffing mandate, McKnights Long-Term Care News, June 2, 2024

“One of the social determinants of health is social interaction. It sounds like Carehaus, [a unique intergenerational housing model under construction in Baltimore,] is creating an environment for all residents to have that ongoing social interaction and an opportunity to create a sense of community within the building.”

Caitlin Coyle, director of the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging at UMass Boston’s Gerontology Institute, Introducing a New Kind of Intergenerational Care-Based Cohousing, AARP, April 10, 2024

May 28, 2024

“There’s a behavioral health workforce crisis and we need those funds [from the $192 million behavioral health trust fund].’’

Rebekah Gewirtz, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers chapters in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Behavioral health fund still largely untapped (*Boston Globe, May 26, 2024 (updated))

“Supportive housing is a powerful force to lift up our most vulnerable residents and give them the tools they need to not just survive but to thrive. We look forward to seeing the Affordable Homes Act across the finish line this year and create even more much-needed supportive housing opportunities.” 

Housing and Livable Communities Secretary Ed Augustus, Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces Support for Seven Supportive Housing Projects for Families and Seniors, Office of Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, May 20, 2024

“Since its passage, the Older Americans Act has served as the foundation for community social services for older adults—from funding Meals on Wheels to local senior centers to home and community-based caregiving. . . Our Nation’s older adults have fought in our wars, raised our children and grandchildren, and built our communities—they deserve our support as they age.”

U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Pennsylvanians testified at hearing about the importance of programs like Meals on Wheels, senior community centers, and home- and community-based services, which are funded by the Older Americans Act, Office of U.S. Senator Bob Casey, May 23, 2024

May 21, 2024

“Despite our best efforts to find a partner to redevelop the current location, we have been unable to create a plan that is financially viable given the challenges that all healthcare institutions currently face, including nursing shortages, skyrocketing real estate costs, inflation, and the growing demands for facility maintenance.”

Statement of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, sponsors of Marian Manor, South Boston’s Marian Manor to close this summer (Dorchester Reporter, May 14, 2024)

 “Jennifer [Benson’s] impressive background and experience matches AARP’s mission and our work at the local, state and national levels. We are excited to welcome her as leader of our talented and dedicated Massachusetts state staff and the scores of volunteers who make our work possible.”

AARP East and Caribbean Regional Vice-President Kelly A. Clark commenting on the appointment of Jennifer Benson as the Massachusetts State Director, AARP Massachusetts Welcomes Jennifer Benson as New State Director, AARP, May 14, 2024

We are in a critical time, where nursing home residents are forced to live in facilities with inadequate staffing , and workers are confronted daily with myriad challenges, including poor wages and benefits, inadequate training, and few career advancement opportunities. The solution to these problems is not to make residents and workers less safe by decreasing training requirements.

From a letter to the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce’s Health Subcommittee voicing opposition to the Building America’s Health Care Workforce Act (H.R. 468) and the Ensuring Seniors’ Access to Quality Care Act (H.R. 3227) signed by twelve national advocacy groups, Consumer Voice Sends Letter Opposing Bills that Would Weaken Nurse Aide Training Requirements in Nursing Homes, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, May 15, 2024

“It’s just utterly meaningless. It’s marketing.”

Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, commenting about the website, A Place for Mom, Senior-care referral site ‘A Place for Mom’ stays mum on neglect (Washington Post (free access), May 16, 2024)

“When I first saw A Place for Mom on the TV, I assumed it was a nonprofit. They were not forthcoming that they get a commission from anybody,”

Paula Anderson, of Minnesota, who 12 years ago found an assisted-living facility for her mother-in-law with help from the company, Senior-care referral site ‘A Place for Mom’ stays mum on neglect (Washington Post (free access), May 16, 2024)

It’s a pay-to-play model.

David Grabowski, Harvard professor of health-care policy who specializes in the economics of long-term care,  commenting about the website, A Place for Mom, Senior-care referral site ‘A Place for Mom’ stays mum on neglect (Washington Post (free access), May 16, 2024)

Over the past five years, more than 2,000 elderly residents have walked away from assisted-living facilities in America or been left unattended outside, according to a Post investigation; nearly 100 have died. Some states have done little to recognize or measure the problem, much less prevent it, experts say.

How your state regulates assisted-living facilities (Washington Post (free access), December 17, 2023)

Nationally, [nursing home] closures have accelerated, but this trend predated the pandemic, particularly in New England . From the start of fiscal year 2010 through the end of fiscal 2023, the number of nursing homes in New England decreased 15 percent. . . Nursing home population in  Massachusetts declined 23% from FY 2010 to FY 2023 (42,887 to 32,970).

Nursing Home Closures in New England: Impact on Long-term Care, Labor Markets, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, May 14, 2024

We need to improve care in nursing homes and lower the risks of neglect and abuse. That’s an imperative. Our national indifference to elder abuse and neglect is a scandal.
But improving the situation means getting the best possible bang for every buck we spend. That’s also an imperative.

And it also means working out who is going to pay for it, instead of the usual suspect: “someone else.”

The war over nursing homes is heating up (MarketWatch, May 18, 2024)

“I pulled up, and an ambulance was already here because somebody was overheated.”

Houston City Councilmember Abbie Kamin commenting on the conditions in a 230 resident independent elder housing building that was without power for two days, Senior living communities in the Heights had no power, no emergency plans after Houston storm (Houston Landing, May 19, 2024)

“These are the perfect victims. Some of them were being physically assaulted. Some of them were being neglected.”

Arlington, Texas Police Lt. Kimberly Harris commenting about the situation in five unlicensed assisted living residences, ‘Held Against My Will’: 20 Dead in Assisted Living Horror (Dallas Express, May 19, 2024)

“Not only because it’s right to have affordable housing, but because if we don’t do that, our economy will suffer. And many of the people who don’t want that housing in their community are going to feel the pain.”

Barry Bluestone, founding dean of Northeastern’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, The average Boston renter spends 47% of their income on housing. In Seattle, it’s 28%. Why? (WGBH, May 17, 2024)

“The vast majority of [nursing] homes were built in the 1960s and 1970s, when the then-new Medicare and Medicaid programs created government reimbursement streams for institutional nursing care services — and thus incentivized lenders and investors to put up the money for new construction based on the promise of steady, government-backed revenue for years to come. Once the market hit a critical mass of nursing homes, there was no more incentive to build new homes, and thus we have an infrastructure that’s stuck in the Ford administration.”

Alex Spanko, director of communications and marketing for the Center for Innovation, Closure of historic nursing home reflects sector’s increasing infrastructure problems, McKnights Long-Term Care News, May 20, 2024

“Nursing homes in New Jersey are entirely too large and not homelike. The report recognizes that New Jersey should follow the lead of other states and implement policy changes and investments to create smaller nursing homes with more person-centered models of care. These smaller, person-centered homes should become the norm.”

Laurie Facciarossa Brewer, the state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman, What NJ is doing to improve nursing home care, NJ Spotlight News, May 20, 2024

The question that has arisen in treating patients with costly medical care is “should we provide or withhold care based on age?”

The “Budget Busting Baby Boomer Hypothesis:” Bogus Theories and Misguided Bioethicists, Tallgrass Economics, May 18, 2024

May 14, 2024

“[Passage of the estate recovery bill will be] a crowning achievement in Joe [Tringali’s] legacy. It’ll shine a light on Joe’s incredible tenacity, his insight, how much he cared about people’s lives.”

Charles Carr, former Commissioner, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (now MassAbilities) and a Dignity Alliance Massachusetts participant, A Massachusetts disability rights warrior’s posthumous last battle against estate recovery(*Boston Globe, May 12, 2024)

“Once I’m dirt napping, after 35 years of working, the state will try to recapture my home, savings, and retirement. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep my name and reputation because that’s all my family will get.”

Joe Tringali, disability rights advocate, commenting about MassHealth’s estate recovery policy, A Massachusetts disability rights warrior’s posthumous last battle against estate recovery(*Boston Globe, May 12, 2024)

“In many ways estate recovery penalizes people with disabilities for seeking the services that they need.”

Katherine Howitt, director of the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute, A Massachusetts disability rights warrior’s posthumous last battle against estate recovery(*Boston Globe, May 12, 2024)

One resident purchased a bullhorn with a siren to get nurses’ and aides’ attention because he was often left sitting in his own stool.

Biden’s nursing home staffing rule surfaces horror stories, (*Washington Post, May 8, 2024)

“I think people just might have a bias that, well, this person already has a disability, so it’s not as important.”

Eileen Quinn, mother of  Sara Smythe who has a diagnosis of Downs Syndrome, A mystery illness stole their kids’ personalities. These moms fought for answers., Washington Post (free access), May 12, 2024

[T]he House will take up comprehensive legislation to address gaps in our regulatory process that Steward exploited, to stabilize the health care system, and to address the rising cost of health care.”

House Speaker Ron Mariano, Steward Bankruptcy Filing Rattles Mass. Health Care(State House News, May 6, 2024)

“We are contacting you to seek an explanation for the discrepancy between Brookdale Senior Living Inc.’s massive payouts in executive salaries, stock buybacks and dividends, and the nursing home industry’s simultaneous opposition — based on claims that they are too expensive — to new rules to increase staffing and protect nursing home residents. These two competing claims do not add up.”

Text in letter from Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as well as Reps. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) to the CEO of Brookdale Senior Living, Brookdale finds itself in the midst of another federal inquiry, this time about skilled nursing, McKnights Senior Living, May 7, 2024

“We recognize the current system of having residents spend down their assets and then qualify for Medicaid in order to stay in their assisted-living home is broken. Residents shouldn’t have to impoverish themselves in order to continue receiving assisted-living care.”

LaShuan Bethea, executive director of the National Center for Assisted Living, Extra Fees Drive Assisted-Living Profits, New York Times (free access), November 19, 2023

“We still receive many complaints about staffing shortages and services not being provided as promised. Some residents have reported to us they called 911 for things like getting in and out of bed.”

Aisha A. Elmquist, until recently the deputy ombudsman for long-term care in Minnesota, a state-funded advocate, Extra Fees Drive Assisted-Living Profits, New York Times (free access), November 19, 2023

“I think it is really repugnant that providers are arguing that they should not be held accountable for falls, pressure sores, and other outcomes of gross neglect. The government did not declare open season on nursing home residents when it implemented COVID policies.

Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, Nursing homes wield pandemic immunity laws to duck wrongful death suits, ABC News, May 11, 2024

“For far too long, staffing shortages at nursing homes have meant that seniors in Pennsylvania and around the nation are not getting the high-quality care that they need and deserve. We must do everything we can to ensure every nursing home is meeting that high-quality threshold, and that means investing in the workers who care for our seniors and are currently overworked and underpaid.”

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Nursing home concerns bigger than Casey, McCormick squabble, MyHomeTownToday.com, May 10, 2024

“Housing is a workforce issue and a public health issue. Study after study has shown the enormous influence stable housing has on the health of individuals and their ability to succeed. As we build solutions to our housing crunch, we’re also giving Massachusetts residents the ability to lead healthier and happier lives.”  

Lieutenant Governor Driscoll, Healey-Driscoll Administration Gathers Health Care Leaders to Discuss Housing’s Impact on Public Health, Office of Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, May 9, 2024

“Our healthcare professionals see first-hand the heavy toll housing insecurity plays on those living in the communities we serve each and every day. Affordable and stable housing is critical to our ability to improve and sustain the health and well-being of our most at-risk populations.” 

Michael Dandorph, Chief Executive Officer, Tufts Medicine, Healey-Driscoll Administration Gathers Health Care Leaders to Discuss Housing’s Impact on Public Health, Office of Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, May 9, 2024

“The public is rightly frustrated right now, and I share their concerns. My office is working to get answers and we intend to seek accountability for any laws that may have been violated. We expect the bankruptcy process to bring about transparency and stability, as well as greater legal oversight over Steward’s operations than before.

Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell, Healey-Driscoll Administration announces steps to protect patients, workers, and access to care as Steward Health Care enters bankruptcy(Office of Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, May 6, 2024)

“[Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)] are the unsung heroes, tirelessly working on the front lines of our facilities, ensuring the well-being and comfort of our cherished residents. It’s high time we acknowledge their invaluable contributions and grant them the wages they rightfully deserve.

Secretary Jon Santiago, Executive Office of Veterans Services, Executive Office of Veterans Services Signs Historic Agreement to Establish Career Advancements for Nursing Assistants at Veterans Homes, Executive Office of Veterans Services, April 5, 2024

“Social and Supportive Day programs are essential to support our most vulnerable aging adults. These programs provide a safe space for those with Alzheimer’s and related dementias to gather, stimulate conversation, and foster connections.

Secretary of Elder Affairs Elizabeth Chen, Healey-Driscoll Administration Awards $2.4 Million in Grants to 20 Organizations to Expand Supportive and Social Day Programs for Older Adults, Executive Office of Elder Affairs, May 8, 2024

May 7, 2024

Biden administration officials said the new [nursing home minimum staffing] rule is necessary to limit cases of resident neglect or delays in care, a lingering issue that was exposed when more than 200,000 nursing home residents and staff died from COVID-19 in the first two years of the pandemic. A USA TODAY analysis found just 160 skilled nursing facilities out of about 14,500 would have met the new requirements every day last summer. (Emphasis added.)

Democratic lawmakers demand answers on nursing homes’ staffing, corporate spending, USA Today, May 6, 2024

[L]etters, signed by [U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Lloyd Doggett], said National Healthcare Corp., the Ensign Group, Inc., and Brookdale Senior Living Inc. spent nearly $650 million on executive pay, stock buybacks and dividends since 2018.

Democratic lawmakers demand answers on nursing homes’ staffing, corporate spending, USA Today, May 6, 2024

“She wasn’t mobilized, she had nothing to cognitively engage her, she hadn’t eaten, and she became increasingly agitated, trying to get off the stretcher and arguing with staff. After a prolonged hospital stay, she left the hospital more disabled than she was when she came in.” . (Emphasis added.)

Maura Kennedy, Mass General’s chief of geriatric emergency medicine, describing an 80-something woman with a respiratory infection who languished in the ER for more than 24 hours after physicians decided she needed inpatient hospital care, Stranded in the ER, Seniors Await Hospital Care and Suffer Avoidable Harm, KFF Health News, May 6, 2024

“You walk through ER hallways, and they’re lined from end to end with patients on stretchers in various states of distress calling out for help, including a number of older patients.”

Hashem Zikry, an emergency medicine physician at UCLA Health, Stranded in the ER, Seniors Await Hospital Care and Suffer Avoidable Harm, KFF Health News, May 6, 2024

In 2010, [Massachusetts’] hospitals collectively had 3,132 licensed beds, 88 percent of which were staffed. . . In 2020, the [state] had 3,148 licensed beds, with only 82 percent staffed.

New DPH Guidance Extends Temporary Hospital Beds, State House News, May 2, 2024

“I know [amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)] is a very tough issue for folks, but in my heart, and my mind, and my soul, I know we’re going to cure ALS. I know we’re going to do that. I know we have the bandwidth, and we have the minds, and we have the political will to make that happen.”

State Senator Sal DiDomenico, whose mother died from ALS in October, Providers, Families Seek Legislative Urgency to Support ALS Treatment, State House News, May 2, 2024

Lift-assist 911 calls from assisted living and other senior homes have spiked by 30 percent nationwide in recent years to nearly 42,000 calls a year. . . That’s nearly three times faster than the increase in overall 911 call volume during the same 2019-2022 period, the data shows.

The growth has infuriated first responders who say these kinds of calls — which involve someone who has fallen and is not injured but can’t get up — unfairly burden taxpayers and occupy firefighters with non-emergencies that should be handled by staff at facilities that charge residents as much as $7,000 a month.

Senior homes refuse to pick up fallen residents, dial 911. ‘Why are they calling us?’, *Washington Post, May 3, 2024

“Interpersonal aggression is common in assisted living facilities and staff are inadequately trained to deal with it. Residents are vulnerable to psychological distress and physical injury from other residents, and that’s something we need to take very seriously.”

Karl Pillemer, the Hazel E. Reed Professor of Psychology in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology (CHE) and professor of gerontology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell University Study Finds Resident-to-Resident Aggression Common in Assisted Living Facilities, India EducationDiary.com, May 4, 2024

“If you’re taking the money to work with kids with disabilities, it shouldn’t be a lot to ask to have some transparency.”

Ben Tobin, education advocate, Potential conflicts of interest widespread at Mass. special ed schools, WBUR, May 6, 2024

The for-profit health care system that has become the biggest boogeyman in Massachusetts announced overnight its move to seek bankruptcy proceedings.

Steward crisis lurches into the next phase with bankruptcy filing, MassterList, May 6, 2024

“What this little piece of legislation has uncovered is a huge problem — elder care is a big, big mess.”

Illinois State Representative Terra Costa Howard, States Across the Country Are Reforming Guardianship. New York Is Not One of Them. ProPublica, April 30, 2024

Ultimately, there are not enough affordable housing options to meet the needs of older adults with limited budgets and accessibility needs, and personal care services are not always comprehensive or adequate. Fully scaled rental subsidies, home modification programs, personal care assistance, and service coordination are all key to ensuring the housing stability of older Boston residents.

Advanced Age Can Increase Risk of Housing Insecurity and Homelessness (Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, May 6, 2024)

April 30, 2024

“We have a massive aging population, but we’re decreasing the number of people who want to take care of them. This work is killing [the caregivers].”

Christopher Marte, a councilman representing Lower Manhattan who introduced a bill to end the 24-hour shifts, Home Care Aides Fight to End 24-Hour Shifts: ‘This Work Is Killing Them’, New York Times (free access), March 7, 2024

Demographic shifts and a preference for in-home services are fueling the growth [of home care]. Between 2021 and 2040, while New York State’s overall population is expected to grow 3 percent, the number of people 65 and older is projected to grow 25 percent, and the 85-and-older population could jump nearly 75 percent, according to a City University of New York study.

In New York City, nearly 90 percent of home care workers are women. They are often immigrants, and tend to skew older, with more than half over 45 years. Almost 10 percent are 65 or older.

Home Care Aides Fight to End 24-Hour Shifts: ‘This Work Is Killing Them’, New York Times (free access), March 7, 2024

Medicaid represents $1 out of every $6 spent on health care in the U.S. and is the major source of financing for states to provide health coverage and long-term services and supports for low-income people. . .  Medicaid provides health coverage to nearly 17 million people with disabilities and older adults. . .  Medicaid covers 23% of adults with mental health conditions and 21% of adults with substance use disorder (SUD), a combined estimate of 13.9 million people.

Medicaid Awareness Month, National Health Law Program, April 2024

“I think if we start to engage people in thinking about how they talk about aging outwardly — and also how they think about aging internally — we can really start to shift the societal narrative.”

America’s graying. We need to change the way we think about age. The Harvard Gazette, April 25, 2024

There is an urgent need to reform vaccination policies to reflect the increased risk to vaccine-preventable diseases that long term care residents have, as a mechanism to protect their right to health, independence, and functional ability.

Improving Vaccination Policies in Long-Term Care Settings, The Global Ageing Network, April 5, 2024

Emergency rooms simply are not designed to treat mental health crises. “It’s a great place to be if you’re having a heart attack or if you’re in sepsis. If you’re having a psychiatric emergency, it’s claustrophobic, it’s scary, there’s uniformed personnel running around, you can’t get anyone’s attention. It’s not a good place to be when you’re in that level of distress.”

Scott Zeller, vice president of acute psychiatry at the health care partnership Vituity and past president of the American Association for Emergency Psychiatry, Mental health crisis centers and EmPATH units: offering care that busy ERs can’t, STAT News, April 26, 2024

Across the country, boarding can be especially lengthy for children, for whom inpatient placements are scarce. Inpatient facilities often cherry-pick which patients they will take, preferring those who speak English and have robust private insurance and stable housing and declining those who have developmental disabilities or autism or who are transgender.

Mental health crisis centers and EmPATH units: offering care that busy ERs can’t, STAT News, April 26, 2024

“If you had people with a broken leg spending a week in the ER because there was no orthopedic bed, how long do you think everybody would put up with that?”

Joe Parks, medical director for the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, Mental health crisis centers and EmPATH units: offering care that busy ERs can’t, STAT News, April 26, 2024

“In their unchecked quest for profits, the nursing home industry has created its own problems by not paying adequate wages and benefits and setting heavy nursing workloads that cause neglect and harm to residents and create an unsatisfactory and stressful work environment.”

Charlene Harrington, a professor emeritus at the nursing school of the University of California-San Francisco, Biden Administration Sets Higher Staffing Mandates. Most Nursing Homes Don’t Meet Them, KFF News, April 24, 2024 (updated)

“My whole life, no one ever told me I couldn’t do anything I wanted to, until I tried to join the military. I don’t want to be treated like I’m special. I just want to be treated like everyone else.”

Hannah Cvancara, 28-year-old registered nurse who uses a prosthetic leg and wants to join the military, Losing a Foot Never Held Her Back, Until She Tried to Join the Military, New York Times (free access), April 26, 2024 (updated)

Do the residents [who are subject to bullying] deserve this fate because they are poor, elderly, and disabled?

Jerry Halberstadt, Coordinator of the Stop Bullying Coalition, Let’s Stop Blaming Tenants

Even a small raise with an inflation adjustment [in the   Personal Needs Allowance for nursing home residents]  can make a big difference in their lives.

Former State Senator Richard T. Moore, A Case of Forgotten Needs, Stalled Support: The Fight for Dignity

It’s clear to me that sharing our shortcomings and weaknesses with each other is our greatest strength. Our salvation.

Steve Gleason, Letter by Letter, Steve Gleason Typed His Memoir With His Eyes, New York Times (free access), April 28, 2024

“[The Section 1115 Demonstration] approval allows the [Healey-Driscoll] Administration to build directly upon our existing efforts to advance health equity and ensure Massachusetts residents are universally insured.”

Assistant Secretary for MassHealth Mike Levine, MassHealth Receives Federal Authority to Expand Eligibility for Individuals and Lower Insurance Costs for Massachusetts Families, Office of Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, April 19, 2024

Getting old, as we’re now doing like never before thanks to the age wave, is big money if you know where to lay your bets. And investors, including venture capitalists, private equity firms and real estate interests, have flocked like gold diggers, panning for the billions in taxpayer dollars paid to nursing homes each year by Medicare and Medicaid.

Nursing home operators often have multiple related companies that do business with one another , said Ashvin Gandhi, a professor and faculty associate at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and they sometimes use “tunneling” practices to obscure true profitability.

As some nursing homes cry poverty, what can be done about increased staffing requirements?, Los Angeles Times, April 28, 2024

“Folks that live in skilled nursing need a champion to take on this powerful industry and improve regulatory enforcement and oversight.”

Molly Davies, president and CEO of Wise & Health Aging, As some nursing homes cry poverty, what can be done about increased staffing requirements?, (Los Angeles Times, April 28, 2024

We have publicly available data through which we can identify facilities that are chronically understaffed but nothing happens to them. … There has never been any push to enforce our state standard, so compliance has always been spotty.”

Tony Chicotel, senior staff attorney at California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, As some nursing homes cry poverty, what can be done about increased staffing requirements?, Los Angeles Times, April 28, 2024

April 23, 2024

  “With this [final rule on minimum nursing home staffing], the Biden Administration sends a powerful message: All nursing homes must be held accountable to minimum staffing standards that will keep residents and workers safe and ensure that public funding is spent in ways that allow caregivers to deliver the best care possible.”

Mary Kay Henry, international president of SEIU, which represents nursing home workers, Biden administration finalizes controversial minimum staffing mandate at nursing homes, CNN, April 22, 2024

“This [minimum staffing rule will] help improve the quality of care for residents at the same time that it’s improving conditions for the staff who provide this long-term care.”

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Biden administration finalizes controversial minimum staffing mandate at nursing homes, CNN, April 22, 2024

“Punishing people simply for not having a roof over their heads, often due to circumstances outside of their control, completely disregards their dignity and humanity. Criminalizing homelessness will only perpetuate the cycles of instability these individuals face.’

MA Attorney General Andrea Campbell, AG Campbell Joins Supreme Court Brief Opposing The Criminalization Of Involuntary Homelessness, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, April 5, 2024

“We all have this universal experience where we’ll need to provide care or need to be cared for at some point. Why not start thinking about it now?”

Francesca Falzarano, assistant professor , University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, ‘Carefluencers’ Are Helping Older Loved Ones, and Posting About It, New York Times, April 3, 2024

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of unpaid caregivers in the United States increased to about 53 million in 2020 from 43.5 million in 2015.

‘Carefluencers’ Are Helping Older Loved Ones, and Posting About It, New York Times, April 3, 2024

“Whether that means helping people find and access appropriate community-based care or housing opportunities, we want everyone to feel empowered in making their own most informed decision.’’

Kate Walsh, Secretary, MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Easing exits from nursing homes, *Boston Globe, April 22, 2024

“For me, living in a nursing home is like living under martial law. I am determined to return to the community and pray the Agreement will get me a new home so I can leave here.’’

Richard Caouette, who lives at a nursing facility in Worcester,  Easing exits from nursing homes, *Boston Globe, April 22, 2024

“[Bullying is] all across the state, and I bet it’s all across the country. Some people don’t open their mouths because they’re afraid if they say something they’re really going to lose their housing, and it’s wrong.”

State Senator Joan Lovely, ‘I hate where I live’, *Salem News, April 22, 2024

“I fear for my neighbors. I fear for myself. I fear for my dog.”

Patricia Post, a resident of Apple Village, a subsidized apartment complex in Beverly, who is a  former police officer, ‘I hate where I live’, *Salem News, April 22, 2024

“Why should old people have to live the end of their life with this kind of thing? I hate where I live, and I used to love it.”

Rebecca McIntosh,  a resident of Apple Village, a subsidized apartment complex in Beverly, ‘I hate where I live’, *Salem News, April 22, 2024

“The homeless crisis is a symptom of the housing crisis. We have very little housing and the housing we do have is very expensive, and that drives people onto the street.”

Doug Walker, a member of the Grants Pass, Oregon Housing Advisory Committee, As Supreme Court takes up homeless ban, a city’s unhoused feel abandoned,*Washington Post, April 20, 2024

“I want our public spaces to be safe and clean and used as they were intended and I also want to make sure that homeless people have a place where they can be safe and sleep and get help if they want to get help. And I think we can have both, but not everybody thinks that.”

Grants Pass, Oregon Mayor Sara Bristol, As Supreme Court takes up homeless ban, a city’s unhoused feel abandoned,*Washington Post, April 20, 2024

“This combination of ordinances makes it unlawful for people to live outside on every inch of public property in Grants Pass [Oregon] 24 hours a day. It’s terrible policy, it’s morally wrong and it’s unconstitutional.”

Ed Johnson, director of litigation at the Oregon Law Center and lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the pending Supreme Court case, As Supreme Court takes up homeless ban, a city’s unhoused feel abandoned,*Washington Post, April 20, 2024

Staff turnover is over 60%, pay is exceedingly low, staff are undervalued, and, if that wasn’t enough, they are scapegoated for harms caused by owners’ prioritizing profits over care. This mostly for-profit industry is made up of investors and equity interests, including so called “related parties” who siphon off cash to make it appear as if the nursing home is losing money. 

A recent study titled “Tunneling and Hidden Profits in Health Care” proves this point. Lack of transparency in where the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars are actually going is a monumental problem

Nursing home industry scare tactics must not derail long-overdue staffing rules, Des Moines Register, April 21, 2024

“Antipsychotic medications are especially dangerous among the nursing home population because of their potentially devastating side effects, including death, and the use of antipsychotic medications among nursing home residents is an indicator of nursing home quality.”

Per a CMS spokesperson as told to The Maine Monitor, Use of antipsychotics in Maine nursing homes climbs, The Maine Monitor, April 21, 2024

April 16, 2024

“I’m worried about health care in general because all of our providers, all of our hospitals, are facing immense pressures — labor and workforce pressure, they can’t get enough nurses; inflationary costs, health care costs generally have increased more over the last year than it has in probably the prior decade.”

Senator Michael Rodrigues, Chair, Senate Ways and Means Committee, Rodrigues Sends Strong Signal On Health Care, State House News, April 8, 2024

“For one entity to have any contact with people [who need personal care services], it’s going to be impossible. There are a lot of supports that are needed … and we know our consumers, because we are the consumers.”

Denise Figueroa, executive director of the Troy, NY-based Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley, Health advocates decry changes to long-term home care program (*Times Union, April 14, 2024)

Healthcare-associated infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in long-term care facilities. Evidenced-based information is the key to preventing devastating outcomes from infection outbreaks and combating future pandemics.

Infection Prevention Compendium for Long-Term Care Facilities, New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM)

“You go back nine months ago and it was a different [budget] discussion than it is today. It’s hard to say exactly where it’s going to be in six to nine months. We think the number we’re putting on the table for discussion within the House gets us far enough along that we can see where we are going forward down the road.”

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Aaron Michlewitz, House Proposes $57.9 Bil Budget For New Fiscal Reality, State House News, April 15, 2024 (updated)

“People in medicine tend to focus on the one organ system that they’re responsible for. When you build a palliative care team that’s interdisciplinary, that team becomes this nice navigator of the health care system and the social safety net.”

Kimberly Bower, a family physician and senior medical director of Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, Palliative care could be a game changer for public health, Harvard Public Health, April 4, 2024

2024 will be a record-breaking year for retirement in the U.S., with an average of 11,000 Americans a day expected to celebrate their 65th birthday from now until December. Approximately 4.1 million Americans are poised to turn 65 this year and every year through 2027.

America is hitting “peak 65” in 2024 as record number of boomers reach retirement age. Here’s what to know. MoneyWatch CBS News, January 29, 2024

Questions that were raised when the trust approved the first loan include how Neville Place selects lower-income residents and how it could use all 30 Section 8 rent vouchers that the housing authority gave to Neville Place when it was created. Those vouchers could help residents pay the rent portion of assisted-living fees, but Neville Place is still using only 18 of the 30, the same number as last May. The trust report then said Neville’s selection process was complicated and could discourage lower-income people from applying for and using the vouchers. 

Neville Place assisted-living gets $5.7M loan from city despite unexplained lapses in terms, Cambridge Day, April 13, 2024

A recent Redfin survey of older American homeowners (aged 60 and over) found that more than three-quarters (78%) will consider staying in their current home as they age — or are already aging in place. While 16% said they’ll consider a 55+ community, 9% will consider moving to an assisted living/nursing home/elder care facility.

Most baby boomers want to stay put in their big family homes — exacerbating a major US housing problem, Yahoo! Finance, April 14, 2024

“It is clear that future generations are likely to bear an increasingly severe burden of the consequences of present failures and omissions to combat climate change.”

The European Court of Human Rights President Siofra O’Leary ruling in favor on a lawsuit brought by a group of Swiss women aged over 64 years known as KlimaSeniorinnen, Swiss women win landmark climate case at Europe top human rights court, Reuters, April 9, 2024

“A stable workforce is critical for quality resident care and protecting employees’ health insurance is key to retaining the nursing home’s skilled caregivers.”

SEIU 1199 New York statement, Troubled nursing home in contempt over non-payment of $2.65 million for staff healthcare, McKnights Long Term Care News, April 15, 2024

In the upcoming years, a confluence of factors will produce an unprecedented shortfall in the necessary supply of caregivers. If left unchecked, this shortfall will result in a series of harmful economic outcomes—including sharply raised caregiving costs, outsized burdens on informal caregivers, and subpar quality of care. Since demand for care is largely out of policymakers’ control, the most promising way to address these challenges is by expanding the supply of caregivers. And one of the best strategies for expanding the supply of caregivers is through expanded pathways for legal immigrants.

Immigration to address the caregiving shortfall (Brookings, April 2, 2024)

Baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 have had relatively higher suicide rates across the age spectrum compared to other birth cohorts in the United States. Given that by 2030, there will be more than 71 million Americans ages 65 and older, the high suicide rate among this group has implications for the future. This is particularly salient in the context of the historically high suicide rates—across age groups—currently being faced in the United States.

Suicide Rates Are High And Rising Among Older Adults In The US (Health Affairs Forefront, March 4, 2024)

“I’m terrified I’ll be forced into deadly and abusive facilities in light of [New York] governor [Hokul’s] proposed draconian budget cuts to homecare, specifically the Consumer Directed Personal Assistant Program.”

Geri Mariano, 56, a recipient within the program, NY lawmakers fight gov’s plan to reform murky $6B Medicaid program: ‘I don’t know why Hochul hates me’ (New York Post, March 17, 2024)

April 9, 2024

“Why do these things happen to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and don’t happen to able bodied people? It challenges us to ask about how we allow institutions like [the Walter E.] Fernald [State School] to exist to begin with, and how we haven’t reckoned with the history of those institutions.”

Rick Glassman, director of advocacy, Disability Law Center, Feds launch civil rights investigation into patient privacy breach at abandoned Fernald School, WGBH News, April 4, 2024

“We are very happy to have a reliable and trusted person at the helm [of the Benjamin Healthcare Center] now. There has been lots of uncertainty and lack of transparency throughout this whole process. We’re also incredibly grateful to the staff and residents who kept showing up and demanding a response. They knew something was wrong and that folks were in danger. Without their trust in us and without their support and organizing, we would have had a much harder battle.”

State Representative Samantha Montaño, Receiver Named For Nursing Home Facing Closure, State House News, April 4, 2024

“[Physician assistants] are the only health care professional[s] that needs to have their license appended to another professional. Nurse practitioners don’t have that, nurses don’t have that, respiratory therapists don’t have that.”

Duncan Daviau, president of the Massachusetts Association of Physician Assistants (MAPA), Law Change May Help Physician Assistants Fill Labor Gap, State House News, April 4, 2024

“The defendants in this case unlawfully exploited vulnerable individuals, including disabled and unhoused victims, in order to cheat the system for their own personal gain.”

Attorney General Andrea Campbell, AG Campbell Announces Indictments In Worcester-Based Home Health Medicaid Fraud Scheme, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, April 1, 2024

The situation raises questions about what vetting process the state uses to examine its highest-paid vendors.

N.Y.’s largest health vendor linked to owner accused of fraud, neglect, Times Union, April 7, 2024

“[N]o matter how much we tell ourselves we won’t be like our parents, no matter how hard and fast we run in the other direction, we become them.”

Steven Petrow, a Washington Post contributing columnist and author of the book “Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Older: A Highly Judgmental, Unapologetically Honest Accounting of All the Things Our Elders Are Doing Wrong”,  How to age better than your parents, *Washington Post, April 6, 2024

Think about it: Government dysfunction has undermined a critical, half-century-old safety-net program. States knew this “unwinding” process would be a massive challenge that could overwhelm their infrastructure, yet they bungled it anyway.

Equally embarrassing: We don’t know what ultimately happened to those who were purged and how many have any access to care now. . .

About 1 in 5 Americans is on Medicaid. Yet, for some reason, the partial dismantling of this critical program has barely pierced the election news cycle so far. Presumably, some politicians would prefer to keep it that way.

The Great Medicaid Purge was even worse than expected, *Washington Post, April 5, 2024

“We have allowed American health care to become too much the servant of the profit motive.”

Dr. Donald Berwick, president emeritus of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Obama, Markey and Warren rip Steward’s bosses for ‘rot of their greed’ at State House hearing, *Boston Globe, April 3, 2024

“And law enforcement authorities should carefully review every aspect of this fiasco. We also need to change the law. Private equity should not be allowed to loot one business after another.”

US Senator Elizabeth Warren, Markey and Warren rip Steward’s bosses for ‘rot of their greed’ at State House hearing, *Boston Globe, April 3, 2024

We make life changing decisions based on our perceptions of capacity—and we might be wrong in those perceptions. By addressing the poverty issues, those “hallmarks” of incapacity may vanish.

Poverty Masquerading as Incapacity, American Bar Association, March 28, 2024

Insurance companies have long blamed private-equity-owned hospitals and physician groups for exorbitant billing that drives up health care costs. But a tool backed by private equity is helping insurers make billions of dollars and shift costs to patients.

In Battle Over Health Care Costs, Private Equity Plays Both Sides, New York Times (free access), April 7, 2024

“I probably won’t be around for the next  [total eclipse].  So, I’m hoping the weather will cooperate long enough for me to see this one. I’m praying for clear weather.”

LaVerne Biser, a 105-year-old man who is avid eclipse aficionado, Texas man is preparing to watch his 13th solar eclipse. He’s 105.,*Washington Post, April 5, 2024

Jimmy Carter’s long hospice stay, now more than a year, has shown a different model for hospice—one that supports its mission to help people live well, with dignity and quality of life, for whatever time remains.

It’s Past Time For An Upgrade To The Medicare Hospice Benefit, Health Affairs, April 5, 2024

Because no data exists to shed light on who is currently under guardianship, let alone why, little to nothing is known about guardianship’s impact on marginalized communities. What is known, however, is that the systemic inequalities experienced over the life of a marginalized older adult can increase the adult’s risk of various harms, including chronic disease and death, which may contribute to an increased likelihood of guardianship.

Guardianship Data Reform, Justice in Aging, March 24, 2024

“These firms, such as Arcadia Care, Brius Health Care, Aperion Care, and Infinity Healthcare Management, perform poorly in the federal government’s nursing home rating system, averaging only 2 on a 1 to 5 scale. These bad actors — some of which have doubled or tripled in size in recent years by purchasing facilities sold off by more established operators — have been averaging over $100,000 in penalties per facility, nearly three times the national level.”

Where Nursing Homes Hide Their Profits, The Lever, April 8, 2024

There are about 15,600 nursing facilities with 1.7 million licensed beds in the United States. Two-thirds of them are affiliated with 600 chains while the others are independent. Seventy percent of the facilities, with 74 percent of the beds, are owned by for- profit companies.

Care At Risk: Upheaval in the Nursing Home Industry, www.GoodJobsFirst.org, December 2023

April 2, 2024

[Governor Healey’s] proposal to slash fundamental personal care services for the disabled is baffling. . .

it is likely that the replacement services will not be controlled by the people who use them and the state will not be reimbursed at 50 percent by Medicaid the way it currently is. This means that the state will give up federal money while depriving people of one of the key aspects that makes the personal care attendant program a success.

Alex Green, Governor Healey’s budget proposal threatens 50 years of disability rights, *Boston Globe, March 28, 2024

Investors have a vast interest in frail elderly and disabled Americans institutionalized in the disgraceful U.S. nursing home system. They can get by with a minimal, substandard, quality of care while extracting and pocketing optimal amounts of cash. It is a shabby business carried out by sleazy businessmen in a weakly regulated government funded skilled nursing system.

Russia & the United States:  Two Different Countries, Two Different Styles of Kleptocracy, Tallgrass Economics, March 30, 2024

Propaganda works. The industry lobby has an effective PR campaign that leads the public to believe that it is tough to make money running nursing homes. They rely on the lack of financial literacy among most people by noting a general low operating margin reported by most facilities.

Russia & the United States:  Two Different Countries, Two Different Styles of Kleptocracy, Tallgrass Economics, March 30, 2024

“For the low-income fares to work well, the House and Senate must ensure that funding is included in the final state budget. We look to Beacon Hill to ensure ongoing, consistent and permanent revenue support for the low-income fare program through the coming years.”

Transportation for Massachusetts Executive Director Reggie Ramos, Half-Priced Fares Coming To All T Service Modes, State House News, March 29, 2024

Death remains my intimate shadow partner. It has been with me since birth, always hovering close by. I understand one day we will finally waltz together into the ether. I hope when that time comes, I die with the satisfaction of a life well-lived, unapologetic, joyful, and full of love.

Alice Wong, disability activist, Living With Muscular Dystrophy at 50 Makes Death My Shadow Partner (Time, March 27, 2024)

“There has been a broader shift in demographics of individuals residing in ALFs, [assisted living facilities]. More and more folks with more care needs are going to ALFs when they would traditionally go for skilled nursing facilities.”

Hari Sharma, Ph.D., an assisted living researcher and assistant professor of Health Management and Policy at the University of Iowa, Assisted living facilities are the new nursing homes. Oversight falls short. New Mexico in Depth, April 1, 2024

“We’re concerned that our residents’ needs won’t be met if additional [nursing] facilities close.

Emily Shea, Commissioner, Boston’s Age Strong Commission, at the March 26, 2024  hearing on the closure of the Benjamin Healthcare Center, Boston nursing home prepares to shut down, CommonWealth, April 1, 2024

March 19, 2024

The question remains: Why haven’t governments fully flexed their existing regulatory muscles to enforce vital reforms in nursing homes? With the welfare of vulnerable residents at stake, the urgency for decisive action has never been clearer.

Charlene Harrington, RN, PhD, University of San Francisco, How for-profit nursing home regulators can use the powers they already have to fix growing problems with poor-quality care, The Conversation, March 14, 2024

“The investigation revealed an industry [for-profit nursing homes] that places a premium on cost cutting and big profits, with low staffing and poor quality, often to the detriment of patient well-being. Operating under weak and poorly enforced regulations with financially insignificant penalties, the for-profit sector fosters an environment where corners are frequently cut, compromising the quality of care and endangering patient health. Meanwhile, owners make the facilities look less profitable by siphoning money from the homes through byzantine networks of interconnected corporations. Federal regulators have neglected the problem as each year likely billions of dollars are funneled out of nursing homes through related parties and into owners’ pockets.”

Charlene Harrington, RN, PhD, University of San Francisco, and investigative journalist Sean Campbell, For-profit nursing home owners rebut report that left few untarnished, McKnights Long Term Care News, March 18, 2024

“Quite frankly we are sick of the disturbing pattern of health care administrators in our community taking advantage for their own personal gain.”

State Sen. Liz Mirand, in comments sparked by the Edgar P. Benjamin Healthcare Center’s planned closure, Local leaders push to keep Boston nursing home open, Boston10News, March 15, 2024

“UnitedHealth doesn’t care about me. I’m a liability, I cost them too much money. They make a profit by not giving me the care I need. The company is in charge of deciding who does and doesn’t get care. My doctor says, ‘You need this infusion.’ UnitedHealth is standing in the doorway saying, ‘No you don’t.’”

Jenn Coffey, a 52-year-old former EMT from Manchester, NH, Between You and Your Doctor: How Medicare Advantage Care Denials Affect Patients, The American Prospect, March 6, 2024

“While prisoners were locked in their cells, the ventilation was completely shut off in the housing units. With no air flow, the temperature monitors in the cells showed 98 degrees.” Checking on the elderly population, in their seventies and eighties, “the old guys were getting lightheaded and sweating. The guards wouldn’t even open their cell doors so they could get a little more air.”

Jessie Milo, an elected member of the Inmate Advisory Counsel at Cocroran State Prison in California, commenting about the effect of a planned power outage, Climate Change Is Turning Prisons Into Death Traps, The New Republic, March 13, 2024

“[Older incarcerated persons have] gone so long with substandard health care or not the right types of health care. For men coming out of prison, 40 is the new 60, 60 is the new 80.”

Dan Pfarr, CEO of 180 Degrees, a reentry nonprofit in Minnesota, The U.S. prison population is rapidly graying. Prisons aren’t built for what’s coming, NPR – Morning Edition, March 11, 2024

“When you think about geriatric medical needs, many of the prisons across the United States are not equipped or weren’t designed that way, and so the systems are grappling with how to retrofit or make do with the facilities that we have.”

Nick Deml, commissioner, Vermont Department of Corrections, The U.S. prison population is rapidly graying. Prisons aren’t built for what’s coming, NPR – Morning Edition, March 11, 2024

“The vast majority of older people are getting care from people who have little to no training in the care of older adults.”

Louise Aronson, professor of geriatric medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, The Looming Geriatric Care Crisis: Why Finding a Senior-Focused Doctor is Difficult, *Washington Post, March 17, 2024

Estate recovery “has the potential to perpetuate wealth disparities and intergenerational poverty.”

Katherine Howitt, Medicaid policy director with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts, State Medicaid offices target dead people’s homes to recoup their health care costs, AP News, March 17, 2024

“[Estate recovery] is one of the most cruel, ineffective programs that we see. This is a program that doesn’t work for anybody.”

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), , State Medicaid offices target dead people’s homes to recoup their health care costs, AP News, March 17, 2024

Brian Snell, an elder law attorney in Marblehead, Mass., represents a family whose 93-year-old mother, who had dementia, died in 2022 at her condo in North Andover. Her daughter had cut back on her hours as a beautician to care for her at home, wanting to keep her out of a nursing home because “that was her mother’s wish,” Mr. Snell said.

When the mother qualified for MassHealth, the state Medicaid program, it enrolled her in a state home care program that provided home health aides (though only sporadically, because the pandemic made workers and agencies hesitant to enter homes).

After her death, MassHealth sought to recover $292,000 for the cost of home care and the program premiums. Because two of her children were low-income, including the caregiving daughter, a state waiver would allow those two to receive $50,000 each from the sale of the mother’s condo. But more than half of the $335,000 sales price will go to the state and federal governments.

When Medicaid Comes After the Family Home, *New York Times, March 16, 2024

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Virginia, Delaware, and Connecticut have achieved functional zero for homeless veterans. With its soaring housing costs and struggles with homelessness, making Massachusetts the fourth state to house all veterans and keep them housed would be a real accomplishment.

Ending veteran homelessness is achievable, *Boston Globe, March 18, 2024

[W]hen the state made Aetna pay up, it also demanded broader data on childbirth claims. Regulators discovered that the insurer had miscalculated claims related to more than 1,000 births over a four-year period. Aetna issued refunds totaling $1.6 million and agreed to pay a $150,000 fine if it failed to follow conditions listed in a consent agreement.

Health Insurers Have Been Breaking State Laws for Years, Pro Publica, November 16, 2023

For seniors and disabled Americans to lose nearly $200 per month of their Social Security and choose between a large payout for supplemental or the risk of bankruptcy, is an injustice when privatized healthcare is stealing hundreds of billions of Americans’ tax dollars, payroll deductions, and hard-earned money through out-of-pocket expenses.

Dave Kingsley, How the Health Insurance Industry is Using Disinformation to Take Over and Defraud Medicare, Tallgrass Economics, March 17, 2024

“We are in a crisis right now in health care, where too many people are putting profit before people and these residents need long-term care. They need us to stand with them.”

Boston City Council President Ruthzee Louijeune, To keep a Mission Hill nursing home open, lawmakers call for government intervention, WGBH News, March 15, 2024

“One of the most effective ways to make housing more affordable is to convert vacant or underutilized office space into housing. This new initiative from MassHousing will be transformative for our downtowns and communities. Combined with the proposed investments in our Affordable Homes Act, we can make it easier for first-time homebuyers, renters, seniors and everyone to find affordable places to live.” 

Governor Maura Healey, Healey-Driscoll Administration Launches New Program to Support Redevelopment of Commercial Properties into Housing, Office of Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, March 15, 2024

March 12, 2024

“Safe care is not possible without an adequate number of qualified nursing staff. The devastation. . .that too many have faced is unconscionable.”

Bill Sweeney, AARP senior vice president for government affairs, Reject Bill That Would Block Federal Nursing Home Standards, AARP Tells Congress, AARP Blog, March 8, 2024

“The $62.5 million bipartisan allocation for continued outreach to and enrollment of low-income Medicare beneficiaries into assistance programs means millions more eligible older adults will get much-needed help affording their health care and medicine. Today’s funding package is another step closer to ensuring that every American can age with dignity.”

Statement from NCOA President and CEO Ramsey Alwin, Assistance on the Way for Low-Income Older Americans, National Council on Aging, March 8, 2024

“We believe the level, depth and breadth of the financial mismanagement [of the Benjamin Healthcare Center] and questionable dealings [are] massive. At this point, we believe [Administrator Tony Francis’] decisions are not based on what is in the best interest of patients, staff and community but rather are designed to cover up his past misdeeds. It is imperative that the Attorney General and the Department of Public Health move now to stop him from destroying the only Black founded, owned, and operated nursing home facility in New England.”

Letter from family members, employees and community members to Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell and Department of Public Health, 25 Investigates probes Boston nursing home’s finances, Boston 25 News, March 8, 2024

“You’re making $600,000 to 900,000 a year, why couldn’t you take a pay cut if you realize the facility was in financial straits?”

Delroy McDonald, former bookkeeper for the Benjamin Healthcare Center, 25 Investigates probes Boston nursing home’s finances, Boston 25 News, March 8, 2024

“You have run this hospital system for 14 years, and reportedly have had access to two private jets while owning two luxury yachts. Meanwhile, suppliers were unpaid, the system piled on debt, and patients in Steward hospitals … suffered because of inadequate care.”

Letter to Steward Chairman and CEO Ralph de la Torre from U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, Distressed Steward Health may have a buyer for St. Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, WBUR, March 8, 2024

“There was a level of collaboration during the COVID-19 crisis that made all the sense in the world. In part of our preparations for what could happen with the Steward system, I think we will need to get back to that, to make sure we can focus on taking care of patients.”

Steve Walsh, president of the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association, Distressed Steward Health may have a buyer for St. Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, WBUR, March 8, 2024

In the US, millions of older adults struggle to afford both housing and the long-term care (LTC) services they increasingly require as they age, such as help with personal care, housekeeping, and shopping.

Older Adults with Moderate Income Cannot Afford the Dual Burden of Housing and Care (Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, March 7, 2024)

March 5, 2024

“Most COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations last year were among people 65 years and older. An additional vaccine dose can provide added protection … for those at highest risk.”

CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen, Older U.S. adults should get another COVID-19 shot, health officials recommend, NPR Health, February 28, 2024

“There are still people whose eligibility we’ve been protecting and we need to renew, many of whom may lose coverage. But we expected a steadier decline through the remainder of the redetermination process.”

Assistant Secretary for MassHealth Mike Levine, Decline in Rolls Eases, *Salem News, March 2, 2024

“Before the pandemic, most nursing homes did not rely on agency staff. Since the pandemic, the use of agency staff has become more common; it is more expensive and may be associated with lower-quality care. Given the recent push to implement more stringent nursing home oversight, including proposed regulations that would increase nurse staffing levels, our findings suggest that policy makers need to consider the recent increased use of agency staff and their higher labor costs.”

Temporary Nursing Home Staff Are More Common Now, Increasing Labor Costs and Decreasing Care Quality: Study, AboutLawSuits.com, February 20, 2024

The labor-market dynamics associated with the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on nursing home labor costs.

Nursing Homes Increasingly Rely On Staffing Agencies For Direct Care Nursing, Health Affairs (open access), February 14, 2024

Many long-termers languish in cells or in substandard prison infirmaries or even in so-called long-term care units. With labored breathing, they limp to the mess hall and miss their chance to eat, sink deeper into dementia, fall and get seriously injured, and navigate hearing and vision impairment. At the same time, they are under the supervision of guards who lack the training and often the empathy to properly manage the diminished capacity of many older people to follow often senseless prison rules. . .

The mental and physical stress of prison life can lead to accelerated aging; as a result, old age in prison typically begins at 50 to 55.

Barbara Hanson Treen, a former New York State parole commissioner, Living Slow Deaths Behind Bars, New York Times (free access), March 3, 2024

“We have a lot of legislators who say, ‘Nobody should be depending on Medicaid to make a living,’ but you have families who have made a choice to not work outside the home, to care for their loved one, because there’s nobody else who can do it and certainly can’t do it as well as them.”

 Kim Dodson, chief executive officer of The Arc of Indiana, Paid Family Caregivers in Indiana Face Steep Cutbacks, *New York Times, March 4, 2024

“We’re going to be judged by how we care about the most vulnerable among us.”

Suzanne Crouch (R), Indiana’s lieutenant governor, , Paid Family Caregivers in Indiana Face Steep Cutbacks, *New York Times, March 4, 2024

An aging prison population poses new challenges for addressing both the physical frailties of the incarcerated and the cognitive issues the system has not adequately planned for.

All eyes on the state’s next move on prison health care(*Boston Globe, March 4, 2024 (updated))

The ongoing Steward Health Care debacle has shown what the wonderful world of private equity has done to health care here generally. The same thing has been happening for years in prison health care — an industry dominated by two private equity-backed firms — Wellpath and YesCare — both possible bidders for the state prison contract.
Is this really the best Massachusetts can do?

All eyes on the state’s next move on prison health care(*Boston Globe, March 4, 2024 (updated))

“It’s unrealistic for people without an attorney to understand exactly what all their legal rights are, and what’s the proper way for them to assert those rights in a court.”

Laura Massie, senior attorney with the housing unit at Greater Boston Legal Services, ‘Not a fair fight.’ Advocates, officials push to provide free legal aid to low-income tenants fighting eviction. (*Boston Globe, March 1, 2024 (updated))

“It’s terrible to be there without an attorney. I was asked so many questions, and I didn’t know the answers because I didn’t know how the law works. At some point I didn’t even know I was allowed to ask questions.”

Mary Barrera, 45 year-old Columbian migrant, ‘Not a fair fight.’ Advocates, officials push to provide free legal aid to low-income tenants fighting eviction. (*Boston Globe, March 1, 2024 (updated))

The power wielded by the American power elite through their lavishly funded network in Washington and state capitals is unrecognized by the media and hidden from public view. This system will not change without exposure initiated by scholars and honesty from those who willingly participate in it. 

Dave Kingsley, Philanthropic Foundations, Quasi-governmental Science Organizations, and Universities Often Act as Corporate Shills: How the Industrial Complexes Work.(Tallgrass Economics, February 28, 2024)

“If there are repeated mistakes, that’s a sign that something is wrong,” said “We don’t just turn our back. But this bill says, ‘Oh, if there’s more than one mistake, we can turn our back. We don’t need to identify a pattern.’”

Iowa State Representative Megan Srinivas (D-Des Moines), Bill that cuts nursing home red tape, kicks up collaboration with regulators advances(McKnights Long-Term Care News, March 4, 2024)

“For years, residents at Fulton Commons endured despicable mistreatment that left them with traumatic injuries and humiliating living conditions while the owners and operator of the facility pocketed millions of dollars of taxpayer funds instead of investing in critical care.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James, Attorney General James Secures $8.6 Million and Significant Reforms to Long Island Nursing Home after Repeated Financial Fraud and Resident Mistreatment, Office of the New York Attorney General, March 4, 2024

February 27, 2024

“By speaking out at such a young age, [HIV activist  Hydeia Broadbent] helped so many people, young and old, because she wasn’t afraid to share her story and allowed everyone to see that those living with HIV and AIDS were everyday people and should be treated with respect.”

Magic Johnson, HIV/AIDS activist Hydeia Broadbent, known for her inspirational talks as a young child, dies at 39, ABC News, February 22, 2024

“I have dedicated my whole life to this fight [regarding H.I.V/AIDS]. I don’t hate my life. I feel like I’m really blessed. But at the same time, my life doesn’t have to be their life. I didn’t have a choice when it came to H.I.V./AIDS, and people do have a choice.”

Hydeia Broadbent, Hydeia Broadbent, H.I.V. and AIDS Activist, Dies at 39, *New York Times, February 21, 2024

[Medicare fraudster Philip] Esformes is said to have bribed doctors to put patients into his nursing homes, where they frequently received inadequate care or were given unnecessary services that were then billed to Medicare and Medicaid.

Nursing Home Mogul Philip Esformes Pleads Guilty to Medicare Fraud, Given No Additional Jail Time or Fines (Skilled Nursing Homes, February 22, 2024)

[Nursing home] companies with revenue of $40 million or less paid their CEOs on average $439,768 for total compensation. Companies with revenue between $40 million and below $100 million paid their CEOs $456,499 on average for total compensation, while companies with upwards of $100 million in revenue paid their CEOs $822,507 on average per year for total compensation.

Long-Term Care Executive Salaries Jump 3.69% in 2023 Despite Operating Pressures at Nursing Homes, Skilled Nursing Homes, February 21, 2024

Clearly, private equity nursing homes are run differently than non-profit or for-profit nursing homes, whose nursing home stocks are available for anyone to buy.  In private equity facilities, nursing home care often takes a hit for the sake of wider profit margins. 

Nursing Home Investment Opportunities; Are They Worth It?, (www.Experience.care), August 3, 2023

Based on mediation analysis, more profit-oriented providers sold more drugs not only because they knowingly reported more false positives, but also because they promoted drugs sales more conditional on a positive test result. Thus, profit motivated providers seem to have misrepresented test results to sell more unnecessary malaria-related drugs.

The Essential Role of Altruism in Medical Decision Making, National Bureau of Economic Research, February 26, 2024

The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to increase from 58 million in 2022 to 82 million by 2050 (a 47% increase), and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population is projected to rise from 17% to 23%.

The U.S population is older today than it has ever been. Between 1980 and 2022, the median age of the population increased from 30.0 to 38.9, but one-third (17) of states in the country had a median age above 40 in 2022.

Fact Sheet: Aging in the United States, Population Reference Bureau, January 9, 2024

[Blackstone Inc Chief Executive Steve]  Schwarzman reaped over $1.26 billion in pay and dividends for 2022, including more than $1 billion in dividends from his shares of Blackstone, the world’s largest private equity firm.

Blackstone CEO Schwarzman received $896.7 million in pay, dividends in 2023(Reuters, February 23, 2024)
[Editor’s note: $1.26 billion equals $3.5M per day; $144K per hour; $2.4k per minute; $40 per second.]

“It is incumbent on the state to try to assure that there’s adequate cash at any of the Steward hospitals to pay for needed staff supplies and third-party vendors that provide critical services.”

Paul Hattis, senior fellow at the Lown Institute, Steward does not provide all financial documents sought by Governor Healey(*Boston Globe, February 23, 2024)

“Organ procurement executives have acted with complete impunity for decades. They should not be above the law.

Greg Segal, co-founder of Organize, an activist group that seeks widespread reform of the transplant industry, U.S. launches probe into possible fraud by organ collection groups, *Washington Post, February 26, 2024

February 20, 2024

“One of the few guarantees in life is that it will never turn out the way we expect, but, rather than let the events in our lives define who we are, we can make the decision to define the possibilities in our lives.”

Dr. Brooke Ellison, Brooke Ellison, Prominent Disability Rights Advocate, Is Dead at 45, *New York Times, February 13, 2024 (updated)

“In 1990 we were living in a time when people in situations like my own were not necessarily embraced by society, and the path towards understanding was only beginning to be forged.

“I didn’t want people to focus on what I had lost in my life, but rather on what I still had in my life.

“Thankfully, my accident did not rob me of my ability to think, reason or remain a vital part of society. My body would not respond, but my mind and my heart were just the same as they had always been.”

Dr. Brooke Ellison, Brooke Ellison, Prominent Disability Rights Advocate, Is Dead at 45, *New York Times, February 13, 2024 (updated)

[Florida State Senator Colleen] Burton’s proposal would make it impossible to sue the [assisted living] facilities’ “passive investors” — companies or people that might own the facility but are not involved in its day-to-day operations.

Assisted living facilities are increasingly owned by real estate investors, which have been accused of prioritizing profits over care, The Washington Post reported in December.

Florida could make it harder to sue polluters, assisted living owners (*Tampa Bay Times, February 18, 2024)

“You see a lot of people with symptoms — you don’t know if they have covid or influenza or RSV — but in all three of those cases, they probably shouldn’t be at Target, coughing, and looking sick.”

Eli Perencevich, an internal medicine professor at the University of Iowa, CDC plans to drop five-day covid isolation guidelines, *Washington Post, February 13, 2024

“It becomes a question of ‘When do we start to plan our lives as if this is not going to go away?’ If every hope is put on a cure, what happens if the illness doesn’t go away?”

John S. Rolland, an adjunct professor of psychiatry at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and author of “Helping Couples and Families Navigate Illness and Disability”, How long covid takes a toll on relationships and intimacy, *Washington Post, February 13, 2024

“It’s not necessarily about overcoming the physical barriers; it’s about overcoming the psychological ones.”

Sam Williams, age 51, who has long Covid, How long covid takes a toll on relationships and intimacy, *Washington Post, February 13, 2024

“We know smoking is bad in multiple ways. We’ve added a new layer of understanding of how it can have negative health consequences. t’s never a good time to start smoking. But if you are a smoker, the best time to stop is now.”

Darragh Duffy, the Institute Pasteur, Smoking impairs immune response, even after quitting, new study says, STAT News, February 14, 2024

With U.S. health care consuming $4.5 trillion annually and adult life expectancy lagging that of 56 other countries, we must find a better way to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Art Kellermann, health policy researcher, former medical school dean, and former CEO of an academic health system, The health care system is ignoring world’s most promising approach to preventing cardiovascular disease, STAT News, February 14, 2024

The medical community now favors language that separates people from their conditions. But mine is central to who I am.

Linda Nelson, I am a diabetic — not ‘a person with diabetes’, Boston Globe, January 19, 2024 (updated)

“Routine influenza vaccination is an important component of the evidence-based practice in patients with cardiovascular disease, but like many other cardiovascular treatments, deep implementation gaps exist.”

Ankeet S. Bhatt, M.D., chair of the TRANSFORM VAX project steering committee, Veradigm, American College of Cardiology kick off flu shot campaign for heart disease patients (Fierce Pharma, February 14, 2024)

“We’re trying to get at Steward for what they’ve done here, but they’ve been very cagey. They’ve used some very creative financing and this whole private equity model is very slippery and ill-defined. This is sort of triage, ironically.”

U.S. Congressman Stephen Lynch, U.S. Rep. Lynch: Financing deal is ‘not enough’ to keep all Steward hospitals open, WBUR, February 16, 2024

“A hundred and twenty-three million people in this country are over 50. And we’re tired of the ‘Damn, you’re old’ cards.”

Jan Golden, creator of the Age-Friendly Vibes greeting card line, The Language Battle Is Now Coming for…Your Birthday Card? (*Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2024 (updated))

I think of memory more like a painting than a photograph. There are often photorealistic aspects of a painting, but there’s also interpretation. As a painter evolves, they could revisit the same subject over and over and paint differently based on who they are now. We’re capable of remembering things in extraordinary detail, but we infuse meaning into what we remember. We’re designed to extract meaning from the past, and that meaning should have truth in it. But it also has knowledge and imagination and, sometimes, wisdom.

Charan Ranganath, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Davis, A Leading Memory Researcher Explains How to Make Precious Moments Last, *New York Times, February 2, 2024

“Hospice is not giving up,”  even if it means “accepting our mortality.”

Mollie Gurian, vice president of Leading Age, Advocates hope Jimmy Carter’s endurance in hospice care drives awareness (Politico, February 18, 2024)

“Where is the money going? That is what we need to find out. These nursing homes are saying they can’t pay their workers more than the $15.69 an hour minimum wage and they can’t pay medical benefits. And, so, when we do not hire the appropriate amount of people to take care of our residents, it hurts. It hurts the workers because they are overworked. I saw one case where one CNA had to cover 80 residents for an eight-hour period.”

Connecticut State Rep. Jane Garibay, Aging Committee Co-Chair, Aging Committee Co-Chair Garibay Questions Private Equity Ownership of Nursing Homes, Praises Bipartisan Cooperation (CT Examiner, February 18, 2024)

We increase our risk of cardiac events and speed up cognitive decline, studies show, if we believe getting older is a time of suffering and diminution. More important, the opposite is also true: Those of us who view later life as a time of growth and vitality are more likely to stay healthy and to keep senility at bay.

My Mother Got on a Bike. It Changed Her Life. New York Times (free access), February 17, 2024

Companies bought by private equity firms are far more likely to go bankrupt than companies that aren’t. Over the last decade, private equity firms were responsible for nearly 600,000 job losses in the retail sector alone. In nursing homes, where the firms have been particularly active, private equity ownership is responsible for an estimated — and astounding — 20,000 premature deaths over a 12-year period, according to a recent working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Similar tales of woe abound in mobile homes, prison health care, emergency medicine, ambulances, apartment buildings and elsewhere. Yet private equity and its leaders continue to prosper, and executives of the top firms are billionaires many times over.

Private Equity Is Gutting America — and Getting Away With It, New York Times (free access), April 28, 2023

“Ninety is the new 60. I’ve got several great friends in their 100s.”

Muriel Fox, one of the founders of the modern women’s movement, How 90 Became the New 60, New York Times (free access), April 12, 2023

February 13, 2024

“Critics of the current policy argue that estate recovery can reinforce cycles of poverty and prevent families from creating generational wealth, since the process often forces the sale of the deceased member’s home to pay off Medicaid-related debt. . . While MassHealth has made reforms in recent years to reduce the burden of estate recovery on impacted members and families, more can be done.”

From the report, Holding on to Home: A Primer on MassHealth Estate Recovery and Options for Reducing its Impact on Members and Families, Report Calls For MassHealth Estate Recovery Reforms, State House News Service, February 7, 2024

“Something doesn’t add up, and it’s well past time for the Legislature to be asking questions and taking action. Rather than allowing millions of taxpayer dollars to continue to pay for temporary workers who don’t know the residents they are serving, the Legislature should be insisting that these dollars be used to increase the pay and benefits for permanent staff members.”

John Hale, a consultant and advocate for Iowa seniors, Bill would cap payments from nursing homes and hospitals to temp agencies (Iowa Capital Dispatch, February 6, 2024)

“When it comes to disability, people think, ‘Ooh, that’s scary’ or ‘I’m going to say the wrong thing, so I better not even go near that…’ So, I just say, you have to start the journey and keep learning…It’s not about just getting it right. It’s actually about messing up, too. Because if you’re not making mistakes, how are you moving forward?

Sarah Napoli, Learning Services Director, New Road to Disability Inclusion stories are now available (The Disability & Philanthropy Forum, February 8, 2024)

“A hospital is no place to be sick.”

Samuel Goldwyn, Remote Patient Monitoring: A Leading Anchor of the ‘Hospital-at-Home’ Paradigm  (The American Journal of Medicine, October 23, 2023)

“We leave a lot to the whims of the market and allow private players to dictate access to and quality of health care, and the case of Help at Home is a great example of that. At the end of the day, it’s about money, and if we don’t have guardrails in our policies to prevent these pullouts, they’re going to keep happening.”

Mary Bugbee, senior research and campaign coordinator for health care at the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, a research and advocacy group, Private Equity’s Growing Footprint In Home Health Care Draws Scrutiny (Disability Scoop, February 8, 2024)

“I think discrimination as a wide is a major problem, and that our fair housing laws are there to protect individuals and individuals in protected classes, but that oftentimes those laws get ignored.”

Jessica Drew, senior attorney with the Greater Boston Legal Services, Massachusetts couple facing threat of eviction from mobile home park over handicapped ramp, WCVB, February 10, 2024 (updated)

“People in blue zones aren’t consciously trying to live a long time; instead, their longevity is a product of their environment.”

Dan Buettner, “Blue Zones” Author Dan Buettner Shares the Secrets to a Long and Healthy Life (Brain & Life, February / March 2024)

“He was just so dedicated to finding someone. And he actually met his girlfriend on Dateability. They happen to live in the same city. She’s also on the autism spectrum and they’re at the same place on the spectrum, so they’re just such a good match.”

Alexa Child, co-developer of Dateability, Meet the Sisters Who Co-Founded a Dating App for People With Disabilities, Nice News, February 10, 2024

“The COVID pandemic resulted in some of the most acute-care issues in nursing homes and congregate care settings. That’s why we are focusing on strengthening industry standards.”

Governor Ned Lamont (CT), Governor aims to post more nursing home data, pay providers incentives, McKnights Long-Term Care News, February 12, 2024

“We are not in a financial position to commit to financing anything to bail these people out  [Steward Health System].”

House Speaker Ron Mariano, Top House Dems Rule Out Steward Bailout (State House News, February 8, 2024)

“There are no happy tomorrows in this situation.”

Joseph Drolet, 79, husband of Rebecca, 71 who was in a nursing home and is now in a hospice, When a Spouse Goes to the Nursing Home, New York Times (free access), February 3, 2024

“Too often, institutionalization is thought of as the end of family caregiving. It’s not.” In fact, shouldering the new tasks of overseeing care, advocating on behalf of the resident and monitoring the staff means that “in some ways, there’s a chance of substituting one set of challenges for another.”

Dr. Jospeh Gaugler, a gerontologist at the University of Minnesota, When a Spouse Goes to the Nursing Home, New York Times (free access), February 3, 2024

“The prescription drug reforms in this law mark the most substantial changes to the Medicare D program since the drug benefit launched in 2006.”

Tricia Neuman, senior vice president of KFF, If You’re on Medicare, You Could Save Money on Drugs This Year, New York Times (free access), February 4, 2024

“I hate the notion of anybody ripping off Medicare. So many of us rely on it. It’s just plain ethically wrong.”

Linda Hennis, whose Medicare account was fraudulently charged for $12,000 worth of catheters, Staggering Rise in Catheter Bills Suggests Medicare Scam, *New York Times, February 9, 2024

“Each person was trapped in a world of their own fantasy. I learned validation from the people with whom I worked. I learned that they have the wisdom to survive by returning to the past.”

Naomi, Feil, Naomi Feil, Who Promoted Empathy as a Response to Dementia, Dies at 91 (*New York Times, January 24, 2024)

February 6, 2024

More than anything, nursing home care relies on having adequate staff to meet the needs of residents, including help to get dressed, bathe, and eat their meals, as well as complex medical needs. There is no way around the foundational need of having enough qualified staff to deliver high-quality care.

David C. Grabowski, professor in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School and David G. Stevenson,  professor and the chair of the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Why the debate over proposed nursing home staff minimums is particularly unproductive, STAT News, February 5, 2024

“It’s not because there wasn’t enough demand” for home care services. “There were thousands of people either waitlisted, or not receiving the services that had been certified as they needed. So, since they weren’t able to hire people, they cut the budget.”

Sen. Patricia Jehlen, Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, Advocates Aim to Demystify Home Care Rates, Wages, State House News, January 30, 2024

Bear Mountain is not the only one-star nursing home in Massachusetts. Residents deserve better.

Bear Mountain nursing home report alleges neglect, overmedication, *Boston Globe, January 31, 2024

“It gets to the point where the [long-term care] system is basically broken. The state is really going to have to look at putting a lot of resources in to get this system back in shape.”

James Lomastro, PhD, Dignity Alliance Massachusetts Coordinating Committee member, Disturbing conditions at a Worcester nursing home prompt questions of state oversight, *Boston Globe, January 31, 2024

“I am not here to be pitied and I am not a victim. Is that clear?”

Ryan J. Haddad, who has cerebral palsy and is the lead performer in “Dark Disabled Stories”, ‘Dark Disabled Stories’ Review: When the World Isn’t Built for You, *New York Times, March 9, 2023

“I’m a very old lady. I decided that you don’t need to do as much when you’re going to be 99.”

Former child piano prodigy Ruth Slenczynska, announcing her intention to no  longer perform or teach, Rachmaninoff’s last living piano student lives in Pa. She’s 99. *Washington Post, February 3, 2024

 Tyler Parish thinks of himself as “the last dinosaur.”

If he had been born decades earlier with the same genes, he would not have had access to the medical care and technology that allowed him to see his 43rd birthday.

But if he had been born today with access to gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy, he might have been able to walk without assistance. He might have been able to live a life without fear of impending medical catastrophe.

When a Cure Comes Too Late, New York Times, January 31, 2024

Where is the line between pathology and human variability, and who gets to decide which diseases need fixing?

When a Cure Comes Too Late, New York Times, January 31, 2024

 “We know that Covid is continuing to cause thousands of hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths in this country each week [a]nd 50% added protection against Covid-19 is really going to be a meaningful increase in protection, especially for those at highest risk.”

Link-Gelles, the vaccine effectiveness program lead in the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Updated Covid vaccine has 54% effectiveness, new data suggest, STAT News, February 1, 2024

“While RAC [Recovery Audit Contractor] audits practically halted during the COVID-19 pandemic, activity has picked up substantially following the end of the public health emergency.”

Attorney Amy Fouts, The RAC is back, increasing scrutiny in a complex nursing home audit environment (McKnights Long-Term Care News, February 5, 2024)

“Friends encourage us to live healthier lives and are the first to let us know when we need to get help, whether it is from a doctor or therapist. Yet it may be just as important to nurture these relationships as it is to exercise, eat nutritious foods and get a good night’s sleep.”

Irene Levine, a psychologist, ‘Face-to-face, hip-to-hip’ friendships help us live longer – so let’s prioritize them (The Guardian, February 2, 2024)

“Staff have to divide their time between boarding patients and regular patients. You see the ER becoming a parking lot.”

Eugene Litvak, adjunct professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Emergency patients in Boston are waiting longer than ever for care, *Boston Globe, February 5, 2024

 At 4:30 am one day in November, 2023, 60 very ill patients waited in Brigham’s emergency department to be moved to inpatient beds. Another 30 patients were in the waiting room with one triage nurse on duty.

Safety report filed by a nurse with the Massachusetts Nurses Association, Emergency patients in Boston are waiting longer than ever for care, *Boston Globe, February 5, 2024

 “For years, Publicis Health’s marketing schemes helped fuel the nationwide opioid crisis, which has shattered some of our most vulnerable communities, while creating significant financial strain on our state systems. I am proud of my team’s national leadership in securing this settlement, which will not only bolster accountability and transparency for this ongoing crisis but will also provide millions of dollars for much needed treatment and services to support individuals and families across Massachusetts.”

Attorney General Andrea Campbell, AG Campbell Announces $350 Million Settlement With Multinational Marketing Firm Publicis Health Over Role In Opioid Epidemic, Office of the Attorney General, February 1, 2024

January 30, 2024

“Improving transparency, quality, and accountability in assisted living is not only a matter of public interest but a moral imperative. Now more than ever, federal action is needed to ensure that older Americans receive the care and support they deserve while fostering a system that promotes transparency and accountability within the industry.”

Richard Mollot, Keeping the Promise to American Seniors & Families (Long Term Care Community Coalition, January 25, 2024)

[Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition] argued the absence of a national standard of care and a comparative database like those provided by Medicare will continue to invite investments from “sophisticated private enterprises who can shuffle around resources and take profits with little regard for the promises made to seniors and their families.” 

“We know that when [private equity] comes into a sector, they often pillage it,” he said. 

Assisted living facilities fall short when caring for aging US population, witnesses tell senators, The Hill, January 25, 2024

“Assisted living facilities are governed by a patchwork of state laws without any meaningful federal oversight. This has gone on long enough without oversight, and Congress must look at ways to improve accountability, transparency and quality of care in assisted living facilities.”

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senators ask for federal study of assisted living, seek consumer feedback, ponder oversight, McKnights Senior Living, January 26, 2024

“We have an obligation to ensure that all Americans have access to the quality care they need to age with dignity. Unfortunately, what I heard today makes clear that we have a long way to go when it comes to guaranteeing the level of care that older Americans in assisted living facilities deserve. We must do better by the residents of these facilities and their families and ensure that safe and affordable care are widely available.”

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senators ask for federal study of assisted living, seek consumer feedback, ponder oversight, McKnights Senior Living, January 26, 2024 

One should read this investigative journalist’s account of Steward’s behavior. For example, Steward CEO Ralph de la Torre bought himself a $40 million yacht using Steward dividends, a compelling symbol of all that has gone wrong with the leadership of Steward. It is now clear that many parts of state government oversight failed here. We need an honest account of how this happened and how to avoid this from happening again. 

Some thoughts on how to deal with the Steward situation (CommonWealth Beacon, January 23, 2024)

“It’s clear that Steward executives put profits over patients and went to great lengths to hide critical information about its financial status from state officials, jeopardizing quality health care for the people of Massachusetts . . .My primary concern is the thousands of patients who face threats to care and the front-line health care workers whose jobs are at risk,”

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Warren points to for-profit motives for Steward financial failings, *Boston Globe, January 29, 2024

Prioritizing patients. It’s a simple but important mission that seems to have been forgotten by the bean counters and investors who sliced and diced Steward up over the years and brought a linchpin of the region’s health care system to the breaking point.

Could Mass General Brigham be a savior amid the Steward Health Care financial mess? (*Boston Globe, January 29, 2024)

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, it reasserted the idea that nonprofit hospitals should provide substantial benefits to communities in exchange for their tax exemptions. That hasn’t happened. . .Yet a lack of oversight has meant that hospitals have rarely faced penalties for noncompliance.

Nonprofit hospitals have an obligation to help their communities, but the people who live nearby may see little benefit, The Conversation, January 29, 2024

 “These housing projects are a great example of why we expanded the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit in our tax cuts bill. From a church transformed into mixed-use mixed-income housing in Boston to the re-use of a vacant nursing home as affordable rental housing in Northampton, these funds will make it possible for thousands of Massachusetts residents to afford a home.”

Governor Maura Healey, Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces New Affordable Housing Development Across the State (Office of Governor Maura Healey / Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, January 22, 2024)

 “I suspect [the city of Waltham] doesn’t want to do much of anything with the [former Fernald School]  property. It’s time to consider sale to a nonprofit or private developer, contingent on protection of historic buildings and the cemetery that remains there. We desperately need market rate and affordable dwellings in greater Boston. A smart plan would preserve the beauty of the site and still provide housing for human beings.”

State Senator Michael Barrett, Fernald School: Waltham is letting a historic property fall apart, *Boston Globe, January 29, 2024

The direct care workforce is tremendously diverse and in high demand, but challenges that include low pay, minimal training, and reduced job quality must be addressed if we are to strengthen the workforce to accommodate the needs of a growing population of older adults  with disability.

Opportunities for Strengthening the Workforce (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Winter 2024)

“The facility failed to take measures to ensure security of the residents and staff during the evacuation. The failures jeopardized the health and safety for all residents and staff.”

From the Deficiency Report issued by the Missouri Department of Public Health regarding Northview Village, Report rips massive nursing home for lacking safety procedures during abrupt shutdown, McKnights Long-Term Care News, January 26, 2024

 In FY 2025, [enrollment] unwinding will be less of a factor driving changes in Medicaid enrollment and spending; however, state revenue declines may dampen enthusiasm for ongoing investments in Medicaid and could prompt spending reductions.

Medicaid and State Financing: What to Watch in Upcoming State Budget Debates, KFF, January 22, 2024

HUD recently released new data finding that over 650,000 people were experiencing homelessness on a single night in January 2023, with people of color overrepresented. This is an unprecedented level of homelessness — never before seen in HUD’s annual Point-in-Time count — and it reflects a 12 percent increase over 2022.

Added Funding Needed to Prevent Harmful Cuts to Housing Vouchers and Other Rental Assistance Programs in 2024, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, January 23, 2024

 [New York Governor Kathy] Hochul says long-term care for elderly and disabled New Yorkers is contributing to outsized growth in Medicaid spending that’s set to exceed statutory limits, in part because of the aging population. Medicaid, the joint state and federal program, pays for health care for some 7.6 million low-income New Yorkers.

Gov. Hochul aims to cut pay for home caregivers in program used by 200,000 NYers, Gothamist, January 26, 2024

“Why would you come into my house, clean my house, clean my person and deal with my bowel and bladder care for less than what they’re paying you now?”

Jose Hernandez, a resident of the Bronx, NY who is a quadriplegic and relies on four caregivers through New York’s Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, Gov. Hochul aims to cut pay for home caregivers in program used by 200,000 NYers, Gothamist, January 26, 2024

 If you’ve been hesitating about getting your updated Covid vaccination, you might want to put your heebie-jeebies front and center on the exam table at your next medical visit. They’re due for a checkup.

My Patients Used to Be Enthusiastic About the Covid Vaccine. What Changed?, New York Times (free access), January 27, 2024

“Something of that magnitude can change the character of the town. If the developer decided to put 108 units of low-income housing, that’s going to be a major strain onto the town.”

Rob Roy, expressing concerns regarding the redevelopment of the former Belchertown State Hospital property, Residents seek answers to big housing development at old Belchertown State Hospital (Daily Hampshire Gazette, January 26, 2024)

 “That doesn’t mean that the government can’t do great things. It can. It just means that when you’re thinking about the impact of government activities and new spending, you have to deal with those [factors]. You have to say: we can’t create tens of thousands of new jobs because we have about as many jobs as we can have.”

Evan Horowitz, executive director at the Center for State Policy Analysis at Tufts University, Analysis of Healey housing bill called ‘half-baked’, CommonWealth Beacon, January 26, 2024

January 25, 2024

Private equity acquisition was associated with increased hospital-acquired adverse events, including falls and central line–associated bloodstream infections.

Changes in Hospital Adverse Events and Patient Outcomes Associated With Private Equity Acquisition, JAMA Network, December 26, 2023

“I think that’s one of the most powerful arguments that the industry has used to scare policymakers and senators and other decision-makers, and it’s really disconnected if you think about it. When you actually look at the data, and you look at the homes closing, it’s really because they’re just bad homes providing bad care, and they can’t fill their beds so they’re just closing down.”

Sam Brooks, director of public policy, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, Data shows nursing home closure often linked to care issues, Roll Call, January 18, 2024

“If we don’t know where the dollars went and there’s no accountability, it is really hard for us to say the reason for . . . closures is that they didn’t get enough reimbursement or money here.”

Andrea Earl, associate state director of advocacy and outreach for AARP Texas, Data shows nursing home closure often linked to care issues, Roll Call, January 18, 2024

“There’s a corresponding interest that we have in preservation and growth of Medicare. Medicare has changed lives all for the better. I was actually able to do something that was unheard of, I successfully amended an entitlement program and the amendment went like this; If you’re 65 or older and you have an opiate addiction, you now qualify for Medicare.”

Congressman Richard Neal, Congressman Richard Neal honored by Dignity Alliance of Massachusetts, 22WWLP.COM, January 22, 2024

“The evidence from Florida indicates that minimum staffing requirements do make a difference in staffing levels, as prior AARP reports have shown.”

AARP Report, ‘Concerning’ Link Found Between Reduced Nursing Home Staffing Hours and Hospitalizations, Skilled Nursing News, January 17, 2024

“Having a cognitive or intellectual disability shouldn’t stop people from having a voice when it matters most. One day you, a member of your family or a close friend may need decision-making support. When that happens, you’ll be glad that [supportive decision  making] is an option.”

Jonathan Gardner, co-chair of the Massachusetts Supported Decision-Making Coalition, I’m an adult with autism. I built a team to help me make decisions (WBUR Cognoscenti, January 18, 2024)

“Transparency is really a democracy issue. If you can’t see how your lawmakers are voting or who is influencing them, never mind if you don’t have enough notice to testify at a hearing, how are you supposed to meaningfully participate in the lawmaking process? The Sunlight Act would go a long way toward opening up our state government to the voices of everyday people. Today is a great day for our movement.”

Act on Mass Executive Director Erin Leahy, Sunlight Act On Move, Targeting Legislature And Governor (State House News, January 24, 2024)

“Your aging anxiety used to take place in the privacy of your own home or maybe with a very close friend or family member. Now it happens on TikTok, with an audience.”

Renee Engeln, psychology professor at Northwestern University and the director of the Body and Media Lab, Why Does Gen Z Believe It’s ‘Aging Like Milk’? (New York Times (free access), January 23, 2024)

You see, when firms like Cerberus do business, it’s often “heads I win, tails you lose.”

The hound from hell, *Boston Globe, January 22, 2024

“Affordability continues to be a major challenge for Massachusetts residents and their loved ones seeking long-term care, and my office will continue to hold accountable those who seek to take advantage in an already fragile and high-cost system.”

Attorney General Andrea Campbell, AG Campbell Announces Settlements With Three Temporary Nurse Staffing Agencies For Overcharging Long-Term Care Facilities, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, January 19, 2024

January 18, 2024

“Whenever you make something easier for one community, you’re making it easier for everyone. If you invest in us, we will invest back. But also, if you invest in us, you really invest in everyone. You can only win by making your product more accessible.”

Xian Horn, a disability advocate and beauty consultant, How Cosmetic Brands Are Creating More Accessible Makeup, Brain and Life, December 2023 / January 2024

“Rising housing costs are impacting people across Massachusetts, especially our older residents,” said. “By reserving these new homes for those age 55 and older and making the majority of them affordable, we’re sending a message that we value our long-time Massachusetts residents and want them to stay in the state they helped make a great place to live.” 

Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces Conversion of Former State Hospital into a 141-Unit Housing Development, Office of Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, December 14, 2023

“Walnut Street is an example of the enormous potential for utilizing state-owned land to build more housing for Massachusetts residents, but it is also an example of where we can do better. The process for disposing of surplus state land for important uses like housing has, in the past, taken too long. The Affordable Homes Act proposed by the Healey-Driscoll Administration would create paths to streamline the disposition of properties like this.”  

Ed Augustus, Secretary of Housing and Livable Communities, , Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces Conversion of Former State Hospital into a 141-Unit Housing Development, Office of Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, December 14, 2023

In addition to these important issues affecting wheelchair users, which lawmakers should resolve, the problem points to a larger issue affecting many aspects of health care: the growing involvement of private equity.

The Editorial Board, Scrutinize private equity’s involvement in health care, *Boston Globe, January 17, 2024

One of the blessings of age is that most of us get along with ourselves better than when we were young.

Age makes the miracles easier to see ,*Washington Post, January 17, 2024

“‘Anti-aging’ are toxic, horrible words that are fed to us from a young age to make us think that aging is awful and aging is a privilege. It’s where your power is, it’s where your strength lies.”

Brands find a new way to reach many consumers: Older women, *Washington Post, January 16, 2024

Private equity-linked insurers “are shifting assets from staid, more traditional investments to riskier, more opaque, more complex and more illiquid ones. That combination raises concerns”.

Patrick Woodall, a senior fellow at Americans for Financial Reform, Private Equity’s Move Into Insurance Provokes Systemic-Risk Concerns, *Wall Street Journal Pro, January 4, 2024

“What has been less understood is how much of this new capital that private equity is getting is coming from the acquisition of insurance companies, and then in turn, insurance companies buying up a lot of the assets that private equity tends to originate. It’s almost like you have this circular financing scheme that has been created now with private equity and insurance.”

Andrew Park, senior policy analyst for Americans for Financial Reform, Private equity stake in life insurers draws new round of critical reports, (Insurance Newsnet, January 9, 2024

“The group of patients who were using hearing aids regularly had a 24% lower risk of mortality compared to the group who never use hearing aids.” Meaning, the participants who were in the habit of wearing hearing aids were significantly less likely to die early.

Dr. Janet Choi, an otolaryngologist with Keck Medicine, University of Southern California, Hearing aids may boost longevity, study finds. But only if used regularly, All Things Considered – Shots, January 4, 2024

Framed another way, it’s as if the United States entered middle age in 2023. For better or worse, we may be experiencing some of the angst that accompanies such a transition.

5 U.S. Facts and Trends in 2023 That You Should Know, Population Reference Bureau, January 4, 2024

January 9, 2024

Gov. Maura Healey and her budget team hit the reset button Monday, announcing a plan to cut $375 million from the current year’s budget amid flagging tax collections, to downgrade the amount of tax revenue expected this budget year by $1 billion, and to build the next state spending plan on the assumption that even less tax revenue will come in next year.

Healey Resets Budget Outlook with Spending Cuts, Downgraded Forecast, *State House News Bureau, January 8, 2024

“The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die.”

Senator Ted Kennedy, FY 2023 Annual Report, Massachusetts Permanent Commission on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, October 18, 2023

“While many of [Rhode Island’s] non-profit homes have exceeded safe staffing requirements, the majority of for-profit nursing homes continue to rack up massive profits while crying wolf about safe staffing fines. Instead of giving nursing home owners free rein, it is critical that all stakeholders work together to hold nursing homes accountable to providing safe, dignified care.”

Jesse Martin, Executive Vice President of SEIU 1199NE and member of Raise the Bar on Resident Care Coalition, Union Blasts McKee for Suspending Penalties and Siding With For-Profit Nursing Homes, GoLocalProv News, January 1, 2024

Without Improvements in wages and living conditions, we will always be faced with the scourge of epidemics and pandemics. We will repeat the mistakes of the past and create panic and chaos as we face the unknown.

Dr. Joe Amaral, former President of RI Hospital, the Founder of Tipping Point Healthcare Innovation, and the Chief Medical/Science Advisor at Venture Investors, Nursing Homes: A Western World Tragedy – Dr. Joe Amaral, GoLocalProv News, May 29, 2020

Over the last decade, private equity firms have spent nearly $1 trillion on close to 8,000 health care deals, snapping up practices that provide care from cradle to grave: fertility clinics, neonatal care, primary care, cardiology, hospices, and everything in between.

Private equity is buying up health care, but the real problem is why doctors are selling, The Hill, December 31, 2023

Workers ages 75 and older are the fastest-growing age group in the workforce, more than quadrupling in size since 1964, according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center. The trend will continue: Workforce participation among people 75 and older will reach 11.7% by 2030 from 8.9% in 2020, according to projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How to Work—and Love It—Into Your 80s and Beyond, *Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2023

Like others who have remained engaged in their careers in their later years, [Gladys McGarey] says the secret is to find things that make life important and our “hearts sing.”
“I think that is our key,” she says.

How to Work—and Love It—Into Your 80s and Beyond, *Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2023

“Think as if your car broke down and you couldn’t rent a car. Well, you can’t get out of bed. And then if you can’t get out of bed, not only is it emotionally despairing, but physically people get skin breakdown, then they have to go to the hospital where they’ll spend weeks, months, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Chris Hoeh, a DignityMA participant and who serves as the Vice Chair on the Personal Care Attendant Workforce Council, commenting on why the wheelchair repair bill is needed, Senate Approves New Protections For Wheelchair Users; State House News Service; January 5, 2024

Joe [Tringali’s] staunch, strategic, gentle yet unwavering advocacy was dedicated to health care and personal care advances, housing accessibility, an end to the state’s draconian estate recovery law, and more.
Our team worked very, very closely with him on both spouses as caregivers and estate recovery, bills that we’re going to fight like hell to pass this year, in Joe’s honor. . .
Joe’s work was felt statewide and also here at home where his advocacy in the Connecticut River Valley led to the development of a program to help fund suitable ramps in homes to allow people to remain in their communities.

State Senator Jo Comerford, Facebook post

Joe (Tringali] was with me through the years. Sometimes in person, like serving on my Disability Rights Advisory Council or at events in Western MA; sometimes by email (especially when there was an important policy position or issue he wanted me to know about).
I will remember Joe’s fantastic wit, his relentless energy (even if he was pushing through a hard time), and especially, all that he taught me about what we need to do so that people can live independently.

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, Facebook post

“I do not want to die like that. This is about me taking control of my life. I want you to write about this after I’m gone, because not enough people know about this option, even when it’s available.”

Julie Petrow-Cohen speaking to her brother, Steven Petrow, I Promised My Sister I Would Write About How She Chose to Die(New York Times (free access), December 28, 2023

For most middle-income people approaching retirement, the primary source of wealth isn’t home equity or retirement savings. It’s Social Security benefits.

Teresa Ghilarducci, an economist at the New School for Social Research, The Income Gap Jeopardizing Retirement for Millions, New York Times (free access), January 6, 2024

If you had to pick one healthy practice for longevity, “do some version of physical activity. If you can’t do that, then focus on being positive.”

Dr. Alison Moore, professor of medicine and the chief of geriatrics, gerontology and palliative care at the University of California, San Diego, Ignore the hyperbaric chambers and infrared light: These are the evidence-backed secrets to aging well., New York Times (free access), January 4, 2024

Retirees don’t miss working, they miss the people.

An 85-year Harvard study on happiness found the No. 1 retirement challenge that ‘no one talks about’, CNBC, March 10, 2023

January 2, 2024

“Too many seniors and families accept substandard care and inhumane conditions because their nursing home tells them that they cannot afford to hire more staff. This study [United States’ Nursing Home Finances: Spending, Profitability, and Capital Structure] provides important evidence showing that nursing homes get plenty of money, they are just not being held accountable for using it appropriately.”

Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition and a co-author of the study, United States’ Nursing Home Finances: Spending, Profitability, and Capital Structure, Sage Journals, December 19, 2023

Health care is “the only business that doesn’t reward for quality care. All we reward for is volume. Do more, and you’re going to get more money.”

Dr. Michael Imburgia, a Louisville cardiologist, America’s epidemic of chronic illness is killing us too soon, Washington Post (free access), October 3, 2023

In 1900, life expectancy at birth in the United States was 47 years. . .Then came a century that saw life expectancy soar beyond the biblical standard of “threescore years and ten”. . . The rise of life expectancy became the ultimate proof of societal progress in 20th century America. Decade by decade, the number kept climbing, and by 2010, the country appeared to be marching inexorably toward the milestone of 80. It never got there.

America’s epidemic of chronic illness is killing us too soon, Washington Post (free access), October 3, 2023

Immunizing people to reduce the spread of disease is perhaps one of the easiest and most beneficial of these measures. Polio, measles, diphtheria, smallpox, and yes, COVID. These are some of the immunizations that not only benefit individuals, but also benefit society.
Many of the COVID hospitalizations and deaths are avoidable through immunization. All of society pays a cost for these avoidable hospitalizations. Healthcare workers are needlessly put at risk. Insurance and Medicare expenses are unnecessarily high. The human toll on families and friends is high, and often avoidable. . .
This is a social contract issue. People’s ignorance and superstition should not trump the public good.

Theodore S. Widlanski, What government can do about dismal nursing home vaccination rates (Washington Post (free access), December 27, 2023)

When I get together with old friends, our first ritual is an “organ recital” — how’s your back? knee? heart? hip? shoulder? eyesight? hearing? prostate? hemorrhoids? digestion? The recital can run — and ruin — an entire lunch.

Robert Reich, A holiday question: How old is too old?, Substack, December 25, 2023

“Just try, dear. So many people are old at 60. They just want to sit all day. You won’t make it to 90 like that. You have to try.”. . . “Age is just another bother attempting to convince you of the impossible in a world absolutely blooming with possibilities.”

New York Times writer Richard Morgan’s 93-year-old grandmother, At 93, Teaching Me About Possibility, New York Times (free access), December 22, 2023

Hospitals and health insurers once made money in order to provide health care. Now, hospitals and health insurers provide health care in order to make money.

Robert Reich, How private equity is destroying the labors of love, Substack, August 11, 2023

“I’m trying to keep my patients alive. What does it mean for the role of the physician, as healer, as bringer of hope, to be offering death? And what does it mean in practice?”

Dr. John Maher, a psychiatrist in Barrie, Ontario, Death by Doctor May Soon Be Available for the Mentally Ill in Canada, *New York Times, December 27, 2023

The concept of vulnerability is intricately tied to health justice. Vulnerability is heightened when social and structural determinants of health interact to create power imbalances that inhibit people’s ability to exert agency over their own health, protect themselves, and influence decision makers.

The Health Justice Policy Tracker: COVID-19 Policies to Advance Health Justice for Vulnerable Populations, Health Affairs, December 2023