In the News

Study: Home Health Physical Therapy Decreases Opioid Use After THA, TKA

Researchers found that both physical and occupational therapy led to quicker discontinuation of opioids.

For patients who undergo total knee or total hip arthroplasty, physical or occupational therapy delivered in the home health setting can reduce the length of time a patient takes opioids for pain by as much as 1.15 times for THA and 1.10 times for TKA, according to a new study that analyzed data from nearly 10,000 Medicare beneficiaries. Researchers also analyzed demographic variables and found correlations that they believe could help inform care for this population.

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The 4th Annual Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day (OAMHAD) SYMPOSIUM

Thursday, May 6th, 2021 | 8AM – 3:15PM MT

This event is designed as a public discussion on the topics of mental health and aging, specifically related to the prevention, treatment, and recovery support options and solutions for older adults with mental health or substance use disorders. Registration is free: https://connect.ncoa.org/oamhad

 

Study Underway to Determine if Vaccines Prevent Transmission

At a White House news briefing on Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, MD said, "We hope that within the next 5 or so months, we'll be able answer the very important question about whether vaccinated people get infected asymptomatically," he said, "and if they do, do they transmit the infection to others." Read more in Medscape.

 

Democrats Look at Lowering Medicare Eligibility Age in Healthcare Package

Wall Street Journal/March 30, 2021, By Stephanie Armour and Kristina Peterson

WASHINGTON—Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration are planning another round of healthcare initiatives that could include lowering the Medicare eligibility age, following their major expansion of the Affordable Care Act this year.
 
Democrats are still negotiating over which healthcare policy elements could be in the second of two spending programs the administration plans to unveil soon, according to congressional aides and industry groups.
 
The package is likely to contain measures to reduce drug prices and expand health coverage, lawmakers said. Proposals to expand Medicare eligibility from age 65 to 60 and to enable the federal government to negotiate drug prices in the health program for seniors—both of which President Biden supported on the campaign trail—are also likely to be included.
 
“We should lower the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 down to 60. There are many millions of seniors who would be very, very grateful if we did that right now,” Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) said Monday. He also said he hoped to expand Medicare to cover dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses, and to pay for those through savings from reduced drug prices for Medicare.
 
The healthcare proposals would face opposition from many Republicans and hospital groups, who say they could reduce the labor force because more people may retire early. Republicans also say they are reluctant to add to the nation’s $3 trillion budget deficit and that Medicare’s trust funds are already facing insolvency in coming years…

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CMS Holds Claims With Expectation Congress Will Avert Sequester Cuts

Inside Health Policy
By Michelle M. Stein / March 30, 2021 at 6:08 PM
 
CMS will hold Medicare claims “for a short period” after April 1 so that providers don’t see the 2% Medicare sequestration cuts go into effect before lawmakers take final action to extend the moratorium on those cuts.
 
“In anticipation of possible Congressional action to extend the 2% sequester reduction suspension, we instructed the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to hold all claims with dates of service on or after April 1, 2021, for a short period without affecting providers’ cash flow,” CMS said in a March 30 Medicare Learning Network announcement. “This will minimize the volume of claims the MACs must reprocess if Congress extends the suspension; the MACs will automatically reprocess any claims paid with the reduction applied if necessary.”
 
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