The Buzz

News on transforming care for older adults


    December1 st

    Since COVID-19 emerged, Americans have had a lot of time to think about what they want their life to be like, including what it means to age well and equitably. Watch three older adults who are thriving at home in community with the support of loved ones.

    This work is one example of how our communication partners give voice to issues of aging and support enhanced storytelling. Learn more.

    Building on lessons during COVID-19, a new National Academy of Medicine paper outlines priority actions and policy considerations for centering patients, families, and communities in health care delivery. Read a related report examining the care system’s pandemic response. 

    The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted many inefficiencies in the nation’s long-term care (LTC) system. A recent Health Affairs blog looks at the impact of payment policies on nursing facilities. Another discusses state approaches for stabilizing the direct care work force through American Rescue Plan Act funds.

    November17 th

    New research from Long-Term Quality Alliance (LTQA) and ATI Advisory offers insights and policy recommendations on Medicare Advantage (MA) nonmedical supplemental benefits. Learn about who is providing what services, and how the landscape has evolved.

    • Progress report – Delivering on the Promise of the CHRONIC Care Act: Progress in Implementing Nonmedical Supplemental Benefits
    • Policy brief – Delivering on the Promise of the CHRONIC Care Act: Policy Recommendations for the Biden Administration to Advance Nonmedical Supplemental Benefits
    • Webinar recording – Delivering on the Promise of the CHRONIC Care Act: The Future of Medicare Advantage Supplemental Benefits

    As we get older, the majority of us will need some nonmedical help to remain independent. Learn how our grantees are championing solutions to finance nonmedical needs and advance key Medicare-Medicaid flexibilities from the COVID-19 public health emergency.

    Our monthlong series explored aging and engaging with our health care and long-term care systems. We highlighted personal experiences of older Californians, consulted with experts, and captured visual summaries.

    The Forum culminated with a poem written in real time bringing us back to the heart of the matter: What do we mean by “aging well” and “aging equitably”? View all the Forum recordings and resources.

    Illustration created by graphic recorder Christopher Fuller of Griot's Eye Inc. This illustration summarizes the major themes and ideas that were discussed during The SCAN Foundation's 2021 Forum: Amplifying All Voices in Aging. The graphic is divided into four quadrants. The top left quadrant represents week 1: "Amplifying All Voices in Long-Term Services and Supports Systems Transformation: California State of the State" and some of the selected highlights are: 1) a simple icon representing the COVID-19 shape with white text that says, "COVID-19 has been challenging, but let's not waste the opportunity it gives us!" 2) Next to the COVID-19 drawing is a drawing of a pie with the word "equity" carved into it. Surrounding the pie is the text, "budget planning: Bake equity in!" 3) a drawing of a megaphone that announces, "bring in more voices!" Then in the top right quadrant, the artist has summarized week 2 "From Theory to Practice: Delivering Care for People with Complex Needs" with the following highlights: 1) a drawing of an open toolbox that is labeled "The complex care toolkit." The toolkit's features are listed as: "building blocks for training; guidelines for hiring and attitudes; and case studies." 2) A drawing of a woman's face with an accompanying word balloon that says, "I know, because I've been there." This drawing is headlined by the words, "empathy" and "value the lived experience." 3) a drawing of three people that represents a well-trained interdisciplinary, diverse, care team. The bottom left quadrant features illustrated highlights from week 3 "Transforming Medicare and Medicaid Beyond COVID-19 for a Person-Centered Future." Some of its highlights are: 1) A drawing showing a barn versus a city skyline with the header, "let's expand remote services beyond rural!" 2) A drawing of a nurse practitioner administering an IV with the header "Stabilize the workforce with people working above their license." 3) A drawing of a daughter and her older father having a video visit with a doctor. The header for this illustration is "Telehealth benefits all!" The bottom right quadrant is week 4 "A Future Vision for Aging Well and Equitably Beyond COVID: Reflections from Public Health, Media, and Technology Leaders." The artist has captured two main highlights from that session that both show the importance of storytelling. The first graphic shows a grandmother having a video visit on her computer with her grandchildren. This image is juxtaposed with an older homeless man holding a sign that says, "no food, no home, no water, no power, no wifi." Above their graphic is the header, "make stories personable!" And below the drawing is the words, "make broadband accessible!" The second graphic captured by the artist is a quote from the poem, "Ode to Aging Well and Equitably" by Brian Sonia-Wallace that was created for the 2021 Forum. The quote is: "hidden inequalities cry for storytellers." Tying the four quadrants together is a centerpiece illustration featuring a diverse group of adults, including one man in a wheelchair, family, health care workers, and community members that jointly hold a large sign featuring the name of the event: "2021 Forum: Amplifying All Voices In Aging."

    November10 th

    Join us November 18 for Aging as a Women’s Equity Issue: Forging a Path Forward with California’s Master Plan for Aging, hosted in partnership with the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care. Register to hear policymakers and experts discuss women and aging, and opportunities in the 2021-22 legislative session.

    The Support and Services at Home (SASH) model meets people where they are, integrating housing with community-based services and health care to coordinate services. An article in Generations Today explores how SASH is being used in different states.

    A recent Aging and Disability Business Institute profile explores Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore and My Care Family Accountable Care Organization (ACO) partnership. The alliance resulted in better health outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries and the expansion of contracts to address social needs, including housing and nutrition.

    November4 th

    Join the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) on November 15 as they launch the Getting Started with a Master Plan for Aging toolkit. CHCS will outline the eight key “building blocks” that state leaders, advocates, industry leaders, and other interested stakeholders can use to gain governor and legislature support for an MPA in their states. Leaders from California will also share their experience.

    Also, read a blog from the National Conference of State Legislatures on how states should consider home- and community-based services in light of the American Rescue Plan Act.

    Word cloud related to the Master Plan for Aging.

    At last week’s Forum, we celebrated Covia, a Front Porch Partner, for its Well Connected Program! Well Connected is a virtual community created through human-centered design principles to improve the lives of older adults. Watch a video about the Innovation Award winner and see which organizations received Honorable Mention.

    Older woman sharing her experience with the Well Connected Español program.

    October26 th

    We hope you’ve enjoyed our virtual 2021 Forum: Amplifying All Voices in Aging. It’s not too late to watch previous weeks’ recordings and register for our final session!

    Tomorrow, TSF President & CEO Sarita A. Mohanty will moderate a futurist discussion on how to reimagine and build a society where all populations can age well. We’re looking forward to hearing insights from experts in the fields of public health, media, and technology. In addition, we’ll recognize the recipient of our 2021 Innovation Award. See you there!

    Journalists from the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley are sharing the experiences of older adults living in community through an equity lens. Recent coverage includes:

    • ‘It Makes a Humongous Difference’: Lack of Wi-Fi in City Single-Room Occupancy Hotels Deepens Residents’ Isolation (San Francisco Chronicle)
    • Hope and Disappointment for the Homeless in Oakland (The New York Times)
    • ‘How Am I Going to Keep This Up?’ COVID Intensifies Plight of Family Caregivers (CalMatters)

    Also, summer polling from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research (AP-NORC) showed Americans generally think their communities offer the services needed to age at home. Yet, people of color and people with lower incomes are less likely to report their area does a good job providing health care, transportation, and in-home supports, among other services.

    Join ATI Advisory and Long-Term Quality Alliance on November 16 to hear the latest research insights and policy recommendations for nonmedical supplemental benefits in Medicare Advantage (MA).

    October19 th

    We hope you’re enjoying Amplifying All Voices in Aging each Wednesday in October. It’s not too late to watch previous weeks’ recordings and register for our third session!

    Tomorrow, we will examine the temporary Medicare and Medicaid flexibilities enacted in response to COVID-19. Come consider what flexibilities should become permanent to achieve person-centered care for the future.

    Photos of speakers

    Medicare and Medicaid policy changes enabled during the pandemic can create a roadmap to better care for adults with complex needs. Learn more.

    • Health Management Associates describes initial and ongoing Medicare and Medicaid adaptations enacted during the pandemic.
    • Manatt Health examines how states are using policy flexibilities to improve long-term services and supports.
    • Our June 2020 brief unpacks how the changes supported California applications of person-centered care.
    • Convergence Center for Policy Resolution is working with national experts to reimagine the long-term care system and make it more affordable.

    My Care, My Choice (MCMC), a tool we developed to help Californians with Medicare and Medicaid better understand their health care options, has moved to a new home. Through a grant from the Administration for Community Living, the National Council on Aging has adopted the resource with plans to adapt it for more states, starting first with Ohio. Read the press release.

    October12 th

    We hope you’re enjoying our 2021 Forum: Amplifying All Voices in Aging. Our virtual series, Wednesdays in October, continues with a focus on supporting older adults and people with disabilities who have complex needs.

    Tomorrow, join us to learn about applications of the core competencies created by the National Center for Complex Health & Social Needs (National Center). These competencies are helping the health care and social service sectors deliver team-based and person-centered care.

    Register for this week’s panel!

    The National Center, an initiative of the Camden Coalition, developed a web-based and downloadable toolkit to help educators and managers teach and train complex care. The core competencies comprise the knowledge, skills, and attitudes for members of teams or individual providers working in complex care programs.

     

     

    A recent article highlights how person-driven outcome measures developed by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) can be used to assess quality, promote person-centered care, and improve the care experience for individuals and their providers.

    October5 th

    Amplifying All Voices in Aging is a four-week virtual series, every Wednesday in October, to share people’s experiences engaging with health care and long-term services and supports (LTSS).

    On Wednesday, October 6, learn about the pressing issues facing California’s LTSS system, engage with leaders to better understand the state’s policy landscape through an equity lens, and consider where you can play a role.

    It’s not too late to register!

    Our updated policy brief shares the latest on states that have developed Master Plans, examples of their key elements, and how states without a Master Plan can get started.

    Also, read our recent fact sheet on California’s 2021-22 budget to learn about key investments to support implementation of the Master Plan and the state’s Home- and Community-Based Spending Plan.

    September29 th

    An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research (AP-NORC) poll finds that many older adults continue to worry about COVID-19 infection and are more likely to practice social distancing. To cope with increased isolation, older adults are using video chat, social media, and telehealth when needed.

    Read the press release and related Associated Press coverage.

     

    Amplifying All Voices in Aging is a four-week series to share people’s experiences engaging with health care and long-term services and supports (LTSS). Every Wednesday in October, we’ll hearfrom experts and stakeholders and discuss how to advance person-focused, policy-driven solutions to support older adults and families. Register today!

    October 6 – Amplifying All Voices in LTSS Systems Transformation: California State of the State 

    For California’s older adults, people with disabilities and family caregivers, the past year brought significant challenges, including equity issues magnified by COVID-19. The Master Plan for Aging demonstrates a commitment to addressing system issues and related inequities with transformation on the horizon through opportunities such as the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) initiative. In this session…

    October 13 – From Theory to Practice: Delivering Care for People with Complex Needs

    Supporting older adults and people with disabilities who have complex needs can be challenging, but services have become more integrated and focused on a person’s goals. This makes it essential to enlist providers who can deliver person-centered care. The National Center for Complex Health & Social Needs created a set of core competencies for the health care and social service sectors. This session will provide…

    October 20 – Transforming Medicare and Medicaid Beyond COVID-19 for a Person-Centered Future 

    While COVID-19 exposed problems in meeting the medical and nonmedical needs of older adults, the federal government allowed states and local providers substantial flexibilities in how care could be organized, delivered, and paid for through Medicare and Medicaid. This emergency response unveiled new ways to deliver care to those living with complex needs beyond what was previously imagined. In this session…

    October 27 – A Future Vision for Aging Well and Equitably Beyond COVID: Reflections from Public Health, Media, and Technology Leaders

    By 2034, the United States will have more older adults than children and increasing racial and ethnic diversity across the population. How do we reimagine and build an equitable society where all populations can age well, particularly in light of reshaped perspectives from the COVID-19 crisis? This discussion will include…

    The Better Care Playbook aims to share the best in promising approaches to improve care for people with complex health and social needs. Take this brief survey to provide feedback.

    September22 nd

    Read a new blog from ATI Advisory exploring how Special Supplemental Benefits for the Chronically Ill (SSBCI) and the Value-Based Insurance Design Model provide opportunities for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to offer housing/rental support to their beneficiaries.

    Read a new report elevating the importance of learning an individual’s values, health-related social needs, and functional challenges to provide them the best tailored care. See more in the Better Care Playbook!

    September16 th

    A wide range of Americans rely on long-term care (LTC) for help with daily living. Nearly half of all adults aged 65 today will need LTC at some point in their lives. Learn about current proposals for LTC that expand access to home- and community-based services (HCBS).

    • Watch this week’s webinar addressing LTC affordability and current proposals to expand Medicaid HCBS.
    • Read a new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center on how LTC can be made more affordable for people who do not qualify for Medicaid.

    Read a new report from the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution that highlights LTC experts’ thoughts on rethinking care for older adults in light of COVID-19, and identifies key issues to address for LTC system transformation.