The Buzz

News on transforming care for older adults


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    January26 th

    Governor Newsom’s 2023-24 proposed budget focuses on housing, workforce issues, economic security, and other initiatives that impact older adults and people with disabilities. Learn how the proposed budget maintains key investments in the state’s Master Plan for Aging (MPA).Graphic reflecting the resources and expenditures of the 2023-24 CA proposed budget

    The California Master Plan for Aging (MPA) released its Second Annual Report, highlighting 2022 accomplishments toward building a CA for ALL Ages & Abilities. Its new Implementation Tracker makes it easy to get updates on each MPA initiative. Also, check out our efforts to support California’s MPA and support the scaling of Multisector Plans for Aging across the country.
    Image of Year 2 Annual Report for the California Master Plan for Aging

    Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions and daily living challenges struggle to navigate a complex care system. Our page on Innovating for Medicare Beneficiaries outlines how states can improve equitable access to high-quality care and services for their Medicare populations. In California, learn how one woman supports the Medicare-eligible.

    January19 th

    By the end of the decade, all baby boomers will be age 65 and older. Recognizing this shift and the variety of factors that affect the aging experience, state policymakers have engaged numerous programs to help older adults thrive.

    The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) highlights progress across the country, including those states already implementing Multisector Plans for Aging (MPAs) or participating in the Multisector Plan for Aging Learning Collaborative.

    Logo of the National Conference of State Legislatures

    The American Society on Aging (ASA) is partnering with The John A. Hartford Foundation, West Health, and TSF on a blog series and programming to foster Multisector Plans for Aging (MPAs) across the country. The first post unpacks MPA components and how to get involved.

    Also, join the January 25 Future Proof Live webinar on MPAs, and how states can coordinate infrastructure and services through these statewide comprehensive plans to go beyond traditional health and community services.
    Map of Multisector Plan for Aging Activity Across States
    January11 th

    Supported by TSF, a group of expert stakeholders with diverse perspectives met over several months to assess COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) flexibilities. Resources on the webpage PHE Flexibilities Roadmap for Policymakers provide concrete and consensus-driven recommendations to federal and state policymakers on which temporary Medicare and Medicaid flexibilities should be made permanent to increase access to equitable, person-centered care for older adults. View the Roadmap and media advisory.

    Among the flexibilities that experts found should be made permanent are those that:

    • Expand telehealth benefits to ensure equitable access to remote care;
    • Maximize clinician scope of practice to expand the workforce available to care for older adults; and
    • Ease Medicare and Medicaid program requirements to enable more individuals to qualify to get the care they need.

    Symbols of computer, clinicians, and clipboard.

    Join Alliance for Health Policy on Friday, March 3, at 9 am PT for a webinar: Moving Beyond COVID-19: Considerations for Using PHE Flexibilities to Improve Person-Centered Care. The event will feature TSF leadership and a diverse panel of experts to discuss considerations for using the PHE flexibilities to improve person-centered, equitable care for older adults.

    Nurse and older woman with walker walking together.

    Throughout the pandemic, research showed the potential for PHE flexibilities to minimize administrative, clinical, and financial barriers while significantly advancing person-centered, equitable care.

    The Roadmap was developed following formative efforts. This included a 2022 issue brief and policymaker playbook that examined the benefits and risks of PHE flexibilities, described a person-centered assessment framework, and offered recommendations for flexibilities that could be considered for permanence.

    January5 th

    Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions and daily living challenges struggle to navigate a complex system of care. Innovating for Medicare Beneficiaries outlines ways states can improve equitable access to high-quality care and services for this population. In California, a survey conducted by The National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago highlights the health care needs and experiences of adults age 55 and older. Also, view an ATI Advisory profile of California’s Medicare population.

    A recent study in the Better Care Playbook found that Medicare beneficiaries with complex needs who were enrolled in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans had lower rates of acute care utilization than those in traditional Medicare.

    December14 th

    In our latest Regional Coalition feature story, San Diego Senior Alliance (SDSA) recounts a year of hard work and progress. SDSA is part of the California Advocacy Network, a statewide movement involving nearly 1,000 organizations who serve more than 95 percent of California’s population. Explore the Regional Coalition profiles.

    December7 th

    Join the California Collaborative for Long-Term Services and Supports on Tuesday, December 13, at 12 pm PT to learn about the steps Regional Coalitions are taking to develop local Master Plans for Aging (MPAs) in rural communities. The webinar will focus on how to form an advisory committee, build on existing data, gather community input, and plan for implementation and sustainability.

    November30 th

    A new brief from ATI Advisory offers data insights on 2023 Medicare Advantage (MA) plans offering the five expanded primarily health-related benefits (EPHRB). The brief includes information on where plans are offering EPHRB and an overview across both MA special needs plans (SNPs) and non-SNP MA organizations. This is part of ATI’s broader effort to track nonmedical supplemental benefits and builds on their recent chartbook.

    Bringing awareness to issues affecting the lives of community-dwelling older adults, our partnership with UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program inspires unique reporting opportunities. A recent article published by climate justice site Grist elevated an intergenerational housing story in France as an example of how to protect older adults during heat waves.

    November17 th

    Learn about the advocacy efforts at Marin County Aging Action Initiative (AAI) in our inaugural Regional Coalition feature story. AAI is part of the California Advocacy Network, a statewide movement involving nearly 1,000 organizations who serve more than 95 percent of California’s population. Explore the Regional Coalition profiles.

    A new brief from AARP Public Policy Institute presents the vision and framework for the 2023 Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) State Scorecard. The brief discusses AARP’s approach to the 2023 edition of the Scorecard, reflects on changes since the Scorecard was first published in 2011, and considers how future editions may best meet today’s needs.

    November2 nd

    Watch a recent Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP) discussion on services and supports offered to California’s older adult population and dual eligible beneficiaries and how these services align with the Master Plan for Aging.

    October26 th

    A new Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP) resource shares facts about California’s older adult population and steps the state is taking to advance health and transform aging.

    Join the related ITUP webinar tomorrow, October 27, at 1 pm PT for a discussion on new services and supports offered to California’s older adult population and dual eligible beneficiaries, and how these services align with the Master Plan for Aging.

    CA for ALL Ages & Abilities Day of Action brought together nearly 900 participants (in-person and virtual) representing advocates, providers, policymakers, and more. This event – supported in partnership with Archstone Foundation, Gary and Mary West Foundation, May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, Metta Fund, San Diego Foundation, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, and The SCAN Foundation – provided opportunities for stakeholders to hear and recommend key priorities of focus for the next two years.

    The themes of equity and partnership were woven throughout the day and centered on continuing momentum for advancing the Master Plan for Aging(MPA). Access event recordings and materials and read Dr. Sarita Mohanty’s reflections on the day.

    October19 th

    In a competitive bid, the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) selected Medicaid agencies in eight states — Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington State, and Wisconsin — to participate in Medicare Academy: Capacity-Building for Advancing Medicare-Medicaid Integration. The Academy will help the states develop and oversee integration programs and engage in longer-term policy and program refinement.

    Join Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP) on Thursday, October 27, at 1 pm PT for a discussion on new services and supports offered to California’s older adult population and dual eligible beneficiaries, and how these services align with the Master Plan for Aging.

    An Investigative Reporting Program article, originally published in The San Francisco Chronicle last month, takes a deeper look at many older adults’ inadequate access to home- and community-based services and affordable housing.

    October12 th

    A recent Health Affairs blog highlights cutting-edge efforts by the California Department of Health Care Services’ Office of Medicare Innovation and Integration (OMII). OMII sits within the state’s Medicaid agency and is tasked with expanding the health and human service focus beyond Medicaid to improve health outcomes, quality, affordability, and equity for all Medicare beneficiaries in California, including those that are dually eligible.

    ADvancing States and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) home- and community-based (HCBS) Technical Assistance Collective announced a third phase of technical assistance (TA) to state Medicaid programs to facilitate and expedite state implementation of the ARPA HCBS Funding Initiative. This is the largest investment in HCBS systems capacity in 40 years. Interested states must complete the online application by October 25.

    Recent analyses by NORC at the University of Chicago explored the financial challenges likely faced by middle-income older adults in California and nationally by 2033. Watch the related California-focused discussion that builds on NORC’s findings. Also, read our fact sheet, highlighting key investments within the California state budget.

    October6 th

    More than one-third of older adults worry about paying for health care and long-term care. Middle-income older adults, coined the “forgotten middle,” are in the particularly precarious position of being ineligible for Medicaid assistance, yet still have difficulty affording out-of-pocket costs.

    A new analysis from NORC at the University of Chicago looks at California’s middle-income, older adult population and forecasts that the state will have 1.6 million middle-income older adults (age 75 and older) in 2033, nearly half of which will be people of color. Findings show that half will struggle to pay for housing and care, even if those who own sell their homes.

    Earlier this week, TSF, West Health, Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP), and expert guests discussed the challenges facing older Californians, the relationship of these findings to longstanding inequities, and potential policy opportunities. View the recording.

    We partner with UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program to elevate issues affecting the lives of older adults. A recent CapRadio piece examined California’s affordable housing shortage through the lens of LGBTQ older adults.

    September22 nd

    Join TSF, along with West Health and Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP), to explore the demographic characteristics of California’s middle-income older adults and future challenges regarding health care and long-term care affordability. Register here.

    The webinar will offer a local perspective that builds on the recent national findings from NORC at the University of Chicago. That research projected more than 11 million middle-income older adults may have insufficient resources to pay for long-term care and housing by 2033.

    In a recent request for information, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sought feedback to strengthen Medicare Advantage and advance health equity. Drawing on years of research, ATI Advisory and Long-Term Quality Alliance (LTQA) shared how CMS can strengthen supplemental benefits to advance health equity and better support Medicare beneficiaries.

    September14 th

    Our latest Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll indicates that most U.S. adults think private health insurers (60%) and Medicare (57%) should have a large responsibility for paying for the costs of long-term care, and about half think the same about Medicaid (53%).

    Also, majorities of Black and Hispanic adults are very or extremely concerned about having access to high-quality health care when they need it. Read the press release and article.