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In May 2014, the Administration for Community Living (ACL), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services,  issued guidance applicable to all ACL grantees concerning the federal government's policy on same-sex marriages following the Supreme Court Decision in  United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013).[1] The Court in Windsor found that … Read more

May 21, 2014 The May 20, 2014 hearing on "Current Hospital Issues in the Medicare Program," held by the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Ways and Means, was the first Congressional hearing to consider the impact of observation status on hospitalized Medicare patients.[1]  At the hearing, the Center for Medicare Advocacy's Senior Policy … Read more

Center for Medicare Advocacy Senior Policy Attorney Toby S. Edelman will testify before the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 9:30 AM regarding current hospital issues in the Medicare program, specifically the ongoing problem of observation status. The hearing, announced on May 13th, is the first Congressional hearing to … Read more

On May 8, 2014, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced a bill to amend the Social Security Act so that all legal marriages are appropriately recognized.  See: http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/7ada7247-d7b0-40e5-bece-d684e3c969e2/same-act—one-pager-final.pdf.   The bill, called the SOCIAL SECURITY AND MARRIAGE EQUALITY (SAME) ACT OF 2014, would ensure that all same-sex spouses receive equal treatment under … Read more

May 15, 2014 Spring is often a time for gatherings with family and friends – graduations, weddings, holidays and more. Nursing home residents often want to participate in these gatherings but may worry that they will lose Medicare coverage if they leave the facility to join their families.  Residents and their families and friends can … Read more

The Department of Health and Human Services' Inspector General recently reported that nearly one third-of nursing home residents suffered an adverse event or other harm during a stay in a Medicare-participating nursing home in August 2011, and that most of the adverse events or other harm were preventable and the result of problems in staffing.[1] … Read more

The use of Medicare observation status in hospitals has increased dramatically over the past several years.[1] The most notable adverse consequence of Observation Status on beneficiaries is financial liability for any post-hospitalization care at a Skilled Nursing Facility.[2] However, many of the beneficiaries the Center assists also find themselves facing large hospital bills for drugs … Read more

Each year, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health uses the month of April to raise awareness about persistent racial disparities that exist in access to health care and health outcomes. This year's theme, Prevention is Power: Taking Action for Health Equity, emphasizes the critical role of prevention in reducing health … Read more

Some croon, "Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die."  As a general rule, Americans not only don't want to die, we also don't want to talk about death and dying.  As a consequence of this reticence, many Americans are dying without the benefits of hospice care.  In an attempt to grapple … Read more

April 17, 2014 A recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services' Inspector General found that one third-of nursing home residents in a Medicare-nursing home stay suffered an adverse event or other harm in August 2011 and that most of the events were preventable and caused by problems in staffing.[1]  Yet the nursing … Read more