December 22, 2013
Coach's impact spans decades I cannot imagine what swimming coach Dick Shoulberg possibly could have done to deserve such disrespectful treatment after his long and successful career at Germantown Academy ("GA swim coach to return, but only in limited role," Dec. 17). Maybe he fostered too much happiness by enabling hundreds of swimmers to confidently access their full potential. Perhaps the life lessons learned in the pool inspired too many of his swimmers to become teachers, doctors, lawyers, leaders, coaches, and outstanding citizens.
November 6, 2013
DURING A recent workshop with seniors at my church, a debate broke out concerning Medicare Part D. That's the program that helps pay for prescription drugs. Medicare offers the coverage to all enrollees, and if you elect to get the coverage, you pay a monthly premium. If you do not sign up for Part D when you're first eligible for Medicare Part A and/or Part B, and you didn't have prescription-drug coverage that met Medicare's minimum standard, you may have to pay a late-enrollment penalty if you eventually decide to join the plan.
November 1, 2013
WITH SO much fuss and frustration over the open enrollment for the health-care marketplaces, some people might be missing important information about another open-enrollment season. Open enrollment for the exchanges is overlapping and overshadowing the importance of the Medicare open-enrollment period, which started Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7. It is during this period that those covered by Medicare can change their health plan and prescription-drug coverage for 2014. Although the Medicare open-enrollment process runs smoothly, it is still a complicated system with its alphabet plans - Part A is hospital insurance, Part B is medical insurance, Part C is Medicare Advantage (offered by private companies approved by Medicare such as an HMO)
October 7, 2013 |
When it comes to hospitals, patients apparently don't know what's good for them. After crunching data from 4,655 hospitals, a Thomas Jefferson University health economist concluded that the best hospitals were not the ones with the highest satisfaction scores. Instead, the best hospitals, which tended to be bigger and busier, got more lukewarm ratings from patients. Robert Lieberthal doesn't know why, but said he's not the first to find little correlation between satisfaction scores and the important stuff, like whether you'll come out alive and stay that way. Medicare publishes satisfaction ratings for individual hospitals and uses them to some degree when it sets payment rates, said Lieberthal, who works in the Jefferson School of Population Health.
September 27, 2013 |
A federal grand jury has charged a Philadelphia couple that ran an ambulance service with allegedly filing $4.4 million in fraudulent Medicare claims for transporting patients who did not need the service. Beana Bell, who owns Superior EMS Ambulance Co. in Huntingdon Valley, and her husband, Vadim Fleshler, are accused of recruiting and paying dialysis patients up to $500 a month to use their service, even when the patients could walk. Fleshler, 32, and Bell, 31, were arrested Wednesday morning by federal agents.
September 2, 2013 |
Mary-Carol Feeney's Medicare coverage was running out, and in mid-February, her nursing home in Montgomery County told her she would have to leave. She still had a pressure sore on her tailbone and was recovering from multiple illnesses - including congestive heart failure - that had bounced her between hospitals and nursing homes for three months. Though residents have rights, including one to appeal Medicare's denial, Feeney didn't know that. She was discharged to her daughter Jolene's one-bedroom apartment in Fox Chase.
August 21, 2013 |
Health Partners of Philadelphia Inc., a hospital-owned health-insurance plan that manages Medicaid benefits for 166,300 people in Southeastern Pennsylvania, is applying to reenter the Medicare Advantage market. The nonprofit also will announce Tuesday that it has changed its corporate name to Health Partners Plans to accommodate a broader array of products beyond its current offerings of Medicaid and KidzPartners - for children whose families do not qualify for Medicaid. The move back into Medicare comes six years after Health Partners sold a Medicare business called Senior Partners.
August 18, 2013 |
David Carolina, 76, was rushed to the emergency room and admitted five times in the first 10 months of last year - four times in a two-month span - with heart and respiratory failure and flare-ups of gout. He is morbidly obese and has diabetes, sleep apnea, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Carolina is a very sick man. But he's happy. Since October, his poor health has qualified him for a new government experiment involving an old idea: His doctors make house calls. In the last 10 months, an ER visit led to a hospital admission only once.
July 16, 2013 |
Medicare has two more years to live than previously thought. The program's trustees recently estimated that the "depletion date for the trust fund is 2026, two years later than was shown in last year's report. " But that conclusion is less a vote of confidence than a two-year stay of execution. Absent substantial reform, Medicare will eat up more and more of our nation's resources even as it provides less and less to beneficiaries. The report notes that Medicare expenditures will increase faster than earnings or the economy.
June 20, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Medicare begins a major change next month that could save older diabetics money and time when they buy crucial supplies to test their blood sugar - but it also may cause some confusion as patients figure out the new system. On July 1, Medicare opens a national mail-order program that will dramatically drop the prices the government pays for those products, but patients will have to use designated suppliers. The goal is to save taxpayers money, but seniors should see their co-pays drop, too. Don't care about the convenience of mail delivery?