Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Shortage of Caregivers


If you want fresh evidence of the caregiving crisis that lies in the not-too-distant future, look no further thanthe employment projections released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics late last year.

Topping the list of occupations expected to grow between 2012 and 2022 are personal care aides, in the No. 1 slot (580,800 new positions); home health aides, No. 4 (424,200 jobs); and nursing assistants, No. 6 (312,200 jobs).

All these workers provide similar services, helping clients — mostly seniors — bathe, dress, get up in the morning and perform other activities at home or in group homes, assisted living centers, rehabilitation facilities and nursing homes.

Filling paid caregiving jobs with immigrants is another option — indeed, already one in five direct care workers today is foreign born. But there is strong political opposition to increased immigration, which may limit the number of potential caregivers. Cultural and language differences can also complicate the caregiving relationship.

Read about this in the New York Times on February 26, 2014 by Judith Graham

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www.wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Peoria Heights, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton, Galesburg, Lacon, Henry, Bloomington, Normal and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.




Insurance, Not Injuries, May Determine Who Goes To Trauma Centers

Researchers at Stanford University looked at more than 4,500 trauma cases at 636 hospitals around the country to see what happened to critically injured patients brought to emergency rooms that aren’t designated trauma centers. They found that non-trauma centers were much more likely to admit patients who had insurance, whether it was private insurance or Medicaid coverage, than to transfer them to more skilled facilities.

“It’s the opposite of the overly aggressive transfer of a poor patient,” said Dr. Arthur Kellermann, the dean of the U.S. Military Medical School, and a trauma care expert who was not involved in the study. “This is actually suggesting that patients who have coverage for critical injuries may not be getting transferred as quickly as they should be.”

Getting to a designated trauma center matters for patients with serious injuries. Severely injured patients are 25 percent less likely to die at a trauma center than in a typical emergency room. It’s not just a matter of getting in the door at the closest hospital, but getting in the door at the right hospital, Dr. Kellermann said. “That’s the whole point of trauma centers. The expertise, the speed of response, the capacity to manage complex injuries is significantly better at major trauma centers. That’s the whole reason certain hospitals are designated trauma centers.”

The business of medicine too often dictates where patients are cared for, said Kellermann, and that includes whether a hospital admits patients or transfers them. “That decision should not be influenced by economics one way or the other. It should be influenced only by what’s in the best interest of patients,” he said.

Read about this in Kaiser Health News on February 19, 2014.

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www.wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Peoria Heights, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton, Galesburg, Lacon, Henry, Bloomington, Normal and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Pitfalls of Applying for Medicare

Roughly 3.65 million Americans will turn 65 this year and become eligible for Medicare. But be warned: There's nothing simple about signing up for the government's health-care insurance program.

There are, on average, 20 Medicare Advantage plans, depending on which state you live in, and 35 prescription-drug plans available to you. Add a dozen supplemental plans and, of course, original Medicare. It's not like on your job, where your employer narrows the choices for you.

"As you approach 65 you definitely need to take advantage of your Medicare entitlement but you need to understand your options, what additional or supplemental coverage you might want with a drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan," says Ms. Muschler.

Read about this in the Wall Street Juranal article on January 26, 2014 by Jennifer Waters

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www.wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Peoria Heights, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton, Galesburg, Lacon, Henry, Bloomington, Normal and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Alzheimer’s Caregivers Face Tough Challenges

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 15 million people provide unpaid care for family members or friends with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. The strain of the task has been shown in many studies to increase the risk of a variety of illnesses, and even death.

One of the most common, distressing challenges faced by caregivers occurs when dementia patients become agitated or physically or verbally abusive, situations that are emotionally exhausting and sometimes dangerous for patients and caregivers alike.

It is vital for caregivers to take good care of themselves, she added, by exercising, eating and sleeping properly, and getting respite care when needed.

Read about the challenges caregivers in the New York Times on February 17, 2014 in article written by Jane Brody  

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www.wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Peoria Heights, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton, Galesburg, Lacon, Henry, Bloomington, Normal and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Retirement Changes: Health Care, Social Security, and Medicare in 2014

Social Security changes to note in 2014
There haven't been significant Social Security reforms introduced since 1983. Still, early retirees especially will see some differences this year. And everyone gets a cost-of-living increase to his or her Social Security check this time around. It's a small one, but upticks haven't always happened in recent years.

Here's what you need to know:

  • If you're under age 65 and collecting benefits, expect to see a dip of $1 for every $2 of wage- or salary-based income you earn beyond $15,480. For those reaching full retirement age in 2014, the dip will be $1 for every $3 earned until the month of your birthday. 
  • The cost-of-living increase to Social Security checks will be a modest 1.5%. If you were expecting about $2,000 per month, you can now look for approximately $2,030. 

Medicare: ACA impacts and inpatient increases
Key changes to Medicare this year come under the category of ACA impacts. There are also new developments in the area of deductibles and co-pays for patients staying at hospitals.

  • Medicare under the ACA should now cover certain procedures such as mammograms and colonoscopies. No Part B deductibles for these. No Part B co-pays either.
  • Brand-name drugs covered by Medicare Part D should come with a 50% discount.  
  • Those without a premium-free Part A plan will see their deductible increase to $1,216 from $1,184.  
  • Co-pays for beneficiaries for inpatient care increase to $304 per day for 61 to 90 days, then $608 for days beyond that. That's an $8 and $16 bump, respectively.  

On a larger scale, the federal government says the good news about Medicare is that the ACA's cost savings and loss-reduction measures will ensure that the trust fund fueling the system can be sustained until at least 2029.

Impact watch: ACA and retirees
It's still too early to forecast all of the long-term effects of the ACA, and there's still enough political energy crackling around the subject to make it more than a little bit bewildering. While most Medicare recipients won't interact with the law directly, early retirees may when it comes to setting up health insurance plans.

Read about this in an article written by James O'Brien in The Motley Fool on 2/16/2014.


William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www.wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Peoria Heights, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton, Galesburg, Lacon, Henry, Bloomington, Normal and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Vast Study Casts Doubts on Value of Mammograms

One of the largest and most meticulous studies of mammography ever done, involving 90,000 women and lasting a quarter century, has added powerful new doubts about the value of the screening test for women of any age.

It found that the death rates from breast cancer and from all causes were the same in women who got mammograms and those who did not. And the screening had harms — one out of five cancers found with mammography and treated was not a threat to the woman’s health and did not need treatment like chemotherapy, surgery or radiation.

Researchers sought to determine whether there was any advantage to finding breast cancers when they were too small to feel. The answer was no, the researchers report.

But an editorial accompanying the new study said that earlier studies that found mammograms helped women were done before the routine use of drugs like tamoxifen that sharply reduced the breast cancer death rate. In addition, many studies did not use the gold-standard methods of the clinical trial, randomly assigning women to be screened or not, noted the editorial’s author, Dr. Mette Kalager, and other experts.

Dr. Kalager, an epidemiologist and screening researcher at the University of Oslo and the Harvard School of Public Health, said there was a reason its results were unlike those of earlier studies. With better treatments, like tamoxifen, it was less important to find cancers early. Also, she said, women in the Canadian studies were aware of breast cancer and its dangers, unlike women in earlier studies who were more likely to ignore lumps.

Read more about this in  the February 11th New York Times article wriiten by Gina Kolata

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www.wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Peoria Heights, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton, Galesburg, Lacon, Henry, Bloomington, Normal and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.



Sunday, February 9, 2014

Why does Estate Planning seem complicated?

Estate Planning is complicated by our desire to control people and things. We sometimes use planning to encourage certain behavior which we view as desirable and to discourage behavior we don't like. Sometimes we don't give certain persons control of money or assets because we don't trust them (read we don't trust their spouse) to make the decisions we would like see made. Sometimes we have very good reasons as our potential beneficiaries may have problems with drugs, alcohol, gambling or controling their spending.  They may be disabled due to cognitive or mental health programs. We may just want to control things because because we are a very controlling person who always wants things done their way. I have had clients who wanted to make it very difficult for their children to ever be able to sell the family farm. Clients want to save on estate taxes and we create trusts with some very specific limitations which the IRS tells us will allow the primary beneficiary not to have to include the value of those assets in their estate for estate tax purposes.  So is all that control needed? Sometimes yes--sometimes no.  Think about how much control you really need.

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www.wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Peoria Heights, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton, Galesburg, Lacon, Henry, Bloomington, Normal and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

An Unusual Partnership to Tackle Stubborn Diseases

The National Institutes of Health, 10 large drug companies and seven nonprofit organizations announced an unconventional partnership on Tuesday intended to speed up development of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

But now many drug companies are chastened. They have invested staggering amounts of money in developing drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease, for example, but again and again the medications have failed in testing. Effective treatments for the three other diseases to be studied have also been elusive.

The goal of the partnership is to find new drug targets: molecules that can be attacked in order to stop or slow a disease. The Alzheimer’s initiative also aims to find reliable molecular signals of whether dementia is progressing, so that new drugs can be tested early enough to avert irreversible brain damage.

Read about this in the article written in the New York Times on Feb 4,2014 in the Health section written by Gia Kolata.

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www.wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Peoria Heights, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton, Galesburg, Lacon, Henry, Bloomington, Normal and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.