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Are you being observed? Inpatient vs. outpatient status

By Diane Weinstein, Executive Director, EPOCH Assisted Living at Melbourne

Diane WeinsteinDuring a hospital stay, do you know if you’re considered an “outpatient” or “inpatient”? According to AARP, for most patients the distinction between the two labels is meaningless – after all, you are getting exactly the same care. But a label can have costly consequences.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, your hospital status affects how much you pay for services such as X-rays, drugs and lab tests. It may also affect whether Medicare will cover care you get in a skilled nursing facility. Medicare will only cover the care you receive if you first have a “qualifying hospital stay,” which means you have been a hospital inpatient for at least three days in a row, counting the day you were admitted, but not counting the day of your discharge.

Winter clothing drive, educational presentations at EPOCH

Winter Clothing DriveAs a reminder, we will be collecting winter items throughout October for families in need. If you’d like to contribute, please drop off winter items in the lobby of EPOCH Senior Healthcare on Blackstone Boulevard or EPOCH Senior Healthcare at Melrose. More details below.

This week, we will also host three, informative presentations. You’ll have the opportunity to learn: safe driving tips for older drivers from an AARP instructor; all about estate planning from experienced attorneys; and the most important things you need to know about Medicare. Keep reading to learn more.

Seniors share their views on Medicare and Social Security

While politicians in Washington are looking to make cuts to Medicare and Social Security to reduce the deficit, many older Americans are worried about what that means for them. AARP’s You’ve Earned a Say campaign aims to give a voice to older Americans who have spent a lifetime paying into these programs. The campaign has created a national conversation on how to protect and strengthen Medicare and Social Security.

More than 65 million Americans aged 50 and older responded to surveys to share their views on these programs. They reported that the strength of Medicare and Social Security is important because they promote good health and financial stability, which seniors want not just for themselves, but also for their kids and grandkids. Rather than making cuts to these programs, many older American want sensible solutions that improve care, reduce health care costs and create savings for taxpayers.

Are high health care costs a good thing?

We should be celebrating high health care spending. Wait a minute, what? That’s what Michael Hodin, executive director of the Global Coalition on Aging, recently wrote in the Huffington Post.

Hodin says that while many Americans believe our health care system is failing and the costs are too high, the opposite is actually the case – the high costs are a testament to our health care’s success. Health care in America has provided us with groundbreaking medicine and treatments that are keeping us alive longer than previous generations. And because Americans are now living longer than ever before, health care has become a widely sought-after commodity. Being in such high demand, health care costs have of course gone up.

Although Hodin believes our health care system is successful, that doesn’t mean he’s against reform; our current health care budget is simply unsustainable for our government. But rather than simply “slashing spending,” we need to reassess how the money is spent. This way, we can put money into research and programs that will save on health care costs in the future.

Issues concerning seniors this election

With the 2012 presidential election just around the corner, it’s worth hearing what issues matter most to seniors. The Good Samaritan Society recently posted a video online, in which its director of public affairs, Jeff Singley, discussed what topics seniors are particularly concerned with.