Michael Bethke, 19, works part time at a grocery store in Clark, South Dakota.
He started out as an intern through the state’s Project Skills program for high school students with disabilities, and now performs tasks like unloading vans. “I like it a lot,” he says of his job.
It’s been 25 years since the Americans With Disabilities Act prohibited employment discrimination against people with disabilities. Yet as the nation celebrates the law’s anniversary, a stark divide remains: men and women like Bethke are still less likely to have jobs than people who don’t have a disability.
About a third of the more than 20 million working-age Americans who have a sensory, mental or physical disability are employed, according to an analysis of 2013 U.S.
Census data by the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire. At the same time, other surveys show people with disabilities want to work. Continue reading →
A doctor’s training hasn’t historically focused on sensitivity. And too often while juggling heavy workloads and high stress, they can be viewed as brusque, condescending or inconsiderate.
A 2011 study, for instance, found barely more than half of recently hospitalized patients said they experienced compassion when getting health care, despite widespread agreement among doctors and patients that kindness is valuable and important.
But payment initiatives and increasing patient expectations are slowly forcing changes, encouraging doctors to be better listeners and more sensitive to patients’ needs. Continue reading →
By Kory B. Fowler, M.D. Medical Director, Intermountain Region Humana
Shingles is not fun. In fact, it’s downright awful. It starts with a tingling or burning sensation on the skin along one side of the body, followed by an extremely painful rash consisting of bumps, blisters or crusting. Hundreds of thousands of Americans 60 or over suffer from shingles each year, and the worst part is they don’t have to. Continue reading →
By Patricia Neighmond NPR
Millions of Americans take baby aspirin every day to prevent a heart attack or stroke. If they are at high risk of heart disease, they’re doing the right thing, according to draft recommendations issued Monday by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
Three out of four Americans older than 60 don’t get a shingles vaccine to protect themselves from the virus’ miseries: rashes over the face and body, stinging pain that can last for weeks or months and the threat of blindness.
Sometimes people must feel a pound of pain – someone else’s – to take a shot of prevention. Dr. Robert Wergin tells of one elderly patient with shingles who came to his Milford, Neb., office this summer. “I’m sorry, doc, I should have listened to your advice to get the shot,” the man said. A few weeks later, the man’s wife and brother, both in their 60s, visited Wergin, asking for the vaccine.
One in three seniors each year skips the flu vaccine.
Four in 10 seniors are not vaccinated for pneumonia.
Nearly half of seniors are not immunized for tetanus
“It’s amazing how once people see the disease up close, getting the vaccine suddenly raises up on their list of priorities,” said Wergin, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
During this fall’s open enrollment period, workers who get health insurance through their employers may not see huge premium increases or significant hikes to deductibles or other out-of-pocket costs.
But there may be less obvious changes that could make a notable difference in coverage or costs, benefits consultants say.
Employers again are sharply focused on employee wellness. The difference: Some are raising the bar to qualify for program incentives, says Tracy Watts, senior partner at human resources consultant Mercer. Continue reading →
An analysis of next year’s premiums for exchange plans available in major cities in 12 states and the District of Columbia find premiums for benchmark plans will rise a modest 3.1% overall. The analysis was done by the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation
Consumers in Portland, Oregon will see the biggest increase: 22.8% in 2016 for the second-lowest priced silver plan, the price which is used as the benchmark for calculating exchange plan subsidies.
That rise, however, is balanced by steep price reductions in other cities, including a 10.1% price drop in Seattle.
A high-profile Medicare experiment pushing doctors and hospitals to join together to operate more efficiently has yet to save the government money, with nearly half of the groups costing more than the government estimated their patients would normally cost, federal records show. Continue reading →
One of the main ways the Affordable Care Act seeks to reduce health care costs is by encouraging doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to form networks that coordinate patient care and become eligible for bonuses when they deliver that care more efficiently.
The law takes a carrot-and-stick approach by encouraging the formation of accountable care organizations (ACOs) in the Medicare program. Providers make more if they keep their patients healthy.
About 6 million Medicare beneficiaries are now in an ACO, and, combined with the private sector, at least 744 organizations have become ACOs since 2011. An estimated 23.5 million Americans are now being served by an ACO. You may even be in one and not know it. Continue reading →
A controversial bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide in California is headed to the governor for consideration, after almost nine months of intense — often personal — debate in the legislature.
If Gov. Jerry Brown signs the bill, California would become the fifth state to allow doctors to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill patients who request it, after Oregon, Washington, Vermont and Montana.