Monday, February 19, 2007

Blog dead, but not the Exchange

In case it's not obvious -- the close-to-a-year between posts would be a good hint -- this blog is now dark. But the Journalists Exchange on Aging continues to go strong. You can visit its web site for recent AgeBeat newsletters and more by clicking here.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A new job for me

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but it's been busy. One reason is this: I'm switching over to online here at the Orlando Sentinel. I was named senior editor of, essentially the editor in charge of the daily/breaking news part of the web site day to day. It's one of two new senior editors (other does interactive stuff) who report to an AME for online. Our web operation is integrated into the newsroom, so I will be working with other editors and reporters, and continue to write the crime blog. When needed, I will do some live on-the-scene reporting/blogging, say from a big news event or major trial. Should be fun. I'm not sure what it will mean in finding time to do the Age Beat blog but expect to keep it going as best I can. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

“It's your responsibility to help your mom”

From tomorrow's Washington Post but online tonight -- Bush Prescribes Family Help on Drug Plan: “Faced with a persistent questioner who asked him what could be done to help her elderly mother understand Medicare's new prescription drug plan, President Bush offered a suggestion that at first elicited shocked gasps, and then supportive applause, from an audience of retirees in Silver Spring yesterday.”Look, I'm not going to tell you your business, but I think it's your responsibility to help your mom,“ Bush told Wendy Meyeroff. She had asked him to consider extending the May 15 deadline for registering for the new benefit without a penalty, but Bush refused.”

When I read that, I wonder two things: Is it insulting to assume seniors NEED the help of their boomer children? Or, conversely, is it that the plan is too complicated for even boomers?

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Sopranos, Clinton and Medicare

Click the link below for a quite funny post on the Right Here Now senior blog about a headline seen in the first show of the Sopranos:

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Mood effects in young and old

From EurekAlert today: Mood affects young and old differently, study finds
The effect of mood on how people process information changes greatly as they age, suggests new research from the Georgia Institute of Technology. NIH/National Institute on Aging Research

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Old beat young in quitting smoking

Another one from EurekAlert today: Journal of American Geriatrics Society Older people more successful than younger in quitting smoking Older women appear to quit smoking and stay off cigarettes in higher numbers than men in their age group, and older men and women are more likely to quit if they have recently received a diagnosis of cancer, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center. Duke University Medical Center

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Two new Kaiser Medicare briefs

Just in: “The Kaiser Family Foundation today released two new
issue briefs
that describe the current landscape of private plans participating in Medicare. The Growth of Private Plans in Medicare, 2006 details the different types of private plan options available to people on Medicare. These include Medicare Advantage plans (such as Medicare HMOs, PPOs and private fee-for-service plans) and new stand-alone prescription drug plans. ...
The Landscape of Private Firms Offering Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage in 2006
describes key characteristics of the organizations that offer the new Medicare drug benefit, and analyzes how companies are positioning themselves to attract Medicare enrollees. ... The briefs, authored by Marsha Gold, Sc.D. of Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., are available

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

'A traveling infomercial'

Bush Campaigns for Medicare Drug Plan - Los Angeles Times: CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. -- With the initial enrollment period for his Medicare prescription drug plan more than half over, President Bush played the role of pitchman today, personally campaigning at a community meeting and senior residence to encourage participation in the program. “Take a look!” the president said, his rising pitch conveying urgency. “It's a good deal.” For 34 minutes, he was the emcee of a traveling infomercial, calling on the testimony of his expert witnesses: the head of the Medicare program, the manager of a grocery chain's pharmacies, a retired couple who had signed up for the program and had little but praise for it.

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Another view of Medicare signup

On Washington Post web site this afternoon: Survey Refutes Criticism of Medicare Drug Plan: A majority of senior citizens in a recent poll say they had no trouble using -- or signing up for -- the controversial 10-week-old Medicare prescription drug plan, health insurance officials said today. The survey of more than 800 seniors differs from assertions by politicians and health and senior citizen advocacy groups that many Medicare enrollees have had difficulty choosing a drug plan from among the dozens that are being offered. “The data are very encouraging,” Karen Ignagni, chief executive of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the trade group that commissioned the survey, said at an afternoon briefing in Washington. “ . . . What seniors are saying is this program is working for them. It's making a difference.” Advocacy groups said they were deeply skeptical of the results of the survey...

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La Raza and comic highlight scam

Oddly, within 10 minutes of getting a news release today from the National Council of La Raza about a series of comic strips in Baldo highlighting a lottery scam that targets mostly Latino elders, I got a release from Orlando Police about two recent incidents of the scam. Here's a link to La Raza release:

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Newest ABO is available

The latest AGE BEAT ONLINE, the newsletter of the Journalists Exchange on Aging (JEoA) is available.
March 10, 2006 - DOUBLE ISSUE Volume 6, Numbers 8 and 9
        NOTE: Let ABO Editor Paul Kleyman know if you have technical problems receiving issues of ABO or if you'd like to be removed from the list. Phone: (415) 974-9619; e-mail: Thanks for help on this issue go to John Cutter and Marilynn Larkin. The most recent four issues of ABO are posted online at

2. RESOURCES: Civic Ventures New Online Guide to Boomer Aging; National Press Foundation Seminar on Retirement; Link to New Census Bureau Report on Aging
3. ON THE ABO BLOG: New Report on Ageism in America
LARKIN'S LINKS: Aging and Technology
For full file, go to, where you can download a PDF of the file.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A $75 million Medicare loss?

Found tonight on ResourceShelf Docuticker...Allergen Immunotherapy for Medicare Beneficiaries: “Allergen Immunotherapy--MedicareSource: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector GeneralAllergen Immunotherapy for Medicare Beneficiaries (PDF; 656 KB)”OIG found that approximately 62 percent of allergen immunotherapy and related services allowed by Medicare in 2001 were not medically necessary (and, therefore, not covered by Medicare), were miscoded, and/or were undocumented. These inappropriately paid services potentially cost the program and its beneficiaries approximately $75 million. Furthermore, approximately 70 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who received allergen immunotherapy in 2001 received care that did not meet professionally recognized standards at some point during their course of treatment.“

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Embargoed report on aging available, if...

If you have a signon to see embargoed Census reports, the press release and PDF of the report are now available to you at See item below about news briefing. Reports (and information on how to obtain access to embargoes reports) are here:

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