In Chicago, IL, Alderman Matt O’Shea has urged community members to check on loved ones staying at Belhaven Nursing Home and Rehabilitation. The facility has had 26 lawsuits filed against them in the past 6 years and have had a number of complaints reported as well. The most shocking complaints revolve around elder abuse. A recent incident involving a CNA and a patient shows that carers sometimes don’t care at all. An elderly resident called for assistance multiple times because he had an incontinence issue. When a CNA finally came to attend the resident, they hit, choked, and scratched the resident. A nurse reportedly entered the room and did not stop the abuse. The CNA later admitted to hitting the resident, and scratches on the resident corroborate their tale of the abuse. Instead of terminating the employee immediately and removing them from the premises, the facility allowed the employee to work until the end of the day, putting other residents at risk of harm. Belhaven also failed to report the incident to authorities.


BOSTON, Nov. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Seniorlink, Inc., a leading caregiver solutions company, announced a call for entries for “Thank You Caregiver Nation” – a new contest focused on raising awareness of family caregivers – the many silent heroes who provide care and comfort to a loved one.

The contest will feature twelve winners, with one winner selected for each month of 2017. Each winner will receive a credit to purchase meal options from PeachDish, a nutritious meal kit delivery company. The winners can use their PeachDish credit to order fresh, farm-to-table ingredients to cook meals for their families, and reduce the stress of food shopping and meal planning.

There are an estimated 44 million caregivers in the United States today.i They are the partners, spouses, sons, daughters, friends and loved ones who carry out a daily mission of compassion, hope and assistance. Through their commitment they provide dignity and comfort to a family member or loved one in need of care.

“Seniorlink stands alongside family caregivers as they fulfill their vital role in their loved ones lives,” said Thomas P. Riley, CEO of Seniorlink, Inc. “Caregiving can take a physical, financial and emotional toll. This contest is our way of saying thank you – and showing our unwavering commitment to provide the highest quality resources, advocacy and insights for caregivers and their families.”

Individuals wishing to nominate a caregiver, or themselves if they are a caregiver, have until midnight on December 31, 2016 to register at All that is required is an email address and a short written entry outlining why the nominated caregiver should be recognized. Winners will be randomly selected from a pool of applicants and notified via email.

See for complete contest terms and conditions.


About Seniorlink, Inc.

For more than 16 years, Seniorlink has pioneered solutions for caregivers across the nation, helping them provide their loved ones with the highest quality care. Seniorlink’s unique in-home care solution, Caregiver Homes, dedicates experienced care teams to work alongside caregivers and their families, offering coaching and support at every step. This model, known as Structured Family Caregiving, was the first home and community-based service in the nation to receive the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) highest level of Accreditation for Case Management.

To move from supporting thousands to millions of caregivers, Seniorlink has developed Vela, a caregiving platform that brings compassion to technology and assists caregivers as they navigate the complex and sometimes overwhelming world of caregiving. Vela transforms the caregiving experience by connecting care partners directly with caregivers to provide them with the coaching and insights they need along their journey, ultimately improving outcomes and lowering costs for their most complex, vulnerable members. To learn more, go to and follow on Twitter @SeniorlinkInc.


About NCQA

NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information for consumers, purchasers, health care providers and researchers.


About PeachDish

Celebrating the freshest ingredients with Southern-inspired food full of innovative flavor, PeachDish delivers a refrigerated box to your doorstep with ingredients and recipes to cook dinner at home. Customers choose from at least eight different menu options each week, including at least three vegetarian dishes. While purchasing produce at the season’s peak to achieve the most flavor and nutrition, the company works directly with farmers and purveyors to source ingredients local to the Southeast, which has an especially long growing season. Boxes are priced depending on number of servings ordered, and shipping location around the U.S. Order as often as you like, with free shipping for regular subscribers.


i AAPR & Public Policy Institute (June 2015). Executive Summary: Caregiving in the U.S. Retrieved from


SOURCE Seniorlink, Inc.


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The New York Times reported on the list of demand that health insurers want if Trump and the Republican Congress repeal the Affordable Care Act.  The nation’s health insurers publicly outlined what the industry wants.

  1. A clear commitment from the Trump administration that the government will continue offsetting some costs for low-income people.
  2. Keep in place rules that encourage young and healthy people to sign up, which the insurers say are crucial to a stable market for individual buyers.

 If they do not come up with an alternative, more than 24 million people would be left uninsured, including the more than 10 million who have bought individual plans on state marketplaces.

Hospital groups also held a news conference to warn of what they said would be the dire financial consequences of a repeal if the cuts to hospital funding that were part of the Affordable Care Act were not also restored.

These insurers have no desire to return to the time before the law was passed, when people with pre-existing conditions were routinely denied coverage in the individual market.

The insurers are also beginning to discuss a potential overhaul of Medicare, pushed by the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, who favors so-called premium support, or vouchers, as a way for people to find coverage. “We’re not big fans of that approach,” said Ms. Tavenner, although she said the industry would be open to discussing it.

Ms. Tavenner said the industry wanted to know more about what the Republicans were planning, including information on the fate of the Medicaid expansion under the law. “We still have more questions than answers,” she said. “We don’t want to disrupt individuals who are relying on our coverage,” she said. reported on the GAO Report that found that Nursing Home Compare needed improvement to help consumers choose among nursing homes.  Consumer advocates and experts have been critical of the Nursing Home Compare web tool and its Five-Star Rating System.  The rating system, which includes information on more than 15,000 nursing homes, relies heavily on self-reported data from the facilities and ignores valuable information about state fines, complaint investigations, and enforcement actions.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services did strengthen information on nursing home staffing.  Currently, nursing homes are compared only with peers in their own state on a one- to five-star scale.  The GAO recommended that CMS move to a national comparison that would be more helpful to people who live near state borders.

CMS should be working to decrease variability.   “We maintain that the ability for consumers to compare nursing homes nationally is critical to making nursing home decisions, especially for those consumers who live near state borders or have multistate options, and that our recommendation remains valid,” the report said.

CMS awards nursing homes an overall star rating that is based on their performance on three measures: health inspections, staffing, and quality measures.


The South China Morning Post reported on the new policy that encourages family members to visit loved ones in nursing homes.  A nursing home has reported an “explosive” increase in visitors since it started offering rewards to children coming to see their parents.  Children who visit at least 30 times in two months receive 200 yuan to spend on goods or services at the home, while those going at least 20 times get 100 yuan. Children had to visit at least 10 times to earn 50 yuan in credit.

The rewards increase with the frequency of visits, and nurses have been keeping logs of visitors for each resident since September. Now more than half of the residents are visited often enough to qualify for the rewards.

There are plenty of reasons to be worried about Tom Price, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of Health and Human Services.  Price is an orthopedic surgeon and U.S. congressman from Georgia with no relevant experience.

Price has often and repeatedly voted to cut Medicaid and Medicare,  and is an ardent opponent of female reproductive rights.  Price also belongs to a truly radical medical organization known as the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons with 4,000 members.

The AAPS statement of principles declares that it is “evil” and “immoral” for physicians to participate in Medicare and Medicaid.  In particular, it urges “non-participation” in the Social Security amendments of 1965 — also known as Medicare — “as the only legal, moral, and ethical means of concretely expressing their complete disapproval of the spirit and philosophy behind these amendments.

Its website features ridiculous unscientific claims that tobacco taxes harm public health and electronic medical records are a form of “data control” like that employed by the East German secret police. An article on the AAPS website speculated that Barack Obama may have won the presidency by hypnotizing voters.

Their views on medicine are controversial to say the least: such as blaming vaccines for autism, including that the “shaken baby syndrome” is a “misdiagnosis” for vaccine injury; denying about HIV/AIDS; that immigrants cause crime and disease; that abortion causes breast cancer to name just a few.

Dr Price’s political agenda is the same self-serving tort reform that does not increase quality, transparency, or accountability including in the Empowering Patients First Act, the bill he has offered as an alternative to the ACA since 2009.  His solution is the same type of ineffective federal tort reform which violates States’ Rights, and includes unconstitutional and arbitrary caps on damages.  The bill would also allow physicians to “balance-bill” Medicare beneficiaries—to charge them more than Medicare’s allowable charge—which is currently illegal.  The bill also proposes a modern day “Star Chamber” or “administrative healthcare tribunals” where a confidential proceeding by anonymous bureaucrats would decide if a jury gets to hear your case.

Be afraid.  Be very afraid.


The Week had an interesting article on the CDC and other federal health agencies latest report on Americans’ ability to pay medical bills: The last five years has marked a steady decline in the number of people who struggle to pay their medical bills.

“With the help of data from the National Health Interview Survey, a regularly scheduled poll of Americans’ health habits and behaviors, the authors found that, in 2011, 21.3 percent of Americans under the age of 65 reported living in a family that had problems paying their bills. By the first six months of 2016, that figure had dropped to 16.2 percent. This drop held across all racial, gender, and socioeconomic groups, but some of the largest gains, percentage-wise, were among the poor and lower income, those uninsured or with public health insurance (i.e. Medicaid), and Hispanics.”

The Affordable Care Act in 2010 is one of the largest single factors explaining this trend. “Moreover, research from the Kaiser Foundation has shown that nearly 13 million non-elderly previously uninsured adults have obtained a health insurance plan as of the end of 2015, a sharp drop down from the 41 million uninsured in 2013.”

The current uninsured rate, 10.5% percent of non-elderly Americans, is a historic low.  ACA has acted as an economic stimulus while lowering general health care spending. See Commonwealth Report.

JAMA published another study regarding the necessity and effectiveness of communicating with resident’s family members.

The study showed how better training can lead to better communication and improved quality of care. The intervention was conducted at the nursing home level; it involved enrolled family decision makers viewing an 18-minute goals of care video decision aid and the nursing staff at that facility receiving a 1-hour training on the aid and principles for family communication.

Following the delivery of the goals of care video and staff training, the facilities were prompted to meet with family decision makers. Communication was reportedly better which allowed family and care givers consistent goals and approaches to care.

Reuters had an article on the importance of communication during end of life discussions.  A new study shows better communications leads to less wasteful hospitalizations. “At the end of life, hospital stays for seriously injured or ill nursing home residents typically offer little hope of improving quality of life or changing outcomes for the better, researchers note in JAMA Internal Medicine.”

“Family members want their loved ones to receive quality care, and the responsibility of health professionals is to promote communication about the residents’ care goals in the context of their medical condition and available options,” Dr. Gary Winzelberg, a palliative care researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said by email.

Among other things, patients and families may consider creating a legal document known as an advanced directive that specifies what types of interventions should be done, and which ones should be avoided, at the end of life. This may include opting against ventilators, feeding tubes or other mechanical support.



NPR reported on what hospitals can and do tell patients looking for information on long term care alternatives.  “For years, many hospitals simply have given patients a list of all the skilled nursing facilities near where they live and told them which ones have room for a new patient. Patients have rarely been told which homes have poor quality ratings from Medicare or a history of public health violations, according to researchers and patient advocates.”

This is how some residents get admitted to bad facilities without the family knowing. Now, new rules will allow and require information to be shared.

Hospitals must provide patients with all nearby options, but the new rule says hospitals “must assist the patients, their families, or the patient’s representative in selecting a post-acute care provider by using and sharing data” about quality that is relevant to a particular patient’s needs for recovery.  The rule was drafted in October 2015.